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South Weber,UT,

Member Since:

May 09, 2012



Goal Type:

Local Elite

Running Accomplishments:

Personal Records:

800 Meters 1:50.14 (Track-BYU)

1500 Meters 3:42.07 (Track-Stanford) Likely the best race of my life; converts to a 3:59.85 Mile

5000 Meters 14:20 (Track-Stanford)

8000 Meters 23:53 (Cross Country-Pre Nationals Iowa)

10000 Meters 29:57 (Track-Stanford)

Half Marathon (Mesa-Phoenix Half) 1:05:11

Marathon (St George) 2:16:09

Short-Term Running Goals:

2017 Races:

Mesa-Phoenix Half - 3rd Place 1:05:11 PR

Ogden WRC 10-Miler - 1st Place 55:46

Provo City Half - 1st Place 1:06:33

Ogden Marathon - 2nd Place 2:25:46

Long-Term Running Goals:

My main goal is just to stay healthy.  I was injured every year in my college career except for one.  I would like to reverse that trend and always stay injury-free.



I am a family man.  I am married to my beautiful wife Amy (who also ran at Weber and is quite the runner).  We have four beautiful daughters named Evelyn (6 years old), Hannah (4 year old), Nora (2 year old), and Iris (5 months).

Twitter handle: @RunnerRiley7

Instagram RunnerRiley7

I am supported by Brooks

I am a Generation Ucan elite athlete

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 0.00
Salomon Pro Wings 2 Lifetime Miles: 161.10
Brooks PureCadence 5 Lifetime Miles: 101.85
Brooks Adrenaline 17 Lifetime Miles: 161.85
Brooks Transcend 4 Lifetime Miles: 219.45
Brooks Ravenna 8 Lifetime Miles: 225.10
Brooks PureCadence 6 Lifetime Miles: 188.10
Brooks Launch 4 Lifetime Miles: 107.50
Brooks Glycerin 14 Lifetime Miles: 101.47
Brooks Hyperion Lifetime Miles: 92.13
Brooks Caldera Lifetime Miles: 31.10
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

11.2 miles trailrunning in the dark with Jon, Denver, avg pace 8:07/mile.

Lunchtime: 5.45 miles easy, avg pace 6:33/mile.

I'm looking for some feedback...I am currently registered for St George Marathon, but am considering switching to Chicago and doing TOU three weeks before Chicago as a final long run, shooting for 2:30 or so (similar to what I did at Morgan Marathon-good effort but not a "race effort"). What do you all think? Stick with STG, and do a half at sea level in late fall or go for an OTQ now at Chicago and if I come up short go for a half in late fall (or if I get it, take a break before resuming training). Or I guess option three could be bag a fall marathon altogether and go for a sea level half in 1-2 months...decisions...

Brooks Racer ST5 Miles: 5.45Brooks Adrenaline ASR 11 Miles: 11.20
Weight: 152.80
From JPark on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 09:53:45 from

Riley, here's my two cents for what it's worth... First of all, I think all of the plans are good and you're certainly talented enough to pull any of them off successfully. So make whatever decision you think is best, be confident in that decision, and just go for it.

Of the three options you mentioned, the TOU/Chicago double would be the one I'd least be inclined to do if I were you. Based on what I've seen, with how awesome you are at half's, I'd say stick with the original plan and go for a qualifier at a fast sea level half later in the fall. I personally think going for the OTQ at Chicago is a little more risky in your case. I don't think doing a hard SGM will necessarily hurt you before a target half attempt, just make sure and give yourself enough recovery. Selfishly, I'm doing SGM and would love to see you there throwing the smack down. But you're in a special place right now with your fitness and need to make whatever decision is in the best interest of increasing your chances of nailing that OTQ.

Whatever route you choose, you'll make the right decision.

From steve ash on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 11:57:37 from

Run an easy win at TOU. Take a low week of easy mileage, bounce back and start rebuilding for Chicago. You only have so many years left so I say go for broke at Chicago. In my experience it was harder for me to recover from St George vs TOU.. All of that crashing downhill really did a number on my legs. I ran TOU easy in 2:37 one year and then turned around and ran a 2:25 at St George two weeks later. I was riding a nice wave kind of like where your at now:) Just my two cents and experience anyway..

From Ben VanBeekum on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 12:31:06 from

I say retire. You are a little washed up and are slowing tremendously! ;}

Dude I say go with the gut feeling. I really 2nd Steve's idea. I firmly believe that with the training you have done you are ready for sub 2:18 in the marathon. In the same breath you are a machine in the half and are so close to qualifying that way. Tough decisions, but will support in whatever you decide. Been awesome training with you everyday.

From Fritz on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 20:35:12 from

Tough call. STG is a great race but I don't think running it will help you get the OTQ. The reality is if you run it you will have fewer chances to qualify. Then again, for you one attempt is probably enough.

From RileyCook on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 08:32:37 from

Thanks for the input guys. I'm still deciding, will make a decision by Sunday. An important note is that TOU wouldn't be a race for the win, but rather a controlled hard run, targeting 2:30-ish. If that were enough for a win, great. But winning wouldn't be the goal.

Another thing I thought about with STG is, let's make the big assumption that I am fortunate enough to win the race. The winner gets what? A trip to Japan in November? That would be, yet another great opportunity, but one that probably hampers my plans to qualify for the trials.

Tough decisions, but being in spot to be able to have these decisions is a good thing, it means my training has gone well.

