Round Valley Rambler to kick off race series |

Round Valley Rambler to kick off race series

The first leg of the Triple Trail Challenge will be Saturday

A runner finishes the Mid Mountain Marathon last summer at Deer Valley. This years Mid Mountain Marathon, the final leg of the Triple Trail Challenge, will conclude at Utah Olympic Park.

School is officially out, which means Park City's running races are set to take off.

The Triple Trail Challenge, a popular race series where runners traverse through the area's trails, is scheduled to run its first leg on Saturday morning in a new event called the Round Valley Rambler.

The half marathon will start and finish at the North Round Valley Trailhead.

"At the moment, the conditions are stellar," said Charlie Sturgis, Mountain Trails Foundation's executive director. "We're looking at a cool start, not too hot of a day, with recent rains, which will help keep the dust down."

The new event in the Triple Trail Challenge, run by the Mountain Trails Foundation, will take place on buff single and double track, with altitude ranging from 6,500 to 7,100 feet. Because of the growing popularity in the race series, Sturgis and company capped the race at 400 people and are expecting more than 300 racers to participate.

And, of course, the race is expected to be fast.

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"We think there's going to be some spectacular times set," Sturgis said. "We've had some really hardcore runners in town here [and] some Olympic athletes. I know a couple of them are showing up, for sure. They're going to be running really fast."

Sturgis believes the Round Valley Rambler will be a perfect lead into the Challenge's other more challenging races: the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase (July 29) and the Mid Mountain Marathon (Aug. 19).

Though difficult, the series is perfect for anyone interested, Sturgis said.

"I think people really like having the challenge set out over the course of their summer," he continued. "With four weeks to train in between events, you can actually rest up a little and retrain for the next event. It's definitely the premier series. It's a hardcore series for around here.

"If you're a small lifestyle runner, you can still do this race and have fun and know that you completed a pretty significant event."

Besides adding the Round Valley Rambler, not much has changed for those who have participated in the series in the past. One other change Mountain Trails is making, however, is to the final competition: the Mid Mountain Marathon in August.

The marathon will have a new course, which will begin at Silver Lake at Deer Valley and will follow the iconic Mid Mountain Trail for almost the entirety of the marathon. Toward the end of the race, runners will make their way through the Utah Olympic Park trail system before descending down to the finish, which will be at the base of the 120 meter Olympic Nordic jump.

"[The new course is] not going to make it any easier," Sturgis said. "Probably not going to make it any harder. There will be stuff to do while you're waiting for your family to come in. That's going to be pretty important to a lot of people. We're excited about that. That's going to be fun."

Mountain Trails is elated it is able to carry out another year of the three-leg series. A lot of work went into running these races for Sturgis and company, and they are excited to get the ball rolling.

"We're really excited," Sturgis said. "It's a big deal to us. It's a significant fundraiser, as events are. We're proud that they're always on trails. It's a chance to show up and utilize the trails and get excited about getting out there and going a little harder."

The Round Valley Rambler is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. The start and finish will be at the North Round Valley Trailhead. To register for the race, visit