Triple Trail Challenge returns Aug. 8 |

Triple Trail Challenge returns Aug. 8

Alisha Self, Of the Record staff

Summer is chock-full of competitive opportunities for mountain bikers, but what about those who prefer to hit the trails on foot?

In 2005, Jolie McTavish, the race director for the Park City Marathon and Half Marathon, had a novel idea. Since the scheduling for that event was going to conflict with the Salt Lake Marathon, she decided to push it back to the end of the summer. And to offset people’s trepidation about running in August, she approached Mountain Trails with the prospect of joining forces. The foundation happily agreed, and the Triple Trail Challenge was born.

The fourth annual Triple Trail Challenge (TTC) kicks off Aug. 8 with the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase and continues with the Park City Marathon/Half Marathon on Aug. 22 and the Mid-Mountain Marathon on Sept. 12. This three-event stage race is co-hosted by the Mountain Trails Foundation and the Park City Marathon and is open to trail warriors from Summit County and across the country.

"As far as Park City goes, the Triple Trail is the premier series of endurance running events," says Ed "Fasteddie" Knapp, who has competed in TTC since its inception. "It’s growing in stature. I think over the next three to five years, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger."

There’s still time to build your motivation, get in some training in and sign up for this year’s challenge. Register at before 5 p.m. on Aug. 7, or show up at Park City Mountain Resort on Aug. 8 from 7 to 7:45 a.m. The cost for all three races is $140 with the half marathon or $170 with the full marathon.

Jupiter Peak Steeplechase

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The Jupiter Peak Steeplechase is a 16-mile endurance race from the base of Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) to the top of Jupiter Peak and back down. The course features a 3,000-foot climb in elevation and breathtaking views around every corner.

Now in it 17th year, this event is a rite of passage for Park City’s toughest runners. The course is 98 percent single track and covers portions of the Crescent Mine Grade, Mid-Mountain, Powerline, Pioneer Ridge, Scott’s Bypass and Spiro trails.

"It’s only got one hill the problem is that hill lasts eight-and-a-quarter miles," says Knapp. "It’s absolutely spectacular, but it’s extremely hard."

The Steeplechase will begin at 8 a.m. on Aug. 8 at the Legacy Lodge at PCMR. Refueling stations will be available throughout the course, but carrying water is encouraged.

If you can’t participate in the TTC but want to run the Steeplechase, register at through Aug. 7 or just show up the day of the race at 7 a.m. The cost is $30 online or $40 on race day. Participation is limited to 250 runners. For more information, contact Heinrich Deters at

Park City Marathon

This out-and-back race takes runners from the Newpark Plaza to the turnaround point near the McPolin Barn. The course features 17 miles of wide gravel or paved bike paths, an 8-mile, mostly downhill finish and live music along the course.

Registration for the marathon or half marathon as a solitary event is sold out, but those who register for the Triple Trail Challenge a guaranteed a spot in the half marathon (or the marathon, if you choose). The full marathon begins at 6:30 a.m. and the half marathon begins at 6:45 on Aug. 22.

Volunteers are needed to help make sure the race runs smoothly. All shifts are three to four hours in the morning and include a T-shirt and breakfast. Sign up at or call 640-4450.

Mid-Mountain Marathon

Calling all marathon-lovers: This 26.2-mile almost-level course meanders along Park City’s Mid-Mountain Trail from Deer Valley through Park City Mountain Resort and The Colony to The Canyons, taking runners on a scenic, heart-pumping challenge at 8,000 feet.

The race starts at 8 a.m. at the Silver Lake Lodge at Deer Valley Resort. Awards will be presented at 1 p.m. at The Forum at The Canyons. The race time will be limited to five-and-a-half hours, and all runners must pass through the Red Pine Lodge aid station by 2 p.m. or they will be asked to ride the gondola down to the finish line.

According to Knapp, the average finish time is about four-and-a-half hours. "That’s a long time to be out at 8,000 feet running as hard as you can."

Register for this race only (not as part of the TTC) at for $65 through Aug. 15 or $75 before Aug. 29 at 5 p.m. The race will be capped at 250 participants. Entry fees are non-refundable and include wind-resistant shirts, medals, a finish-line celebration featuring entertainment by the Red Desert Ramblers, libations and more.

Those who have participated in all three Triple Trail events in years past will have their signature TTC jackets embroidered with the 2009 logo. All first-time participants will receive their own green soft-shelled jacket to sport proudly as an emblem of their success (or survival).

"We really want this to be a community event," says Stacey Border, who is involved in coordinating the event and also plans to race. "We want locals to have something to look forward to. It’s more about personal accomplishment than competition."

For more information about the Triple Trail Challenge, visit .