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College Highlights Fall/Winter 2017

Nothing makes us Utahns more proud than to see many of our Utah collegiate cross country programs competitive in the Mountain Region AND busting into the NCAA national rankings.  We’re excited to share some of the top individual and team results from the NCAA National XC Championships in this RUN UTAH article.

NCAA Cross Country Championships
Louisville, KY
November 18, 2017


On the Women’s side, out of the 31 teams that competed in the NCAA Championship, the BYU women’s team was the top Utah team to cover the 6K course.  They finished in 11th place with Utah State not far behind in 14th place.  Heading into the championship race the BYU women were ranked 14th and the Utah State women were ranked 19th.


Photo Source: @racin__grayson

From soccer player, to walk on runner, to all-american, Grayson Murphy’s running story is one of inspiration.  Burnt out with college soccer, Grayson switched schools and walked on Santa Clara’s track team.  Even with knowing very little about the sport, over time she developed a true talent for it.  All of her hard work, patience, and persistence paid off as she walked away from the NCAA meet 8th place overall, earning all-american honors, and representing the University of Utah team so honorably.  She covered the 6K course in 19:36, which is an average pace of 5:15 per mile.

Going into the NCAA Championships, the BYU men were ranked 2nd and the SUU team was ranked 19th.  Northern Arizona’s strong men’s team dominated the competition with a first place finish and a total team score of 74 points.  BYU got edged out for second place by Portland who finished with 127 points to BYU’s  165 team points.  SUU finished ahead of their season rankings with an 11th place finish and Utah State snagged a 27th place finish.


Dillon Maggard, a senior for Utah State, ran a phenomenal race to finish 6th place at the NCAA XC Championships.  He covered the 10K course in 29:16, which is an average pace of 4:42 per mile.

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Challenges to Eating During the Holidays

The Holidays are a fun time of year to enjoy family, friends and yes food.  However; for many people (athletes included) this time of year marks the beginning of a two-month long Holiday eating season (Halloween-New Year’s) that can end up in a few unwanted pounds.

In addition to the abundance of food that is available, runners may also be cutting back on mileage during the winter season.  Many runners I have worked with can hide poor eating habits with higher calorie needs.  When the holiday eating season begins, it is very difficult to manage eating.  

Besides being organized and planning meals, there are a few other ways you can prepare yourselves for the holidays.  Here is what I think are some of the challenges we face during the holidays:

1. Exposure to Challenging Foods

If you can, keep these foods out of sight.  The more times you have to see the food, the more likely you are to eat it.  You can also keep foods in the freezer or some place that isn’t easily accessible.  Even at the office, see if you can manage to avoid the “food room” or have co-workers bring goodies in unclear containers.  Seeing the food is most of the battle.  

Pre-package foods- putting some foods into smaller containers or snack baggies can help avoid the decision about “how much”.  Examples might be chex mix (1/2-1 cup servings), nuts (1/4 cup), cookies- 2/bag, etc.  

2. Stress

Many people cope with anxiety and stress by overeating.  Notice when you are stressed, this is not the time to clean the kitchen.  Avoid places where food is prevalent until you are in a more relaxed state.

Boredom can also be a form of stress to many people.  It is hard for many athletes to relax.  Do try to make time for “doing nothing”.  With practice, it becomes easier.  Catch up on some training books you have been wanting to read!

3. Expectation of overeating

It doesn’t feel good to overeat.  Don’t let people push food on you, set your boundaries.  

Make sure if you are attending multiple eating activities to pace yourself, you do have control over what you eat, quantity may be your best friend.  Go for smaller portions and notice how good it can feel to avoid overeating.  

4. Getting too hungry

Because of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, some athletes find they skip meals or snacks and then are too hungry to make good food decisions.  To help stabilize blood sugar, eat foods that contain fat, fiber or protein.  Healthy fat is found in peanut butter, nuts, avocados, salad dressings, oils (this food group is also high in calories so a little goes along way).  Protein is found in meat, dairy, eggs, nuts, and beans.  Fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.

Start breakfast with a good dose of protein found in dairy, eggs or nuts.  Fiber is also found in oatmeal, whole wheat bread and high fiber cereals (those with 5 or more grams of fiber/serving).  

Lunch and dinner can also include a vegetable plus a whole grain and fruit.  

Here are a few of my favorite holiday recipes that I enjoy making this time of year.  


Healthy Chex Party Mix


¼ cup of canola oil (or olive)

5 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

2 2/3 cup Corn Chex

2 2/3 cup Rice Chex

2 2/3 cup Wheat Chex

2 cups nuts (peanuts, mixed nuts, walnuts)

1 cup pretzels

  1. Set oven at 250 degrees.
  2. Place cereals, nuts and pretzels in roasting pan.
  3. Combine oil and seasonings, pour over cereal mixture in roasting pan, and stir to coat evenly.
  4. Bake 1 hour; stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on absorbent paper to cool.
  5. Store in large plastic zip-lock bag.

