Last and longest of Park City Trail Series means an end of summer running season
Good conditions and balloon festival were perfect note to end on, racers say
The Park City Trail Series concluded on Saturday following the last and longest race of the season: a half-marathon around Round Valley. Saturday’s race was an aggregation of the courses run through the four-race summer season and, according to race organizers, combined the best views from the races over its sprawling figure-eight route.
Good weather and trail conditions, plus the Autumn Aloft hot air balloon festival, provided a serene atmosphere for the 361 registered racers.
First across the line: Owain Rice of Salt Lake City in 1 hour, 33 minutes and 48 seconds.
“I’ve done the race every year since I was 14,” Rice said.
The first year he ran it, he did the 5K, 10K and 15K. The next year he did them all. “And I’ve been doing them ever since,” he said.
By the end of the Park City Trail Series, Rice said he’s usually ready to take a break from running.
“Summer into the early fall is my race season,” he said. “This is usually one of the last races I do and at that point, school is picking up, I have things going on, it’s starting to cool off, I want to get into skiing.”
For second-place overall finisher Elisa McCarthy, the race was a starting point.
McCarthy, a medical student at Children’s General on rotation from her home in Denver, said the race surprised her.
“It felt great, it was beautiful out there,” she said. “This is my first trail race and I like it maybe a million times more than road racing. I had my iPhone with me so I could slip in my earbuds and I never did because I was so entertained.”
McCarthy, who finished with a time of 1:42.04, said this was her first race at altitude in 12 years and first race in a year. If she is accepted for a residency in Salt Lake City, she said she could see herself getting into the Trail Series – she liked the awareness it raised for the public space and trails, and she liked the atmosphere.
“It’s a different feel from a road race,” she said. “The crowd is different, too, and I like that.”
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“It was nice to get up and feel that relief,” Betsy Hochman said about her bike crash. “To see that everything was still good and to know that I could finish. So I took a deep breath and I kept going.”
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