Park City Trail Series concludes with half marathon race
September 20, 2016
Weddings are usually an all-day affair. For brides, their special day is typically filled with running from hair to makeup to nail appointments, preparing to make one of the biggest walks of their life down the aisle in front of family and friends.
Last Saturday was Alyssa Zybell's big day, her wedding day. But before she would get married to her future husband at the top of Guardsman Pass, she completed something that not many brides, if any, can say they've done on their wedding day — finish a half marathon.
"I started running three years ago and it's just kind of become my passion. … Why not [run] on the best day of my life?" Zybell said of running the 13.5-mile (the course directors admitted it was a little long for a half marathon) course.
Zybell, who was greeted by supporters at the finish line carrying a sign that read "here comes the bride," was one of 361 runners who took part in Saturday morning's race at Round Valley. The half marathon was the final installment of the Park City Trail Series, a four-race series that extends throughout the summer.
Nearly an hour and a half after the start of the race, the first finishers would make their way towards the finish line. With so much ground to cover in a half marathon, it's easy to create space between fellow racers, but the lead was shared by Park City natives Steve Cuttitta and Matthew Nagie.
As the pair got closer and closer to the finish line, it was clear that the neither Cuttitta nor Nagie was too concerned with beating the other. Side by side, the duo cruised to the finish line before a cheering crowd in 1:29:36 to claim the top two spots (though the official results at the event pegged Nagie as the winner by five-tenths of a second).
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"[I felt] pretty good throughout the whole thing," Cuttitta said upon finishing. "I mean, it hurt. There's a big hill at [mile] 8-10 or so, and we were huffing and puffing. We made the end look pretty easy, but we were working pretty hard the whole second half of the race."
Throughout the first six miles, the race was tight with roughly five runners clustered up front. The group pushed each other through nearly 10 miles of the race when the uphill that Cuttitta mentioned created some separation. While Cuttitta and Nagie pushed through to the lead, the two ensuing finishers, Spencer Castro and Ryan Ping, remained close behind.
Castro and Ping finished in 1:30:25 and 1:30:56, respectively. The first female finisher of the race was Ping's wife, Megan, who finished the race in 1:44:47, just 14 minutes behind her husband. Rounding out the top three for the women was Parkite and US Olympian rower Devery Karz in second (1:45:49) and Danielle Drummond in third (1:46:06).
With the race taking place on a large dirt trail, dust kicked up from runners' shoes can sometimes cause problems, at least early on in the race when everyone is closer together. But thanks to some rain the week before, Cuttitta described the course as "tacky" and "a little wet."
These are ideal conditions for most runners, but for the bride Zybell, it made preparing for the rest of her sure-to-be hectic day a little easier.
"I have makeup at noon, I just pushed it back a little bit. Hair at 1:30, wedding at 3:30," Zybell said.