For those familiar with the course layout for the Park City Half Marathon, the out-and-back format has seemingly run its course.
This year, Mountain Trails Foundation is introducing a new half-marathon path that will be a 13.1-mile loop instead of the out-and-back of previous years. The race will travel through several neighborhoods in the Trailside area and follow the McLeod Creek path.
Charlie Sturgis, the executive director of Mountain Trails, said it was time for a change.
"The out-and-back had been the traditional way," he said. "We decided that, after 20 years, it was time to change it."
The biggest factor driving the change was that there was simply too much runner traffic on the old course.
"It was basically that people were running into each other too much," Sturgis said. "The fast guys were getting [to the halfway point], turning the corner before the other guys were getting there and making it difficult to manage."
Another benefit of changing to a loop format is that more of the Park City trails will be showcased this year.
"It's going to be more scenic," Sturgis said. "You're going to be able to enjoy the race more and it should be more pleasant to run."
Sturgis said he hopes the new course will draw more runners to the Aug. 16 event.
"We're hoping it affects registration in a positive way," he said. "I think we're going to see a lot higher local attendance."
He added that this will most likely become the new course for the foreseeable future.
"We'll see how it rolls," he said. "If this course works out as well as we think it will, we'll keep it. A lot of people don't like to have the courses changed every year if they're going out for [personal record times]. It's better to leave it the same scene to some degree."
The current cost for the half marathon is $60. Race-day registration will be available if all 1,000 spots aren't filled by then, but the cost will increase to $70. Full marathon registration is currently $80 and will increase to $90 on race day if some of the 500 allotted spots aren't filled.
And, as always, Sturgis added, proceeds from the marathon and half-marathon registration will help maintain the trails around Park City.
"At the end of the day, it all goes to supporting the trails," he said.
To register for the Park City Marathon or Half Marathon, visit www.mountaintrails.org .