Cottonwood Heights area trails to host Wasatch Trail Run series
Racers participate in the Wasatch Trail Run series. (Mitt Stewart/Wasatch Trail Run Series)
Gallery: Cottonwood Heights area trails to host Wasatch Trail Run series [3 Images] Click any image to expand.
With 100-plus miles of winding canyon trails, it’s no surprise that hiking has become a summer pastime for many Cottonwood Heights residents. Throw in those residents who participate in one of Salt Lake Valley’s many marathons, 5K runs or just outright jogging for fitness, and a significant portion of the population is out there hoofing it around the community. But there’s a special breed of joggers that take to the high trails and thin air to compete in the Wasatch Trail Run series.
Cottonwood Heights’ area trails will be hosting several events of the series between April and August, with races being held at Alta, Snowbird and Solitude resorts. The Wasatch Trail Run series is now in its sixth year. Each race offers both a short course — ranging from four to five miles, with a 500- to 700-foot elevation gain — and a long course that ranges between seven and nine miles, and has an elevation gain of 1100 to 2000 feet.
“Our motto is ‘Dirt Cheap, Super Sweet,’” said Race Director Mitt Stewart. “The series is unique in that it takes place on Wednesday evenings, and the entry fee is only $20. Nine-race passes are available, which equates to $13 per race. We have 11 races this year.”
The Wasatch Trail Run has six different race venues. Spring races are held in Corner Canyon, Dimple Dell and Park City. Summer races are held at Alta, Park City, Snowbird and Solitude.
“Alta and our Olympic Park course in Park City are probably our two toughest courses due to the elevation gain,” Stewart said. “Over the years, a community has been created. Every race you see the same familiar faces. This has enabled long-lasting friendships to be formed and provides a healthy breeding ground for competition.
The Wasatch Trail Run also has a charity component. Stewart estimates that several thousand dollars have been donated to charity from previous years’ races. Proceeds from this year’s Snowbird race on June 21 will benefit Wasatch Adaptive Sports, a nonprofit organization that encourages individuals with adaptive needs and their families to realize their potential and engage in active living through year-round recreational, educational and social programs.
Not only do racers benefit from the camaraderie and competition of the series, but they can also get prizes just for being there.
“After each race, tons of giveaways are randomly given to participants. From free pairs of shoes, free pairs of skis, clothing, gadgets, it’s a high likelihood that you’ll walk away with something cool. Ten thousand dollars of giveaways throughout the season,” Stewart said.
Solitude’s race on June 14 marks the midpoint of the series. Upcoming races are scheduled at Snowbird on June 21, Park City’s Olympic Park on July 12, Solitude on July 19, Alta on August 9, and Snowbird again on August 16.
Stewart said the races are for anyone from beginners to elite athletes.
“The racer demographics cover the entire spectrum from beginners, children under 10 years old, retirees, (those) who are looking to meet new people and get a good workout, to elite athletes,” Stewart said. “Points are awarded each race corresponding to finish placings. At the end of the year, awards are given out to the top three finishers in each category.”
Runner divisions are set up in five-year age ranges, and divided into male/female categories.
The Wasatch Trail Run has grown in popularity since it started six years ago at Solitude.
“Our first year we held four races and maybe had 20 racers tops. 2017 has brought huge growth. We’ve doubled our participant numbers from last year. We have over 200 racers per race,” Stewart said.
Runners interested in the Wasatch Trail Run series can register in advance online at http://www.runontrails.com or onsite on race day.