Makes 12 cups


White Chicken Chili


4 cups chicken broth

2 (19-ounce) can cannelloni beans (or white kidney beans), drained and divided

1 (16-ounce) can white navy beans, drained and divided

4 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

1 cup chopped onion

1 (16-ounce) package frozen white corn

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, undrained

1 tsp. Ground cumin

¾ tsp. Dried oregano

¼ tsp. Ground red pepper

  1. Place 1 cup broth, 1 cup cannelloni beans, and ½ cup navy beans, in container of a food processor, cover and process until smooth.
  2. Place bean mixture, remaining broth, remaining cannelloni beans, remaining navy beans, chicken and remaining ingredients in a Dutch oven or soup pot.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Ladle chili into individuals bowls.

Makes 8 (1 ¼ cup servings)

Nutrition Facts per serving: 311 calories, 4 grams fat, 1.0 grams saturated fat, 33grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 365 mg sodium.

Recipe from Low-Fat Ways to Cook One-Dish Meals by Susan McIntosh, M.S., RD.


Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce*


Serves 8

8 medium Granny Smith apples or other tart cooking apples, cut into fourths (peeled or unpeeled)

2/3-cup sugar

¾ cup apple juice

1 Tablespoons margarine, melted

1-teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Mix all ingredients in 3.5-6 quart slow cooker.
  1. Cover and cook on high heat setting 1-½ hours to 2 hours or until apples begin to break up.  Stir well to break up larger pieces of apples.
  2. Serve warm or chilled.  To chill, cool about 2 hours, then spoon sauce into container; cover and refrigerated until chilled.

* Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker’s Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Julie Hansen – M.S., R.D.N, C.S.S.D., C.D.

Julie Hansen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and an Exercise Physiologist.  She is also a Certified Intuitive eating Counselor and a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.   Julie has been working in this field for over 30 years and she loves it.

Her experience providing nutrition counseling and exercise prescription enables her to help a variety of clients, from competitive to recreational athletes;  from individuals wanting to lose or gain weight and from those of you with eating disorders.  I use the Intuitive Eating principles in all of my counseling.


  • Running- 5K to Marathon distances including Boston.  Master’s Track-middle distance
  • Triathlons- Sprint distance
  • Course records- Triathlon-Huntsman Senior Games


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Interview with Aaron Fletcher: STG Marathon Record Breaker

RUN UTAH: Tell us a little bit about your running background.  How did you get started into the sport of running?

AARON: I ran my first race as a seventh grader when my middle school track team needed someone to run the mile. I had previously played all kinds of sports and knew I was pretty fast and had some decent endurance, so I volunteered. At the time my family was living in Washington State, but we moved to Anchorage, Alaska before I entered High School. I ran cross country and track and Nordic skied on my high school’s teams and loved it, especially the cross country skiing! I really grew up on the mountains and trails of Anchorage.

RUN UTAH: What are some of your high school highlights/accomplishments?  How did you make the decision to run for BYU?

AARON: In High School I was an eight time Alaska state runner up in events ranging from the 4×800 relay to cross country. I happened to be in the same grade as Trevor Dunbar, who now runs professionally for Nike and he was always able to beat me when it mattered. Because he was so good, I really focused on Nordic skiing my senior year and ended up finishing in the top 20 in two distances at the US Junior XC Skiing Nationals. I was a member of four state championship ski teams and one state championship cross country running team.

I was not recruited to run at any colleges, and decided to come down to BYU for school because of religious, academic, and family reasons. I started running about 70 miles a week the summer after my senior year after never previously breaking 30 in a week and tried out for the BYU cross country team when I arrived in Provo that fall.

RUN UTAH: Tell us about your experience running for BYU and being coached by Olympian Ed Eyestone?  What years did you compete and could you share some of your college highlights?

AARON: I loved running for BYU. It was a big transition for me as it is for most guys as they come from being the big dog on their high school teams to barely surviving workouts in college. Coach Eyestone was great- he gave me a chance to develop and grow and I learned  so much from his training philosphies and ideas. I came into BYU knowing next to nothing about serious running training, and now I can write my own workouts and training plans. I really iwe that knowledge to Ed and his experience at all levels of running.

I ran for BYU from August 2009 to December 2010, and then from December 2012 to June 2016. In that time I was a member of three conference championship teams, earned first team all conference and all Mountain Region honors twice, was an NCAA Finalist and 2nd Team All-American in the steeplechase in 2016, won the Weather Coast Conference cross country championship as an individual in 2015, and was a member of the 2013 BYU Cross Country team that finished on the podium at NCAAs. I also finished as the 6th fastest steeplechase runner in BYU history, an event that BYU had a long history of excellence in.

