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Running into Diversity

Wednesday August 3, 2011

[caption id="attachment_6130" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="Taking a mini breather with friends halfway through the Wahsatch Steeplechase"][/caption]

I’ll admit it. I got a little over confident in my running abilities after I finished the Salt Lake Half Marathon in a shorter time than anticipated. I mean, I’m not going to be winning medals anytime soon. But it was a personal best nevertheless.

That false sense of security is why I decided register for the Wahsatch Steeplechase. The Steeplechase is a rugged and varied course with a total vertical gain and loss of approximately 9,000’ over 17 miles. It starts near downtown Salt Lake City in Memory Grove and works its way along the foothills to the summit of Black Mountain (elevation 8,000').

[caption id="attachment_6155" align="alignright" width="245" caption="Wahsatch Steeplechase"][/caption]

Saying the Steeplechase humbled me is an understatement. There were people of all ages, body types and ability levels in the Half Marathon--so I fit right in. The Steeplechase on the other hand was a small group of rock-hard bodies with serious faces--I did not fit in.

I finished the race, and I wasn’t last. So I consider it a success. But it really opened my eyes to the wide-range of diversity Salt Lake has to offer when it comes to running. It really is a runner’s paradise here. The foothills surrounding the valley are laced with trails for literally every ability level of trail running. And road running could not be more beautiful with the surrounding mountains and tree-shaded streets.

[caption id="attachment_6131" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Hidden Peak Challenge 6k Run at Snowbird"][/caption]

There are also organized trail and road running races going on all year long, all around the state. One of which is the upcoming Hidden Peak Challenge 6K Run on September 17 at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort. It begins on the Plaza Deck and traverses its way along Dick Bass Highway to the top of the Wilbur Chair, then back to the top of the Peruvian Chair and finishes at the summit of Hidden Peak (elevation 11,000'). This race has a history of being a great time, and includes a well-earned ride down the Tram at the end.

Or if you are more interested in flat terrain, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail runs more than 280 miles. So pick a segment that appeals to you and run with it.

[caption id="attachment_6160" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="Wahsatch Steeplechase Trail Map"][/caption]