Park City Marathon stays a step ahead |

Park City Marathon stays a step ahead

Last week, Park City Marathon director Jolie McTavish rode her bike alongside Father Bob Bussen as he completed the course. The early run was a special gesture on behalf of the race committee so that the local icon could complete his tenth Park City marathon in the tenth year of its existence, even though he was planning to be out of town on the scheduled race date.

It’s these little touches that McTavish hopes sets her race apart from every other marathon in the country.

"The way I describe it, is we want to be the Deer Valley of marathons, with attention to detail," McTavish said.

Thus far the plan seems to be working. McTavish reports that about 500 runners from 28 different states, and three different countries will report to the starting line at Trailside Park on Saturday morning. Six of the runners, including Bussen, have run the race every year of its 10-year history. Also in the mix will be Dane Raushenberg, an Alabama native, who is running in a marathon every weekend this year to raise money for charity.

This year, the marathon is diversifying a bit, offering runners a few options. The truly ambitious had the opportunity to sign up for the Triple Trail Challenge, which combines the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, half of the Park City Marathon and the Mid Mountain Marathon. The marathon also has a two-man relay option for those looking to run a shorter distance with a partner.

"A lot of people don’t want to run a whole marathon," McTavish said.

McTavish is hoping that the different options will also bring more spectators out for the race. Fans can line the start/finish line at Trailside Park as well as the Town Lift Bridge, which is located about halfway throughout the course.

This year’s course will be much the same as it was last year. It starts and ends at Trailside Park and makes a figure eight of sorts throughout the area. The first loop is seven and a half miles and stretches out near Interstate 80. The second, longer, 19-mile loop stretches out to Old Ranch Road, past the McPolin Barn, through the Thayne’s Canyon Area, past Park City Mountain Resort, though Old Town and across the Town Lift Bridge and then back out to City Park and onto the Rail Trail.

Another distinguishing factor will be medals handmade by local artists. All participants will receive custom-made fused glass suncatchers by Morag Totten. Age-group winners will receive coffee mugs created by Candice Methe.

"These are really nice, and something people can cherish," McTavish said.

Other special touches include ice-cold wet washcloths at miles 22 and 24 and misting stations at various spots along the course.

The night before, the race committee will host a pasta dinner at The Yarrow at 6 p.m. with a special speech by Paralympian Chris Waddell scheduled from 6:20-6:45 p.m.

The Park City Marathon will start at 6:30 on Saturday, Aug. 26. McTavish expects most runners to finish between 10 and 11 a.m., with the winners finishing about one hour earlier. No roads will be closed, but Park City Police, Utah Highway Patrol and the Summit County Sheriff will patrol the course to ensure the runners’ safety. Race volunteers are still needed. For more information, e-mail or call 647-0314.

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