Mid Mountain race set to blaze a trail
Mountain Trails Foundation director Carol Potter calls it the "Marvelous Mid Mountain Marathon," and she should. The race that she helped create one year ago is slowly becoming one of the premier trail marathons in the country.
In just one year, the race has increased from 130 to 200 runners. Advertising in Trail Runner and Colorado Runner magazine brought in some out-of-staters. Other incentives like the Triple Trail Challenge, which combines three Park City races, also attracted many local and Salt Lake runners. But Potter says it’s not the size that makes it "marvelous." In fact, the race can only grow so big because it is run on a single-track through the mountains of Park City, which limits running room.
"You can only put so many people on that trail," laughs Potter.
Instead, Potter says it’s the beautiful scenery and the race organizers’ attention to detail that makes it an enjoyable experience for serious trail runners.
"It’s just spectacularly beautiful single track," Potter said.
Her logistics crew has also ensured that runners are well taken care of on the trail. Learning from last year’s first time-glitches, Potter has made sure that there are large quantities of water and energy bars and Gatorade available all along the course. Race crews will be stationed along the course. A photographer will also be on the trail. There will be shuttles to take runners from the finish line back to the start.
The Mid Mountain Marathon also has special touches that set them apart from other runs. For the second year in a row, sculptor Bruce Larrabee has created special pie plate awards for the winners and Windy Ridge Bakery is baking fresh apple pies inside of them. Potter says that the pies will be taken directly from the bakery to the finish line and laid out to welcome the runners.
"The smell adds another sense to the wonderful experience," Potter said. "They were a smash last year. It was fun to do something totally unusual."
Unusual is a good word for any trail marathon. With only a handful in the country, the opportunity to participate in one is a rare and treasured experience. There are few places with enough continuous trail to even attempt such a race. Potter says the course, which stretches from Deer Valley, through Park City Mountain Resort and ends at The Canyons is the only one in the country that she knows of that combines three world class resorts and even has amenities like bathrooms and restaurants along the way.
Potter says many of the out-of-state trail runners will start arriving this week to become acclimated to running at 8,000 feet.
"I think people really want to do trail marathon, because there are fewer of them," Potter said.
Although the trail and terrain often force runners to form a single line, Potter says she has never heard a complaint about course courtesy.
"It’s a very affable race," Potter said. "Everyone said all the runners were very friendly."
Last year, many racers formed small groups and ran together. Potter says that the general attitude for this marathon is just a little lighter than the more serious tone often found in road races.
The trail is also a nice break for traditional road racers. The trail is mostly flat and the dirt trail is softer on aching knees and feet. Potter says that the terrain slows runners down a bit, but they get to enjoy a beautiful view of the area while they are at it. With the race named for the Mid Mountain Trail, Potter loves any opportunity show off of one Park City’s many unique trails.
"One of the reasons we do this is to introduce people to our trail system," Potter said. "I knew if we put this together the trail would dazzle people and it did."
Potter says that they are still in need of volunteers for the race. The Park City High School Rotary Club, East West Partners, TOSH and the Park City Marathon crew have already joined in the effort and Potter adds that the experience should be rewarding.
"It’s fun to be sitting out there with friends and cheering runners on," Potter said.
The race will start at Silver Lake in Deer Valley and end at The Forum at the Canyons. Fans are encouraged to send the runners off at 8 a.m. at Deer Valley or wait at The Forum between about 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. for racers to arrive in the finish area. There will be food, music and beverages available at the finish area.
"Last year, families hung at The Forum and had a great time," Potter said.
For more information, visit http://www.mountaintrails.org.
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