Hundreds will punish themselves at Red Bull 400 this weekend
The Red Bull 400 is returning to the Utah Olympic Park this Saturday, where competitors will run and climb up the K120 ski jump at a near-vertical 400-meter sprint.
The event has drawn high-caliber athletes from a variety of disciplines in the past, including local pro skiers and Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, notorious for his antics on land, who made an appearance last year
But it’s Park City’s own Liz Stephens who holds the women’s record for the event. The former U.S. national Nordic team athlete climbed the hill in 4 minutes 39.2 seconds in 2015. Last year, Megan Foley was the fastest woman with a time of 5:24 while the men’s winner, Jared Shumate, had the fastest overall time. Shumate, a U.S. Nordic combined national team athlete, crossed the finish line in 4:25.7.
The course’s overall record of 3:58.9 is held by Ahmet Arslan, a Turkish distance runner who set the record in 2015. Arslan is known for winning the European Mountain Running Championships six consecutive times between 2007 and 2012.
Red Bull hosts 17 of the events at hills around the world, of which the Park City event has the highest elevation.
Last year’s race drew more than 800 competitors, who competed in heats from morning to mid-afternoon. There are 1,200 spots available.
For those that want to watch, there will be plenty of space to see the competition from the Nordic flats area below the jumps. There will also be food trucks and a Red Bull trailer, with plenty of the host’s drinks on hand.
The event is free to spectators, and some of the money earned in the event goes to Park City Ski and Snowboard Club’s ski jumping program.
“We love to host this event because it’s a unique use of our venue that’s been here since 2002,” said Kole Nordmann, a spokesman for the Utah Olympic Park. “To see it transformed from a ski jumping venue to a race from the bottom to top is really an amazing thing to see.”
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The boys are members of the USA Nordic combined national team, and have recently been accepted into the World Class Athletes Program (WCAP) offered by the Army. They’ve completed basic training and are now focusing on the upcoming season before resuming their duties to their country.