Parkites encourage Steeplechasers, offering coffee and a burrito
Ben Lepley, Jennifer Maloney and Monty Maloney (one of the Bernese mountain dogs that acts as a mascot for the Montage Deer Valley hotel) stood near the top of Tri-County Peak on Saturday to cheer on runners competing in the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, hosted by the Mountain Trails Foundation.
The last slope leading up to Tri-County was described as a “heartbreak hill” by the Mountain Trails Foundation’s executive director, Charlie Sturgis, because of the perception of the Steeplechase as topping out at the eponymous Jupiter Peak, which is about 33 feet lower than Tri-County in total elevation of 10,031.
“I’ve done this race, and all you need is a little smile right now,” Lepley said during an interview. “That’s the only thing getting you through. You’re like, ‘Really, another climb?’”
He said he and Maloney were out to cheer on Lepley’s brother and their friends. Lepley himself wasn’t racing because he said he had “learned his lesson.”
As a former competitor, he knows what they are going through. He also knew many of the racers who passed – a product of being raised in Park City – though he joked it would be a couple of years before he would be accepted as a true local.
“Jamie! Yeah buddy! Ow!” Lepley yelled to a runner coming up the trail.
“You’re crushing it,” Maloney joined in, before asking: “Do you want a burrito?”
The two had brought a spare burrito, and were offering it to runners they knew, though none accepted. They were also cheering on strangers. Lepley said that, to be a good race supporter, all you need is a cup of coffee and a sense of humor.
“Yeah buddy, strong work,” Lepley called to a stranger coming up the hill.
“I thought you were Seth Rogen,” the runner replied.
Lepley, who has a similar appearance to the Canadian actor, albeit a little shorter, took it as a huge compliment.
“Oh man, that would be awesome,” Lepley said after the runner had passed. “That is the best thing I’ve ever heard.”
“It hurts, and then you just get over it, but it’s fun,” Lepley said, reflecting on his own experience running the race.
After he finished the race in 2010, (results list him as finishing 130th out of 184 men in 2010) he said he drank a Corona, “felt awesome,” and then was ready for a nap.
“You get a beer in ya and then you just need a nap,” he said, adding that the next day it’s best to run again as a way of recovering.
“People in Mississippi don’t do this,” Maloney said, referring to the perception of Parkites’ hyperactive lifestyle.
“Welcome,” Lepley said facetiously. “You’ll be a local one day.”
The Park City High School girls golf team took second in the Class 4A state championship tournament on Thursday. It was the team’s fifth consecutive time as runner-up.