UOP hosts XTERRA Trail Run
Submitted by David McCluskey
The excitement was immense for the inaugural event at Utah Olympic Park on Saturday, May 31. A picturesque setting and challenging course provided an exhilarating adventure for runners hailing from 15 states and as far as Germany. The field was stacked with six XTERRA Age Group National Champions, including the winner, Taha Mahmood from Salt Lake City.
Taha, who was the 2013 Men’s 50-54 Age Group National Champion at XTERRA Trail Run Nationals, covered the 20-kilometer course in 1 hour, 42 minutes and 20 seconds, edging out Donnie Gray, the 2013 XTERRA 45-49 Age Group National Champion, who finished second in 1:42:45, and Kevin Tuck, the 2013 XTERRA 55-59 Age Group National Champion, who finished third in 1:43:37. Donnie Gray, who has recently overcome a knee injury, also finished second at the Bear Lake Monster Spring Half Marathon in St. Charles, Idaho, which was held just six days before the XTERRA Park City Half Marathon.
In the women’s race, Emma Garrard from Park City was victorious by nearly eight minutes with a time of 1:45:56. Emma was fourth at the 2013 XTERRA National Championships and fifth at the XTERRA World Championships in Maui. Marissa Floodman from Sandy, Utah, was second in 1:53:10 and Hannah Greene from Bozeman, Montana, finished third in 1:55:17. Hannah, who was visiting her sister in Park City, brought a large group of enthusiastic runners from Montana to participate in the races at UOP.
The 20K race course included an elevation gain of 1,820 feet. The maximum elevation was 7,436 feet and the starting elevation was 6,415 feet.
Many of the runners agreed on both the natural beauty surrounding the course and also the difficulty of the terrain.
"Thanks Mac and crew for a great, albeit brutal, race on Saturday. Fuel and water stations were great, and of course Fat Kid Pizza made it all worthwhile in the end. Looking forward to another!" said half marathon participant and Park City resident, Rory Cullen. Half marathon runner Edwin Johnson from Sandy praised the volunteers for working so incredibly hard to make these races so much fun and memorable for the participants.
According to five-time XTERRA Trail Run Series Regional Champion and PowerBar representative Richard Burgunder, "The course was strikingly beautiful and very challenging. Mac and company put on another suburb event, as always."
Special thanks to the sponsors: PowerBar, Gatorade and Paul Mitchell. The next race of the 2014 XTERRA Utah Trail Run Series will resume on June 28 at Jordanelle State Park.
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Cyndi Schwandt, 68, was known in the mountain biking community for her love of purple, her enthusiasm for the sport, and her involvement in building the early trails system. On Monday she was remembered with a group ride.