Robinson wins Jupiter Peak Steeplechase | ParkRecord.com

Robinson wins Jupiter Peak Steeplechase

Racers said conditions were perfect for Saturday’s race

By Griffin Adams
The Park Record

Runners in the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase run through the roughly 16-mile course near Park City Mountain on Saturday morning. Ben Robinson won the mens title, while Holly Hagerman secured first place in the womens division.

When Ben Robinson was nearing the top of Jupiter Peak on Saturday morning, he was worried about giving up his spot.

"I was slightly concerned to get caught before the top because Skullcandy set a fun incentive for the first to the top," said Robinson, who eventually earned the Skullcandy King of the Mountain Award for reaching the top first.

After reaching the top, Robinson didn't have to worry about being caught for the rest of the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase run, an approximate 16-mile race put on by Mountain Trails Foundation near Park City Mountain.

Though he did give up his first-place position for a few miles after the peak, Robinson found his rhythm — running low five-minute miles for the last quarter of the race — to earn the top male spot in 1:55:56.9.

"The conditions were perfect," Robinson said. "Trails were super runnable and fast. I didn’t know what to expect going into the race because I didn’t know many folks, but once we were a mile in I just enjoyed running by myself and getting into a groove."

Rounding out the top three spots were Matthew Braithwaite (1:58:42) and John Venner (2:03:53.7). Holly Hagerman took home the women's title after finishing in 2:18:33.6, while Natalie Como (2:23:05.8) and Emily Kaufmann (2:30:24.7) rounded out the top-three finishers.

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Mountain Trails Executive Director Charlie Sturgis said all the races the organization runs are capped at 400 participants to ensure the trails don't get overcrowded, and Saturday's race was near that mark. Sturgis also backed Robinson's claims that conditions for the race were ideal.

"It was a perfect day for a race," Sturgis said. "Cool, dry and not dusty at all. It doesn't get any better than that."

Robinson, who is now living in Boulder, Colorado, but briefly lived in Park City last summer, said he's never competed in the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase but was glad he did.

"The course was amazing," Robinson said. "I loved the challenging first half and the ease of the second half to be able to fly down the mountain. I was so excited to see the top of the mountain, but at the same time mentally shot because of how steep the last section was."

The last section of the first half was so steep that after Robinson reached the top, he — like many others — was forced to take a brief break before heading down the mountain.

Robinson — an avid runner since high school days — is originally from northeastern Pennsylvania but ventured West last year in search of challenging running trails. Though he said Boulder provides tough competition with its endless amount of dirt-road options, Robinson said his favorite is the Jeremy Ranch trail in Park City.

"Park City offers probably the best trails I’ve ever been on overall because of the accessibility, runnability, views, and overall amount of trails," he said.

Now the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase is over, Sturgis and company are preparing for the last installment of the Triple Trail Challenge, the Mid Mountain Marathon. They took the rest of the day Saturday to relax and enjoy the weekend, but Sturgis said it's right back to work to get ready for the Aug. 19 event.

"The planning really starts soon after we finish," Sturgis said. "The big push is now with just three weeks to go."

The Mid Mountain Marathon will take place on Aug. 19. The roughly 26-mile race is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. on a new course, starting at Deer Valley's Silver Lake.