RUN UTAH: You were primarily a steeplechaser in college, but you have jumped into some longer road races.  Tell us about that transition.  How did you know what direction you wanted to pursue with running after college?

AARON: I missed the 2016 Olympic Trials in the steeplechase by less than half a second, which was a major disappointment for me after putting in a lot of work towards that goal. I wanted to do something different for a while, so in 2016 I ran three Spartan Obstacle Course races, finishing 17th at their world championships and winning their team championships. After doing that for a year, I felt ready to get back into just running again.

I have always known that I would transition to longer races after college. I ran the steeplechase because I loved the event, but my favorite workouts were always tempo-style long runs (15-18 miles starting at 6:00 pace and finishing around 5:20 pace per mile). I was also used to running 100 miles a week already, so it was really an easy transition to make.

RUN UTAH: You have had a phenomenal 2017 racing season.  Winning and setting the course record in four Utah races (Timp Trail Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Run, Top of Utah Half Marathon, and St George Marathon).  Setting the course record at the Top of Utah Half in August with a time of 1:04:46, 24 seconds faster than the previous course record, was huge.  Can you speak to your training leading up to this half marathon, your expectations heading into the race, and your thoughts and feelings after your performance?      

AARON: The half marathon was a big surprise to me, as I didn’t feel I was in that great of shape leading up to it. I was hoping to run in the 1:06 range which would indicate I was on track to be in contention at St. George, my primary race for the year. Because it wasn’t my main focus for the fall, I trained through TOU half. The Tuesday before TOU I did a ten mile tempo run at about 5:05 per mile average, so I was feeling pretty fit but I was certainly surprised by how easy it felt the first few miles of the race. Finishing under 1:05 was a very encouraging result!

RUN UTAH: We are all so impressed by your recent performance at the St George Marathon –2:14:44, beating the rest of the field by almost 3 minutes and shattering the previous record by over a minute (previously held by Bryant Jensen with a 2:15:56 in 2013).  What led you to your decision to compete in the St. George Marathon? What were your thoughts going into this race?  Tell us how the race played out and how it feels to have the fastest marathon time on that course.

AARON: The St. George Marathon is a great event. I chose it as my debut road marathon because it is the most  competitive marathon in Utah most years and it is close to home so I didn’t have to take much time off work (I live in Salt Lake Right now). The beautiful course, prizes and great organization didn’t hurt either!

I came in to the race pretty confident that I could win and challenge the course record based off of the Top of Utah Half and my training. I tend to get very analytical with race planning, and my Excel spreadsheets told me to expect a time in the 2:15 range.

Being new to marathoning I wanted to get out and run in a field I would be close to the front in, but still have some competition to push me. I ended up leading from mile 5 to the finish, so that didn’t work out exactly how I wanted but I’m obviously thrilled with how the race played out. I went out conservatively in about 1:08:40 at the half, and then really pushed the next ten miles really hard as I had planned before the race. On the steep downhill section right after halfway I was splitting close to 4:40 per mile. I really started hurting at mile 23, and had to really hang on mentally to get to the finish. I was so glad to be done! It felt very validating to get that record after so much hard work in training.

As a side note, I’m pretty sure that was also the fastest marathon time ever run in Utah on any course.

RUN UTAH: What do you feel like have been some key components in your running success?  What workouts or aspects of your training do you feel best prepared you for the marathon distance?  

AARON: Long tempo runs like the one I mentioned above and using staple Eyestone workouts like fatigued mile repeats and marathon pace runs. I’ve been able to make some more personal adjustments to my training since I left BYU, and those have helped a lot as well. For example, I now really only do one speed workout a week oustside of my long run instead of the typical two. I feel like it helps me get the maximum benefit out of those workouts. I also do as much mileage as I can in six runs a week and do as few doubles as I can. That means lots of 12-18 mile runs in the middle of the week.

RUN UTAH: What now?  What goals and aspirations do you have from here?  Are you looking to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon?

AARON: I will be shooting for the Olympic Trials marathon in 2018, probably at the Grandma’s Marathon in Minnesota in June. I am also planning on running more trail races and possibly building up to the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler next November. My next race is the Red Hot 55k in Moab in February. I am really motivated by high competition levels and setting records, so I’m going to seek out some more national level competition this year.

RUN UTAH: Is there any additional advice you would give to other aspiring runners?

AARON: The number one thing I tell people who want to improve their running is to run more! Intervals, weight training, tempo runs, etc are all good but can only do so much if you haven’t put in the mileage. It is also crucial to be consistent. Doing one really big week of running and then not running much over the next two weeks really doesn’t do you much good. High mileage is the secret to running improvement.


