Marathon lives in sin
August 10, 2010
Organizers of this year’s Park City Marathon faced a quandary: How do you get more out-of-town visitors to stay in Summit County if you’ve capped your event’s registration to retain its small-town feel? Their answer is the Sinner Six.
For the first time in the 14-year history of the Saturday marathon, it will be followed on Sunday morning by a 10K (6.25-mile) run that emphasizes fun over fitness. "The idea was to make it a destination-race weekend," said race director Jolie McTavish. "The Chamber is very interested in continuing our strong summer tourism."
Costumes are encouraged for the Sinner Six, though they cannot impede a runner’s movements, vision or hearing. The theme of this year’s race, which starts at 7 a.m. in Newpark Plaza on Aug. 22, is the Seven Deadly Sins. "We’re just going to have fun with it," McTavish said. "I expect to see a lot of angels and devils."
All proceeds from the Sinner Six will go to the Falcon Flyers after-school running program for elementary school kids. The money will be used to buy running shoes, clothing, and hire a part-time coach for the Flyers. Registration is still available through Saturday, Aug. 14, at http://www.pcmarathon.com and is capped at 250 runners.
There is no room left in the marathon and half marathon on Aug. 21, and there hasn’t been for some time. The marathon field of 500 runners was full two weeks ago, and the allotted 700 runners had signed up for the half marathon by May. McTavish said she heard from about 150 runners trying to see if they could squeeze in to the half marathon after it sold out.
Runners came from 42 states and Canada last year, but McTavish believes marketing efforts overseas have boosted the international flavor of this year’s field. Entrants are registered from Japan, Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. "It’s just steadily grown," McTavish said. "When the marathon started, it had maybe 250 people."
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McTavish said organizers might consider a two-person relay version of the marathon to accommodate more participants next year. Though numbers were the same (the races also had 1,200 entrants in 2009), demand has continued to increase for both events. "We sold out much earlier than we have in the past," McTavish said.
The marathon start is 6:30 a.m. or 5 a.m. for walkers. The loop course includes 17 miles of wide gravel or paved bike paths that lead up to an 8-mile, mostly downhill finish. Runners will go through seven tunnels and over 15 bridges, up and down highways and historic trails, into a nature preserve and an open-air mall, and may even encounter some cows along the way. The marathon course extends from Newpark Plaza to Deer Valley Resort. The half marathon course takes runners out and back over the last six miles of the marathon course.
They will cover all that terrain without interfering with the Tour of Utah Criterium (see Briefs, Page B1), which will come as close as two blocks away from the marathon course. Organizers don’t expect any conflict, however. "The city does a fabulous job of organizing multiple events on the same weekend," McTavish said. "It is a delicate dance that they do."
The marathon itself also serves as the second event in the Triple Trail Challenge (TTC), which started with the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase and culminates with the Mid-Mountain Marathon in September.