Annual Triple Trail Challenge stays virtual for another year |

Annual Triple Trail Challenge stays virtual for another year

The three-race series begins with the Round Valley Rambler

The annual Round Valley Rambler, shown in 2019, returns this month as part of the Mountain Trails Foundation’s Triple Trail Challenge. The three-race event will be held virtually again this year.
Park Record file photo

The Triple Trail Challenge, the three-race trail running series that covers 78.6 miles in the Park City area over the course of three events, has begun, even if it’s still virtual.

The Round Valley Rambler is the first event in the series, and participants have until 5 p.m. on June 19 to run the race and submit their time. The race has both 7K and half-marathon divisions, but only the half-marathon will count toward the challenge.

Jupiter Peak Steeplechase is the second race in the series and will take place in July. The 16-mile race runs in a loop from the base of Park City Mountain Resort to Jupiter Peak and back.

Lastly, the series comes to a close with the Mid Mountain Marathon in August, when racers will run from Silver Lake at Deer Valley along the Mid Mountain Trail and end at the Utah Olympic Park.

The challenge serves as a fundraiser for the Mountain Trails Foundation, which builds and maintains the Park City trail system. In January, with Utah’s COVID-19 situation still uncertain, the foundation made the call to keep the series virtual for the second year in a row. However, that likely means depressed turnout, which makes the fundraising aspect more challenging for the nonprofit.

“Now we know there’s lots of events going on, but back then, when the money needed to be spent, we felt it was a risk that was not responsible, so we made another year of virtual races for Mountain Trails,” said Lora Smith, the foundation’s executive director. “As a consequence, we’re not going to probably benefit much from it, but we have kept the tradition alive, so there’s that.”

While it will still have a different feel compared to previous years, there are some benefits of having a virtual race series. For one, participants can run at their own convenience.

“We’ve actually picked up a few new runners, and they like the virtual format because it allows them to run at their convenience and when they’re feeling their best,” Smith said. “Sometimes you wake up on race day, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m tired or didn’t eat well, or my stomach’s bothering me, or whatever. But when you’re doing the virtual race series, you can race whatever day you want (within the deadline).”

But regardless of the format, it’s still a series geared toward the most intrepid runners in Park City and means a lot for those who enjoy trail running across the city’s extensive trail system.

“We have participants who have been doing the TTC since the beginning, which has been like 15 years or something,” Smith said. “So they’re super excited that they can still go out and race.”


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