Active Travel



Utah 4th July: Freedom 5K & Hobbler Half

Jul 22, 2019 | Active Travel, Race Recaps, Race-cations, Running | 4 comments

I’m so sorry that I haven’t updated the blog in so long, I have a number of posts written but have had issues with uploading images, and what is a blog without photos?! I’ve found a way around it for now whilst we work out what the issue is. Thanks for your patience and sticking around!!

The rain seemed to be relentless in the UK in June. In fact, we had a month’s worth of rain fall in one day.

And so, sitting inside one afternoon, I started looking at Tom’s staff travel deals and found a really cheap flight to Las Vegas. However, when I looked at flights from Vegas to Salt Lake, they were coming up as double the price, so I hired a car and drove the 5+ hours (along one STRAIGHT road) from Las Vegas to Heather‘s house, near Provo.

Oh and it was 30 degrees and sunny the entire time I was there…. Winning.

Without taking you through my trip day by day (because we did a LOT), I thought I’d share the highlights split up into workouts, eats and Fourth July.

Fourth July

Our Independence Day started with the Freedom 5K in Provo. The race had a rather unfriendly course, finishing on an uphill, Luckily the course was very pretty and we ran the first mile down the spectator lined parade route. Heather stayed with me, and although I had originally said ‘lets go for a PB’, my coach Ash said to treat it like a tempo run.

First mile was a 6.57… then the altitude (4500ft above sea level) caught up with me and I crashed and burned. Mile 2 was 7.53 and mile 3 was 8.17. Heather was so kind, trying to get me to push but I literally couldn’t go any faster. Finished in 23.34 and very nearly vommed.

Met up with these awesome ladies afterwards, most of whom had run the 10K which is even hillier. Was so glad we didn’t sign up for that race!

Following the race, we quickly showered before watching the infamous Provo Freedom Festival Parade with Heather’s family’s traditional donuts and Diet Coke.

Then it was off for a quick nap (for me and Heather!) before a BBQ with Heather’s husbands family. They couldn’t have been more inclusive and welcoming to me, and it felt like a true American 4th July, finished off with fireworks in the park.


Heather teaches Body Pump (as well as Spin and Pilates) locally, so I joined her 6am class on Wednesday. Having not done Pump or anything like it for a while, I was hurting for days. A good reminder that a strong runner makes a stronger runner…time to get back in the gym.

Straight from the gym (although after a Starbucks pitstop) we headed for a quick hike to Stewart Falls. It was gorgeous, with spectacular views across the valley. We drove past Sundance which was fun to see having heard so much about the film festival, and saw the ski runs (I am going to have to come back in winter to have fun in the snow!) The hike wasn’t strenuous but perfect for us to stretch our legs out, chat and enjoy the scenery.

Since my coach Ash was also in town, I took advantage of her expertise to have a clipping in and skills session on the bike. I started by practicing on the trainer, then taking it slowly around Heather’s neighbourhood. Of course the moment I stopped concentrating 100% is when I fell off…completely stationary!

Luckily, I had more success when we went for a loop of the lake nearby. We took it slow, enabling me to stop/start and learn how to corner more efficiently. I feel so much more confident after the 90min session, and loved getting to catch up with Ashley before she headed back to California.

We hopped off the bike and went for a quick, easy 2 miler to finish the day.

Hobbler Half Marathon -> We signed up for this race at the last minute, figuring that running a half marathon would be more fun than a solo long run after an overnight flight.

These races start really early, and the 4.15am alarm after 4hours sleep wasn’t ideal. However, I knew that the 6.30am race start meant that I could fit it in before the drive back to Las Vegas, so I didn’t complain too much.

The race is in Hobble Creek Canyon, and they bus you to the start. It was a fairly small and friendly race, with packet pick-up the morning of, plenty of loos at the start and finish, and very friendly organising staff. We cut it a little fine and made the penultimate bus, rushed to the loo at the start and began running from near the back. 

The plan was to take it comfortably, however we soon got carried away and clocked our second mile in around 7.45 which is not ‘easyish’ pace for me! We pulled it back, walked through all the water stations (they were every 2 miles), and walked up one short, sharp hill. I could definitely feel the altitude as well as the slight rolling hills, but overall I felt good. And the scenery was gorgeous.

Hobbler Half Marathon

I’m so happy I was able to run with Mel again, she helped pace me to my half marathon PB in Phoenix in Feb, and to run alongside Heather. She is so much faster than me (recently running a 1.29 half) so the only time I will ever run a race with her is if she’s waiting for me!

Whilst the others chatted, I just focused on staying with them and breathing!

1.46.56 (and randomly my second fastest standalone half ever!) I grabbed a quick French Toast at the finish line before starting my long drive back to Vegas. Luckily I managed to find a shower at the airport before getting on my long haul flight! (sidenote, I also got stuck in traffic and managed to miss my flight, lucky was able to book onto the next one!)


The Utah girls are known for their sweet tooth and Diet Coke obsession (or at least the ones I’m friends with!) so our first stop was for donuts and cookies from the Lehi Bakery and Sodalicious.

I tried my first (and second) Chick-fil-A -> a chicken nugget salad, AMAZING! Plus waffle fries…not the healthiest of meals but great in a rush! We had unique pizzas at Malawis Pizza (I had a Thai peanut chicken salad on mine, and it was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten). However, my favourite meal of all was Mexican from Cafe Rio. It’s definitely Tex-Mex rather than authentic Mexican, but it was delicious. Highly recommend a visit if you’re in Utah.

I also managed to squeeze in Froyo with Janae, cookies from Crumbl, I really liked this post from A Foodie Stays Fit on places to eat in Utah.

Coffee & Alcohol: Something I thought I’d miss was coffee, but I did manage to have a daily iced coffee from Starbucks! If I was there in winter, I’m sure I’d have searched out more cups but I swapped coffee for Diet Coke (a LOT of Diet Coke!) When I last visited Utah, you could only order alcohol in a restaurant if you ordered food, however apparently laws have now changed and you can order a drink before ordering food. I didn’t drink while I was there so don’t have any experience of where to buy alcohol but I did have a glass of wine when I was there last time.

Have you ever visited Utah? This was actually my second trip, having visited the National Parks with my Mum a couple of years ago. You can read about ‘Running in Zion’  and Hiking in Arches National Park, Canyonlands , and Mountain Biking in Dead Horse State Park . 


  1. Ash

    Yes I love utah! Visited twice as we are Mormon and wanted to visit some of the sights and a trip to St George and Vegas as well. The food is amazing and cafe rio was my top spot!

    • charlotte

      Cafe Rio was so good!! I really want to go back when the Temple in Salt Lake is renovated!

  2. Annonymous

    Hey Charlie! We’re about the same speed. I’m running my first half soon, and I hope to maintain 7:30 pace, which would get me a time of 1:38, I think. Honestly, though, I’d be happy with anything under 1:45. Love your blog! 🙂

  3. Kumar

    great blog! Really inspired by what you do Charlie. You look so fit and your fitness activity really inspires me and many other. I just wanna recommend member app to those who workout in gym in the UK.


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