A Look Back at the Discrete Peak Series
I was definitely on edge as I pulled into the Alta parking lot. As a self-proclaimed “recreational runner”, I venture out five times a week to clear my head and get the dog out of the city. I don’t train and I look at races as an opportunity to check in on myself, meet new people and try out new terrain.
I think I was nervous for this race because it was smaller and more intimate. But when I walked into the vendor village and started bumping into old friends and coworkers, my nerves calmed down and it was clear this was going to be a blast.
The race began with a speed hike up Greeley Hill. Spirits were high and the sun was out as all efforts were focused on getting to the top. With 2,545 feet of elevation gain in three miles, that’s all you can really focus on.
I remember accompanying Alta patrollers on sweeps through this terrain and feeling somewhat exposed. It was wild to be off the beaten trail, running through Piss Pass, and pushing through the High Traverse, picking up some speed as the makeshift trail dipped and curved along the mountainside. I settled at a comfortable pace, finally slowing down my breathing after the insane climb. Passing an aid station stocked with goods and friendly volunteers, we began the ascent up Baldy. I don’t think I can accurately express how much I love rock scrambling, but I do love it.
I was nestled between two rockstar women who were both graceful and encouraging throughout the race. When the group thins out and you find the few you will spend the event with, there is an unspoken relationship in the race world. You banter a bit, complain about the hard parts, laugh and pass each other back and forth. Until that moment, the short but necessary relationship is nice to have when running down 35 degree scree slopes with an insanely beautiful backdrop.
As runners crossed the finish line, they were greeted with a “medal," high-five and a hug. The award ceremony and raffle took place in the vendor village. In true Alta fashion, it was intimate and upbeat. At other racing events, it feels like people are either waiting for a raffle or bolting for their cars. Not at the Peak Series. The vast majority wanted to hang out, drink a beer and cheer on those stepping up to the podium.
With the shorter distances and accessibility of this race series, friendships will be made and personal records will be broken. It truly is a race for the trail running masses. Just make sure you can handle a hefty dose of up with a whopping side of down. It was also really cool to be racing with the creator of the series, Julian Carr, superhuman mountain goats like JP Donovan and two women I definitely look up too, Emma Garrard and Emily Harrington. Looking forward to the next stop at Snowbird on September 5!
Pro Division Winners
1) JP Donovan - 59:13.7
2) Jason Dorais - 1:01:32.5
3) Brett Hales - 1:01:40.8
1) Emma Garrard - 1:20:09.9
2) Emily Harrington - 1:23:03.4
3) Jennilyn Eaton - 1:30:12.9
Expert Division Winners
1) Robert Steffens - 1:08:13.5
2) Justin Davies - 1:13:42.9
3) Pete Stoughton - 1:14:43.5
1) Katie Schide - 1:25:40.8
2) Katie Blanch - 1:28:19.9
3) Mali Noyes - 1:29:40.9
Sport Division Winners
1) Mark Christopherson - 1:16:14.2
2) Darius Wilsey - 1:24:32.2
3) Riley Rose - 1:26:57.6
1) Tasha Woolley - 1:26:35.9
2) Crystal Painter - 1:32:36.1
3) Stephanie Gould - 1:34:33.5
Posted in: #AltaSummer