My Top 10 Races of 2017

As part of Joshby Week, I rank both my favorite races and race medals (coming tomorrow). Today I am ranking my top 10 favorite races of 2017. After doing over 33 races I’ve had a number to choose. I won’t lie, it was tough.

I’ve had a number of awesome experiences, moments, triumphs — and quite a few defeats too. But, that’s a whole other post for another day. Needless to say, it’s been an eventful year. And, it was tough to rank my Top 10.

But, alas, they MUST be ranked for posterity. So without any further adieu, here’s my Top 10 Races of 2017 —

#10: AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

AF Canyon Run Against Cancer; June 24, 2017 (2:55:04) AF Canyon will always be one of my favorite canyons to run. Great views of Timp, gorgeous greenery around every corner and a canyon drop that lets you soak it all in putting yourself on cruise control. Came into this race not knowing what to expect with my ankle, but the terrain and elevation drop made for a fairly pain free run. I pushed it a bit and was pleasantly surprised and happy coming in under three hours. Not bad for my fourth half in two weeks, eh? Had a great moment running in my @addicttoathlete teammate Zack during the last mile. We were both hurting, but we kept each other motivated and going. I sure love being a part of this team, we inspire and motivate each other to our goals. I’m feeling stronger, especially with my physical therapy. I can’t wait to get where I want to be/need. But, for now, I need to be patient. #race152 #afcanyonrun #running @joshruns180 @josherwalla @fight4phat @addicttoathlete @afcanyonrun

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#9: Snow Canyon Half Marathon

#8: Elephant Rock Trail Run

RACE #156: Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon; August 12, 2017 (6:30:00) This was the HARDEST race I’ve done in all my running. I simply was not prepared for the elevation gain and technicality of this course. But, oh man, did I love it! The first half of the race had a 4000ft. elevation gain along with a quarter mile 800ft. climb that nearly broke me. It was brutal. But, for all that work and pain I loved the views of my hometown, the surrounding mountains and valleys. Totally worth it. Since the race was close to home I ended up running to and from the race so I could get in 20 miles for the day. Those 20 miles were some of the hardest I’ve ever done. I want to tackle this course again, specifically the pipeline hill. I need some redemption. But, what a great motivation to also hit the trails in my own backyard, especially now that I know where I’m going. #race156 #elephantrocktrailrun #trailrunning @joshruns180 @ketoshua @josherwalla

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#7: Timp Elk Run Half

RACE #161: Timp Elk Run Half, September 23, 2017 (5:46:16) I needed the trails this weekend. I needed the challenge. I needed the change of pace. I needed the serenity. I needed it all. This is NOT an easy race. But, doing it with Zack and the last half with Jed — made it all worth it. But, we did it together, every step of the way. Zack and I almost didn’t start due to us both feeling sick the previous night, but we sucked it up and at least told ourselves we’d TRY. A few miles into it, that passed and we knew we were in it to finish it. (we knew we weren’t winning since we were dead last at this point of realization). Having Jed pace us up Dry Canyon kept us going and seriously kept us out there. It was tough, but so rewarding. I’m sore in so many areas, but I love this soreness. It’s not just a reminder of the epic adventure I had, but an invitation to continue to get stronger and faster. Which I am. I can’t wait to hit the trails again soon! #race161 #timpelkrun #trailrunning @joshruns180 @ketoshua @josherwalla @addicttoathlete

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#6: Drop13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

#5: Provo City Half Marathon

RACE #146: Provo City Half Marathon; May 6, 2017 (Paced 3:35) After the previous weekend’s debacle of DNFs and DNSs and subsequent illness, this was a nice rebound race. I paced 3:35 alongside Tricia and her husband … we were essentially “the sweepers.” But, we had a blast! We had dance parties, made new friends, grabbed Slurpees at Mile 12.5 and made sure there was a party in the back! I wasn’t 100% with my lingering cough and ankle, but the situation was perfect where those weren’t a factor. I’m taking a little more time off to rest my sprained ankle. But, come later this month I should be ready for the Jordan River Half on the 27th. But, I’m still enjoying this moment and race and being able to party on with my dear friends throughout the 13.1 miles! Such a fun time! #provocityhalf #race146 #running @joshruns180 @fight4phat @josherwalla @myracemedals @ryrpacers @run13utah

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#4: The Haunted Half: Salt Lake City

#3: Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

RACE #159: Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, September 9, 2017 (3:10:21) After dropping from the 26.2 to the 13.1 because of my ankle, I enjoyed a nice, easy and fun run down Big Cottonwood Canyon. Had a blast running with the Bjarnsons, seeing all my elite running friends passing me while running the marathon and hanging out with friends at the finish line. This race was a great reminder of what matters most in my running journey. I had a guy heckle me at Mile 12 with some very unpleasant words, but after spending the previous 12 miles with friends doing something we love — his words had no merit. It was just a testament to his pathetic existence. I had a great experience despite that and I’m already signed up for 2018! I’ll never miss this race. Never. You can’t beat the scenery, course and support! #race159 #revelbigcottonwood #running @joshruns180

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#2: Riverton Half Marathon

RACE #144: Riverton Half Marathon; April 8, 2017 (3:05:11) Did you know that on average 144 people lose their lives DAILY to opiate addiction? These are our brothers, sisters, parents, family, friends and neighbors. Utah is no exception to this opidemic. This week, Coach Blu challenged us Addict II Athlete athletes to show these 144 people the lives they’re missing not living a life of sobriety. He wants us flood social media with the hashtag #144 with the moments they’re missing out on in life. It was no coincidence that Coach would ask us this week, the week of my 144th race in my 180 goal. I’ve stopped believing in coincidences with Blu. So I made the decision to dedicate this run to the 144. I wanted to dedicate it to the family and friends I’ve lost to addiction. I wanted to dedicate it to my AIIA family. So I set out to run it in silence. Which I almost did. I muttered a few “thank yous” at aid stations and a couple hellos, but I just kept to myself with my heart and mind on the meaning of this run. The rain was persistent nearly throughout the whole race. I had soggy feet and cold hands. But, I didn’t care. My heart and mind took my attention elsewhere. It was a very emotional run for me. Especially as neared the finish line. I kept repeating in my head, “You are a Warrior! You have erased and replaced your addictions. Your mess is message.” All mottos of the AIIA team. After crossing the finish line and grabbing a few bananas, I just sat in my car for a while and kind of wept. It was a lot of emotion to process for me. I want this run — and my journey — to hopefully be a beacon for someone, anyone, to have the courage to take that first step toward a better life. That’s one reason why I share so much of my journey on my blog and social media. I know if I can do hard and difficult things like 50 milers and Marathons — others do hard and difficult things too. And, sometimes it takes someone else sharing their light to ignite that spark. If you struggle with addiction and you need help … REACH OUT! Life is too beautiful to let it pass by. #race144 #rivertonhalf #running @fight4phat @joshruns180 @josherwalla @addicttoathlete

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#1: Jackpot Ultra Running Festival