In the long run: More than 1,000 race in Park City Marathon
August 24, 2010
Runners came from near and far, north and south, west and east to run in the Park City Marathon on Saturday. Just about all of them, however, came up.
Of more than 1,000 people who took part in either the half marathon or the marathon, only 14 failed to reach the finish line despite running at nearly 7,000 feet elevation. Thirty-nine states were represented in the field, as were Japan, Switzerland, Canada and the United Kingdom.
"This is just such a unique course," said race director Jolie McTavish. "It’s not your typical flat city marathon." McTavish, in an endurance test of her own, estimated she spends about 1,000 hours a year organizing the event and was up at 2 a.m. Saturday morning making final preparations.
Full marathon participants climbed the first 15.5 miles from Newpark Plaza to the course’s peak in front of the Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley, with a 2 percent average grade that might not be visible to the naked eye, but certainly took its toll on thousands of pairs of naked legs.
"It’s a tough course, a lot of uphill," said 46-year-old Bill Clark after the Midvale resident finished sixth among men in 3:14:24. "That’s the worst part of the course, and then coming down is a nice, relaxing time."
That was one take, at least. Stansbury High School cross-country coach Steve Allen didn’t quite share Clark’s opinion of the descent.
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" that point, you’re pretty beat up, so it’s still survival mode when you come back down," said Allen, who is trying to finish the Triple Trail Challenge (as is McTavish, though she has to do it on her own time). With the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase and the Park City Marathon down, Allen is now looking forward to the Mid-Mountain Marathon on Sept. 11. "I just love trails," he said. "As much as I can be on trails, that’s where I want to be."
Saturday’s runners received ice-cold wash cloths, chocolate milk, cake, Utah peaches and carnations at the finish. If that wasn’t compensation enough, Park City chiropractor Gary Zetterberg handed out apples to the exhausted masses in hopes of promoting the Green Apple Wellness Center, set to open at Newpark Plaza in 2011.
It was fitting that Zetterberg try to get the word out about his new business at the marathon, which drew him to Park City in the first place.
"I’ve ran the Park City Marathon three times," Zetterberg said. "I fell in love with Park City, so now I’ve moved out here from New Hampshire to spend the rest of my life running and helping the community to discover wellness."
Local runners made their biggest mark in the half marathon, where eight entrants with Summit County ties won their respective age divisions.
Heber City’s Brad Osguthorpe, a Park City High School assistant track coach, won the overall men’s half-marathon in a blistering time of 1:11:20, beating Park City’s Mickey Wilson by five minutes.
On the women’s side, Park City’s Molly Retzer claimed victory in 1:31:11. Other local age division winners include Christian Froekjaer-Jensen (men’s 30-34), Mark Christopherson (men’s 40-44), Sharon Starika (women’s 45-49), Patrick Piper (men’s 45-49), Lon Thomas (men’s 50-54) and Frank Larsen (men’s 60-64).
The top Park City finisher in the full marathon was Julia Holland, who finished third overall among women and first in the 45-49 age division with a time of 3:15:25. On the men’s side, Mike Swartzlander was the fastest Parkite in 3:42:02. Park City’s Wendy Halliday won the women’s 50-54 full division.
The big winners of the day’s most grueling test were Washington, Utah’s Amber Green, who crossed in 3:08:32, and Salt Lake City’s Jason Howe, who won the men’s race in 2:53:25.
For Corona, Calif., housewife Yolanda Holder, it was the first of two marathons on Saturday alone. Holder, who walks the 26 miles, is trying to set the world record for most marathons completed in a calendar year by a woman, and she flew to Las Vegas for the E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon immediately after she crossed the finish at Newpark.
To set the record, the 52-year-old Holder must complete 101 marathons. Park City was her 71st and favorite marathon, she said, despite struggles dealing with the elevation the past two years.
"This year was my best, because I didn’t get altitude sickness," she said before adding that she will take a "break" by walking just a single marathon this weekend before attempting four on Labor Day weekend.
Zetterberg said he encouraged marathoners from the East Coast to learn from his own harrowing experience in his first year.
"When I ran it two years ago, I was running too fast and the mountains started spinning around a little bit," he said. "I just calmed it down, and I’ve encouraged a lot of the marathoners just to run slower, drink more water and they do well."
If the top marathon times look a little slower than your traditional city races, that’s not necessarily a reflection of the runners’ fitness, McTavish said. She estimates that runners lose about one minute per mile off their sea-level times but usually don’t let that get them down.
"It seems like people really enjoy the course," McTavish said. "They recognize that it’s a challenge, so they just kind of relax and realize that their pace is going to be slower than it is at home."
On Sunday, marathon organizers held their first-ever Sinner Six 10K, allowing less serious runners the chance to don costumes and celebrate the Summit County scenery together.
McTavish said next year’s event won’t feature any major changes, other than the welcome completion of a pedestrian tunnel under Bonanza Drive.
Visit http://www.pcmarathon.com for full results or information about next year’s race.