The Mid-Mountain Marathon takes place in September and as stated on its Web site, starts at Silver Lake Lodge at Deer Valley Resort and "follows the Mid Mountain Trail a beautiful single-track trail which begins at just under 8100' and peaks out at 8400' as it traverses from Deer Valley Resort to Park City Mountain Resort and The Colony before descending to the Canyons base area at 6800' " ( see http://mountaintrails.org/event-race-mtf/mid-mountain-marathon/ ).
The official Web site for the race describes the event in detail and directions on how to get to the area. (The starting point is shown below.)
Distance and Difficulty
This single-loop course of 26.2 miles follows a mostly single-track, runnable trail with no difficult, sustained climbs (3800' gain, 5000' loss) which is less than the slightly more challenging North Face Endurance Challenge in Park City, Utah.
Race Cut-Off Times
Runners have to reach aid station #4 about mile 16 in four hours (at noon), or you have to drop. You have a total of 7 hours to complete the marathon.
Although I had spent a good amount of running on my own this year, I hadn't taken part in any races because of other commitments and activities. That can be a good thing so that you don't burn out, and you take life in a more comfortable stride. However, I had been looking for an event that I could sign up at the last minute in case my schedule would allow it, and this race was just the one that fit me.
I arrived well before the buses started loading, so I slept in the car for a while until the had set up the table to pick up the bib and shirt. I then boarded the first bus which took us up to Silver Lake to the starting area with plenty of time to spare. The morning was sunny and a little brisk, and the race started promptly at 8:00. Not having run in race this year, I wasn't to sure of how things would unfold, so I started near the very back, and jogged, walked for about the first half mile as runners made a loop through a neighborhood on a paved street to spead runners out.
For the five miles, I slowly passed a number of runners, and I prefer to start out this way to gauge my fitness.
A scenic view along the trail over looking the valley below.
The trail was very runnable, but I mixed up some running with walking throughout this portion and up to the cut-off point at about mile 16, which I reached with about 35 minutes to spare before the cut-off. From there, I managed a slower pace, and at this point in the race, not many pass or are caught. Everyone seems to settle in pretty much where they are. I also knew that the last 4 miles are all downhill, and depending on how I would be feeling, I could make some time there.
Once I reached mile 22, I realized I was feeling pretty good, with no bobbly knees or pains, so I cruised down this section, passing about 10 people until the end. Now for me, a time of 5:34 was cruising seeing that I'm not very fast, but I enjoyed the scenery, the warm, pleasant weather, and the opportunity to do a course I had never done before. The finish line set-up and support were well organized.
I'd like to try this again at some point with my wife, with the hope of seeing some wildlife (a moose) in the future. The cut-off time is reasonable, and with only about 200 runners, things get spread out in the later miles so you don't feel you're running Boston.