Ogden’s Newest Coldwater Traverse Races

By: Melissa Marsted + Save to a List

Bonneville Shoreline Trail

As a relative newcomer to Utah just five years ago, I am always on the lookout for new races or trails to run or hike in our national or state parks, or in Salt Lake’s Cottonwood Canyons or Summit County’s Uinta Mountains. When I received a Facebook message for the first annual Coldwater Traverse just an hour from my house, I quickly clicked on the link and went to my Ultra sign-up page to register.

Earlier in January, I’d received my second DNF (Did Not Finish) in my entire thirty-five year running career. I had sprained my ankle at the Big Bend 50K in January and had to be transported back to the finish line, having only completed 11 miles of the race. I thought I might be ready to race again, though, as the weekend before my older son and I had done a 14-mile circuit around Pinnacles National Park. My ankle had held up well, giving me confidence to tackle a new adventure. I was ready to increase my mileage.

We had been asked to pick up our race numbers the night before but, living an hour away, the race director graciously allowed me to pick up my number when I arrived in the morning.

Since becoming an empty-nester, I have become accustomed to going to races alone, but that’s also the reason I have become a long-distance and sometimes ultra-trail runner. Going to an organized event, having the camaraderie of the other runners, the aid stations and the postrace festivities enliven my quiet weekends.

With a 5:15am alarm, directions set on my GPS and my running outfit and Saucony trail-running shoes ready, I could only hope my 11-year-old Jack Russell would go to the bathroom outside before I had to leave. Fortunately, he did. By 6:30, I was cruising through Salt Lake and followed my way to the Timbermine Steakhouse. This was where we were asked to park for our bus to the starting line, 16 miles away in Pleasant View, a town just north of Ogden and at the base of one of the highest peaks in the area, Ben Lemond, at 9700.’ This became the backdrop for my photographs as we ran south towards more snowed-peaked Wasatch Mountains and the finish line in North Ogden.

 For a first-year race, the organization was impeccable, including helpful Facebook posts, detailed registration emails, two aid stations for the 16-milers and one aid station for the 11-mile runners. I made the mistake of not filling my Camelbak with Gatorade and ended up breaking the seal where I was supposed to pour the liquid before the race. I carried two bottles along with me; however the spacing of the aid stations filled with all kinds of treats and drinks, would have been enough for me to go the distance even without them.

One of the pre-race emails had definitely drawn my attention, super-charging my anticipation:

 “You will run on a section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST), a gem of the Northern Wasatch. While many have hiked these hills for a long time, the trail has only been finished for a few years. Coldwater Canyon, the real crux of the run, holds a special place in the heart of our Race Director. All through grade school he would spend any free time exploring the creek, cliffs, and pines of this beautiful canyon. There is no doubt you will enjoy the beauty as much as he always has.   “While runners generally like distances of half-marathon or a 10K, we decided we would rather use courses that made sense for this portion of the BST, instead of trying to fit them into a pre-determined distance, so we created the Short Course (11 miles), and the Long Course (16 miles).”

 This would be my first race of the spring season and about six weeks after recovering from my ankle injury and just two weeks after skiing in 19 inches of fresh powder. I would use the 16-miler as an aided training run with no expectations except to finish.

As a writer, I have many solitary days at home and on the trails so I enjoyed the new introductions and conversations on the bus and at the starting line. A mother/daughter duo took my photo at the start and at various times along the course. I met “Mike from Sandy” and another couple, who were planning a 100-mile relay in Portland the following weekend. The first aid station volunteers at mile six washed off my wounds and applied band-aides where a fall had left me scraped-up on my palm, elbow and knee.

 Soon I was off again and running without any ankle pains. My running shoes served me well, but it was truly the views along the entire course that kept me inspired. Periodically I would stop and look back towards snow-capped Ben Lemond in the distance. Whenever there was a question on which trail to take, it was marked with an orange ribbon. For me, the color orange has come to symbolize courage. As I approach 53 later this year, I am proud that I challenge myself and take risks. Being in nature has helped me to heal from some of life’s trials and tribulations. Advocating for getting out in nature has become my life purpose.

I took nearly 50 photos from the start of the race to the finish, including a photo I took of one of the best post-meal spreads I have ever encountered, prepared by Ogden’s Roosters Brewing Company.

I can truly write that the first annual Coldwater Traverse was a success, not only for me but for the race directors, who paid close attention to detail. We were also blessed with clear Utah skies, dry trails and pleasant temperatures in the mid-70s. If you want to challenge yourself, I recommend the longer distance– you will get five extra miles of glorious mountain views in our fresh Utah air. You will be proud at the finish line when they drape a Coldwater Traverse medal around your neck. You will feel inspired and invigorated for the week ahead.


We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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