Summer running calendar full of trail events
The secret is out. Park City’s trails have been discovered.
With so many miles of trails for runners to enjoy, it’s no surprise more races are being held in Summit County.
This year is no exception. Though the well-attended Park City Half Marathon has been canceled for 2016, there are still races aplenty for athletes interested in running a variety of distances.
Starting with the Park City Education Foundation’s Running with Ed on May 21 and ending with The North Face Endurance Challenge Sept. 24-25, it will be a busy four months on the local trails.
Races like Ragnar, Running with Ed, the Park City Memorial 5K and the Park City July 4th Fun Run are primarily road races, but Park City High School Cross-Country Coach Pete Stoughton said more runners are starting to head into the mountains more often.
"It seems like the emphasis has switched to trails," he said. "You’ve got the Park City Trail Series, the Triple Trail Challenge, the Discrete races, The North Face race and there are even some other ones. We have 400 miles of amazing singletrack trail here. You can do easier terrain like Round Valley or you can ramp it up and hit the mountains. I think that we have amazing resources for running in Mountain Trails and Basin Rec — they’ve done an amazing job building trails. Even as coaches, we try for cross-country to put our kids on the trails as much as possible."
Steve Cuttitta, also a PCHS cross-country coach, said the races are drawing more out-of-town runners than in years past, too.
"We have a reputation now," he said. "People are coming from around the country and around the world to train here."
"[Park City] gives you the ability to train low and sleep high, which is unique only to here," PCHS Cross-Country Coach Peter Wood added. "You can go down to Salt Lake and run a speed workout and still sleep at 8,000 feet."
Though the Park City Half Marathon cancellation for this year has sparked some discussion about whether there are too many events in the summer season, Wood said he doesn’t think so. He said there are a variety of big-ticket activities going on that require the use of trails.
"I don’t think it’s all running," he said. "If it’s not a running race, it’s a mountain bike race or Ragnar or some other event coming in. The trails kind of get packed. That’s more of the problem than anything. People have discovered this town and they like to get out of the heat and come up here."
"And we run into the soccer and softball and baseball tournaments, too," Cuttitta continued. "That kind of eats up Round Valley for three to four weekends in the summer."
"And there are only 16 weekends in the summer," Wood added.
That said, Cuttitta would welcome more running events if people were interested in attending.
"It is busy, but if there were more running races, I say the more, the merrier," he said. "As far as the number of trail races, there certainly are more than there used to be, but if they’re bringing people in town to run, I’m all for it."
After all, Stoughton said, there’s plenty of room for everyone on the Park City trails. He said his favorite training areas depend on the season.
"In the fall, it’s going to be Lost Prospector and all the trails connected to there, or Ham’s, Armstrong, Spiro and all of those up there [at Park City Mountain]," he said. "For summer, it’s jumping on Mid Mountain or higher. Bowhunter Loop and the Deer Valley tri-peak area — those are some amazing trails that don’t get a lot of runner traffic. Early season, a lot of us like to throw down on Glenwild Loop and beat each other up trying to get fast times."
Cuttitta said another thing that makes Park City trails great is the easy access.
"Mid Mountain is still easily accessible from town," he said. "You can ride the bus up to Silver Lake Lodge for free and, if you leave your car in downtown Park City or anywhere in that area, you can take the bus up, run and come down Armstrong or Spiro and that’s an easy loop where you don’t have to drive anywhere."
Those who participate in one or more of the summer’s races are likely to spot Cuttitta and Stoughton. Stoughton said the Park City Running Company is sponsoring a group of athletes to run in the store’s gear.
"The goal is just to have a really good presence at the local races and to compete regionally and hopefully nationally," he said. "We’ll be decked out in Salomon gear. It’s more of a trail team, but it does have some triathletes and road runners on there also."
"I like the idea because we’re bringing together the group of Park City runners," Cuttitta added. "We all know each other in passing, but this will hopefully bring some unity to our group and I think that will be a cool thing."
The Park City Running Company hosts trail runs every Sunday morning at 8 a.m., Stoughton said. Information can be found on the company’s Facebook page.
"We’ve had 20 to 50 people most of the time," he said. "That’s really been a lot of fun. After we run five to 10 miles, we all get together and drink coffee and eat breakfast and hang out."
To register for the Triple Trail Challenge, visit mountaintrails.org. To sign up for the Park City Trail Series, visit saltlakerunningco.com. Information on the Discrete Peak Series can be found at rock.discreteclothing.com/peak-series. Running with Ed info is located at runningwithed.com. July 4th Fun Run information is on the Park City Ski Team’s website at parkcityskiteam.org. To register for the Park City Memorial 5K, visit pchsmemorial.us. To learn more about the Park City Wild Half, go to yesendurancesports.com. Ragnar information can be found at runragnar.com and information on The North Face Endurance Challenge is located at thenorthface.com/endurance-challenge.
Summer 2016 Running Events
Triple Trail Challenge
Park City Trail Series
5K — June 11
10K — July 9
15K — Aug. 13
Half Marathon — Sept. 17
Discrete Peak Series
Deer Valley — June 25
Alta — July 16
Snowbird — Aug. 28
Running with Ed — May 21
Park City Wild Half — May 28
Park City Memorial 5K — May 30
Ragnar Relay — June 17-18
Park City July 4th Fun Run — July 4
The North Face Endurance Challenge — Sept. 24-25
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.