Veteran, newcomer win Park City Trail Series 15K races
The Park City Trail Series hosted its annual 15K race on Saturday, where Owain Rice took first with a time of 1:00:59 in the male category and Louise Mercer took first in the female category at 1:03:47.
Rice, a high school cross country coach in Salt Lake City also finished third in this year’s 5K and second in the 10K, while Mercer, who joined the race at Rice’s recommendation, has taken first in each of the race’s events this year.
Rice also placed in the top five at last year’s 13.1-mile and 15K races.
“I really like the 15K; it’s an unusual distance” Rice said after crossing the finish line in his Judge Memorial High School t-shirt. “(Park City Trail Series) the only one I’ve ever found, but 9.3 miles is really fun. It’s just far enough that it’s a little more of an endurance race, but you still have to keep a good pace throughout.”
Rice, who runs between 60 and 70 miles per week, checked his watch, which had recorded his time over the race. It indicated that he had run at a pace of 6 minutes, 35 seconds per mile in the Trail Series race.
“It’s the same course as last year, so I knew what was coming,” he said.
Rice has been a dedicated Park City Trail Series competitor since 2013, and said he enjoys the series because of its relaxed atmosphere and strong competition.
It was Mercer’s first season at the Trail Series, but by no means her first race. The University of Utah senior competed in track and field for her school until her eligibility ran out this year. Her time in the indoor 5K is the fourth fastest by a student in the school’s history at 16:36.71 and her time in the outdoor 10K is the eighth fastest by a student at 35:29.77.
The Running Ute, a former University of Edinburgh student has also placed highly at the Cross Country Scottish National Championships.
Mercer said to prepare for a 15K race, a runner should log “big miles,” meaning 80-mile weeks running in the Wasatch Range.
She said she will not run in the upcoming Trail Series half marathon because it overlaps with another competition on her calendar: The XTERRA Trail Run Nationals in Ogden.
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