From emruns on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 08:44:51 from

St. George is there next year. I say go for Chicago. How often do you get a chance to run in a marathon major. Plus, even if you don't hit the standard, you still have plenty of time to qualify via a half or even CIM.

From mikenelson on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 14:10:53 from

I'd focus on OTQ. Steve's advice sounds spot on.

From Trevor Baker on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 16:29:08 from

Run St George, bag TOU, run a Nov/Dec Fast half. I've noticed this with many local elite runners in the state esp when on the verge of something... they get a little to "race hungry" and miss the mark on their planned platform race. TOU is nothing but going to win you some money and potentially expend more energy than you want. Focus on one marathon... I suggest St. George. You are familiar with the race, the competition, you'll be set up to run a big PR which will give you lots of confidence. You then lay low for a week and if you feel like your fitness is there for OTQ, than you go for the half... Reasons to qualify via half vs marathon: You are much more consistent with Half marathons than you are full marathons. Most of your races have been utah races which mean downhill bombers... You will likely be more prime to shoot for a sub 65 than a 2:18 in my mind. the marathon provides more time for you to experience GI issues which statistically has been a challenge for you, whereas, in a half marathon, there aren't statistically GI issues that you face.

Your racing has pointed towards a solid downhill marathon where you can be competitive and hopefully find success without hiccups that you have seen at UVM, Ogden, and St georges of the past. I think this option provides vengeance on the Marathon, another Phoenix like performance for you and confidence....

Now... All that said, the other option is if you really believe you are in OTQ shape, potentially bag a fall marathon all together... If I was in your shoes and running as well as you are, and my only goal was to OTQ, I would scratch a marathon and really gear my training towards a flat fast half marathon at sea level. Run one end of october, and that gives you one more potential chance you could lay it all out there on an honest course late nov/early dec. In my mind that is setting yourself for the most success. This is all opinion though. In the end, you choose what you feel will help you accomplish your goals.

From Rachelle on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 17:30:00 from

What a cool place to be Riley. I'm so incredibly proud of you, impressed by you, and excited to follow and support you regardless of what you choose. I also just admire your humility to ask for input.

I personally don't see any harm is going for Chicago. TOU and SGM will both always be around regardless of what you decide remember that. There are going to be so many guys going after OTQ at Chicago and I REALLY think you are more experienced and primed for the marathon now than you give yourself credit for. I also think that you will know by mile ~20 if it is going to happen or not. If it's an off day then drop and save yourself for another opportunity in the half. Give yourself every opportunity to qualify because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you are capable of and deserve.

From allie on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 18:03:55 from

if the OTQ is the true focus right now, no STG. all that will do is beat up your OTQ-seeking legs, and you never know what will happen in the recovery period (takes longer than expected, something gets tweaked, you don't bounce back well, etc). too risky.


From fiddy on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 19:42:52 from

I agree with Allie. Every marathon you do is a possible derailment of training. This may be the last opportunity to go for the OTQ, but TOU and STG will be there other years. I would skip both of those races and either do Chicago or take a couple of shots at the half. I think the half marathon is better bet for you.

From Jason D on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 20:26:46 from

Lots of fine analysis here, Riley. I think going for the half is your best option and agree with James for many of the reasons he notes.

If you had two half marathons that would be better, though I realize scheduling, logistics, finances all come into play here.

Between now and late October and November you would have lots of time to work on LT stuff (some repeats starting at fast goal pace and cutting down to below goal pace, some 5 mile tempo runs practicing goal pace or slightly faster, or whatever workout you would do). I just think focusing on saying "Okay, for the first 10k I need 5:00 flat. For the next 10k I need 4:55s" would be "easier" than trying to go out on 5:15 pace and kicking yourself every time you miss a split for the next 2 hours.

I know nothing about running that fast (never will) but I also follow your training pretty closely.

I wonder if you have a sense of what you are more likely to be able to pull off. I am sure you do.

From RileyCook on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 12:21:57 from

I appreciate all the responses and input. Everyone has provided great recommendations and insight. And I value that and am grateful for it. But I'm still thinking....haha. But timelines will force a decision out of me soon.

If I did a half in lieu of a full (Chicago), any recommendations on courses in Sept or Oct?

From Fritz on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 14:21:14 from

Brett did San Jose and Vegas last year. I think Long Beach is also fast if there is no wind on the beach.

San Jose Sept 27

Long Beach Oct 11

Las Vegas Nov 15

From RileyCook on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 15:52:09 from

Fritz, thanks. Yeah I asked Brett about San Jose and he said calling it a fast course is borderline. He thought of you think you have a razor thin margin of getting it, that's not the race to pick. Long Beach would be an interesting option; I know their marathon is sanctioned and certified, I'd assume the half is too. But I'd have to check to be certain. Vegas scares me, being an evening race. My stomach struggles later in the day and it's just too far outside what I'm accustomed to.

From Ryan Achatz on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 13:30:24 from

Riley, I am probably the least qualified to come to on this subject. I think that you have a better chance at qualifying in the half, and even multiple opportunities. I will just add word given to Joseph Smith in D&C 9:8-9. Enough said. Big Sur Half is Nov. 8th. Three people qualified there. Indianapolis Monumental Half. Nov. 7th. 5 qualified there. Jake K almost qualified there. Your last chance is Chevron Houston Half Jan 17th and 48 qualified there at the US Half marathon Championship last year.

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