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Race Week: How to Best Prepare for Race Day

by Lisa VanDyke


My last big race of the season is just about here, and although I have dealt with the “taper jitters” pretty well up until now, the week before always proves to be tricky from a mental standpoint. There is an aspect of controlling one’s destiny when it comes to race training that is both stressful and empowering. The adage, “You get out of it what you put into it,” comes to mind. When the proverbial hay is in the barn, a runner is left to realize that their part is almost done, and some aspects of race day are left up to the whims of the universe. (Queue the incessant checking of race day weather and phobias of race day illness.) So what is a runner to do with themselves the week before a race?

  • Visualize yourself running the race. See yourself crossing the finish line and meeting your goals! (If you haven’t done so already, give yourself an A, B, and C goal)
  • Study the course. Get familiar with aid station locations, etc.
  • Prepare your clothing, accessories, shoes, bib, etc. for race day.
  • Eat what has worked for you throughout training, paying special attention to getting enough carbohydrates two days prior to your race. Be careful not to over-stuff yourself the day before the race. See more about what to eat before your race here.
  • Hydrate all week!
  • Get a full night’s sleep during the week leading up to the race.
  • Stick to your routine – nothing new before race day.

Lisa VanDyke – UTR Club Captain | Runner | Boston Qualifier
My name is Lisa VanDyke. I am a mother of three who spends any moment I can sneak away indulging my passion for running. I discovered running only about 8 years ago, at first for stress relief, then to get fit, and much later on to push my own boundaries. My first race was the Strider’s half marathon in 2013. I stuck with the half distance for some time, racing as well as pacing for a local pacing company, but by late 2014 I needed something different to challenge myself with, and I registered for the Ogden Marathon 2015. Training for this race was my first experience with a structured training plan including speed, tempo, and long runs. I loved the training equally as much as I loved running the race. Ogden got my a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon 2016, which became my second marathon. This great sport continues to feed my need for growth, camaraderie, and adventure.

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by on Oct.05, 2017, under Racing, Training, Utah Running

Starting a Running Program

Two Tests To Determine if Your Body is Ready to Run

My doctor told me that I should get in shape– that I should improve my fitness level. But how do I do it?  How far should I run? How hard should I run?  Are these questions that you’ve asked yourself? Have you spent less time pounding the pavement during these winter months than you’d like? To find the answers, let’s take a close look at your individual fitness level and goals.

Read More….

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by on Jul.18, 2017, under Utah Running

Run Utah Magazine -Summer 2017 Ultra Marathon Edition

Successfully Transition From Road Marathon To Trail Ultra 


by Joel Hatch

For many road runners finishing a marathon is the ultimate accomplishment. It can take months or years of dedicated training, sacrifice, and dietary discipline to reach the holy grail of 26.2. This is a big deal! You should be proud of yourself for finishing this daunting physical and mental event, right? Of course you should, but it’s likely you are already looking for another marathon so you can improve your time or you have a wall full of marathon medals. If this is you, that runner who is forever curious and looking for the next challenge I have a modest proposal for you, run a 50k trail race. Yes I know it’s only 5 more miles than a marathon, but the added distance combined with variable terrain will present you with a new and rewarding challenge. To get you well on your way, here are my top 4 tips to successfully transition from road marathon to trail ultra..  READ MORE 

The Life of a Professional Ultra Marathoner: Interview With Hayden Hawks

Hayden Hawks was an elite collegiate athlete that graduated from Southern Utah University. While in School he specialized in the 5k and 10k, running 13:51 and 28:53 for those events. He still lives in Southern Utah and trains as a professional ultra marathoner. Hayden Hawks was an elite collegiate athlete that graduated from Southern Utah University. While in School he specialized in the 5k and 10k, running 13:51 and 28:53 for those events. He still lives in Southern Utah and trains as a professional ultra marathoner… READ MORE

You Voted, We Count Down the Top 10 Must Run Trails of the Summer

Summer is the perfect time of year to get out the door and run. Trail running is a favorite in Utah due to Utahs incredible scenery and well maintained back country trails. With the vast number of trails throughout the state many runners find themselves constantly exploring new places to run trying to find the perfect trail. If you fit this description look no further, with the help of all of our followers we have compiled a list of the top 10 voted trails in Utah. If you’re looking for that perfect trail this list is a great place to start… READ MORE

Feeling Overly Fatigued When Running? Low Iron or Vitamin D May Be the Culprit 

by Jason Blackham

Do you have excessive fatigue with your running? If you do, you should consider seeing a physician to have blood work done.  The most common causes of fatigue in athletes is poor nutrition, sleep problems, underlying medical problems, iron deficiency, and Vitamin D deficiency.  When seeing patients experiencing fatigue, I usually check a panel of labs to look for underlying causes as well. In this article, I will address iron deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency…  READ MORE

This edition of Run Utah Magazine is sponsored by North Face Endurance Challenge

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