The Wahsatch Steeplechase was conceived by McKay Edwards in 1980. Originally there were three courses all starting in Memory Grove Park: the 8 mile “Twin Peaks Derby”; the 15.5. mile “Black Mountain Classic”; and the 26.2 mile “Wahsatch Crest Marathon”, which climbed over Lookout Peak then descended to City Creek Pass and down City Creek Canyon back to Memory Grove.

Today, the Wahsatch Steeplechase is a rugged and varied course with a total vertical gain and loss of approximately 8,000 feet over 17 miles. Starting in Memory Grove Park in the heart of the city, the course promptly climbs to the 8000’ summit of Black Mountain.

The course favors the uphill runner right from the start, as it climbs 4,000 vertical feet in the first 7.5 miles. After recovering from the vertical treadmill, runners find themselves at the top of a false summit.  A greeting by the resident rattlesnakes here is common, but attention quickly shifts to negotiating “The Crags” that sport a difficulty rating of 5.4 (Yosemite Decimal System) before reaching the actual summit of Black Mountain.

While the first part of the course favors the uphill runner, the rest of the course is quite the opposite--it’s all downhill from the summit to Smuggler’s Gap. This mountain pass was named Smuggler’s because of a group of moonshiners who operated a still in City Creek Canyon during prohibition, and smuggled moonshine to the military base at Fort Douglas. Here runners are welcomed by friendly volunteers at a fully equipped aid station. Don’t forget to look for the secret item tacked on a tree at the Smuggler’s Gap trailhead; this is a proof positive that you’re on the right trail and that you’ve run the entire course!

Runners then descend the Smugglers Gap Trail. This 2.5 miles of quad-burning, gut-wrenching, knee-breaking downhill on an overgrown, root-infested, single-track trail that leads to Rotary Park at the head of City Creek Canyon and is typically where the “Bloodiest Award” is earned.

Runners finally follow the road for 2 or 3 miles (who’s counting anyway?) before moving back to the trail. The trail parallels the City Creek Canyon Road for approximately 3.5 miles before a short distance of pavement leads to the head of Memory Grove Park. Then it’s back to the trail for about 1.5 miles to the finish.

The race is limited to 300 runners.  There is a 6-hour cutoff.

Have Fun!

Questions? Contact Butch Adams

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The Race

DATE: Saturday June 21, 2014

START TIME: 6:00 am

PLACE: Memory Grove Park