Attendance at Park City Red Bull 400 climbs in 2018 (w/video)
About 1,200 determined souls — athletes and non-athletes of all genders and abilities — made the drive to the Utah Olympic Park Saturday to scale all 400 meters of the K120 Nordic ski jump as fast as they could for the 2018 Park City Red Bull 400.
According to Red Bull, former alpine skier Miles Fink-Debray placed first overall in the men’s category with a time of 3 minutes and 45.6 seconds up the jump, a new record for the Park City edition of the traveling event. Following behind were a pair of other Nordic combined skiers familiar to Parkites in Taylor Fletcher, with a time of 3:45:6, and Jared Shumate, who summited the ramp in 4:00:6, placing second and third respectively.
“I am so stoked, it’s awesome, but I’m hurting,” Fink-Debray said in a press release. “I’ve never hurt so bad.”
In the women’s division, Salt Lake City-based pro triathlete Megan Foley came out on top with a time of 5:14.4 to take 22nd overall. Sue Minneci came in second with a time of 5:28.6, barely scraping by Emma Garrard, who brought up third with 5:28.7.
“I was really nervous because of the high caliber of the athletes that are here this year, so I was stoked to be able to just hold my own against them,” Foley said in the release.
Red Bull hosts editions of the 400-meter vertical sprint in locations around the globe, including British Columbia’s Whistler Blackcomb and Michigan’s Copper Peak in North America. Park City’s version boasts the highest elevation of any of the venues at about 7,000 feet above sea level.
The turnout of 1,200 athletes, according to Red Bull, is a major increase from the inaugural Park City event in 2015, which drew a little more than 350.
While the leaderboards were dominated by the names of professional athletes and trainers, the event was open to all challengers.
Jonelle Schultz-Agulia and her husband, Ricki Agulia, both participants in the race, were visiting Utah for the first time. The couple, who participate in other endurance sports events, came all the way from Brooklyn to scale the jump.
“The altitude difference, I think I felt it during the race,” Schultz-Agulia said as she sat on the ski jump’s staircase, waiting to watch her husband run. “When we first came, we were like ‘Oh, I don’t feel anything, and after finishing the race I feel the difference. But it’s cool, though, it’s really cool.”
This was also the first Red Bull 400 for Larcy Velez, though she didn’t come quite as far for the race, nor did she need as much of an adjustment to the altitude. After completing her heat, the 54-year-old mother from West Jordan said she was in it to prove she could still take on a challenge.
“It looks hard when starting, it gets harder, but once you hear people on the sidelines say you can do it even though you don’t know them … that was the motivation,” Velez said.
While each heat was highlighted by strangers cheering on strangers, not everyone on the staircase was unfamiliar to Velez. Her sons, Karlo and Jared Velez, were present and urging their mother on.
“It was so much better that they’re here; that they saw me do this,” Larcy said. “It’s like bragging rights, (my sons) have never done this.”
Karlo, no stranger to physical activity, said even the act of climbing the staircase to cheer on his mother was difficult.
“I run marathons and I saw my mom do this and even climbing up these stairs … it’s hard,” he said.
And while Larcy was the first in the family to conquer the ramp, she may have inadvertently started an arms – or quads – race.
“I’m going to try this next year,” Jared said. “This looks way fun.”
An earlier version of this story mislabeled Miles Fink-Debray, an alpine skier, as a Nordic combined skier.
An earlier version of this story misattributed a quotation by Miles Fink-Debray, attributing it to Jared Shumate.
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