Hannah Lutzker, 11, logs big miles on Park City trails
When 11-year-old Hannah Lutzker was competing at the Discrete Peak Series event at Alta last month, she faced quite the obstacle.
Near the apex of the 7.2-mile trail race, she came face to face with a rock wall that was taller than her.
Fortunately, she said, as she contemplated her situation, another runner came up to the same obstacle and gave her a boost over it.
From there, the young Parkite got back to doing what she likes best — running. She completed the race in 1 hour, 56 minutes and 49 seconds.
Having enjoyed her race at Alta (and an earlier Discrete Peak Series race at Deer Valley), Lutzker set her sights on an even bigger goal — the 16-mile Jupiter Peak Steeplechase.
In that race in late-July, Lutzker said she had a great time running at the iconic Park City event.
“It was crazy, but fun,” she said. “It was super pretty and, when I was done, it felt so good to be done. I was like, ‘I did that!’ The past weeks before, I was kind of nervous and then after, I was like, ‘I did it! It’s done and now I can tell everyone I did it.’”
She said she decided to do the long-distance race because it combined several of her interests.
“Since I love running and I love running on trails and I love distances, it looked really fun and it looked like something I wanted to do,” she said. “I’d been practicing doing longer runs for it and then I tried it. I was aiming for about three hours, but I was really just trying to finish.”
Lutzker finished the Steeplechase in 3:39:09.4, running with her coach, Damian Stoy, who she said was “super encouraging the whole time.” She said she never had second thoughts about competing in the event, but added that there were still some pretty difficult sections of the race.
“[The hardest was] probably the very beginning because you’re like, ‘I still have so much more to go,’” she said. “Once you got closer to the end, it was still hard, but you were like, ‘I’m so close.’ At the beginning, it’s like, ‘I still have 15 miles left — it’s going to be forever!’”
After completing the 16-mile race, Lutzker isn’t going to be slowing down any time soon. Upcoming races on her schedule include the final Discrete Peak Series race at Snowbird on Aug. 28 and a couple of half-marathons.
She said she’s building up her mileage in pursuit of a lofty goal — she wants to complete a 100-mile race by the age of 16.
Lutzker also plans to compete in next year’s Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, where she’s working toward another big goal. If she can complete the race in three hours or less, her father has promised to take her to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.
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Facing a region opponent early on was not ideal for Park City head coach Micaela Carriel, especially considering her girls had just moved up to 5A Region 8 after spending last season in 4A.