The Alta Run
Distance: 6.5 miles and up depending on the number of campground loops.
Pace: “Survival Pace” going up. As fast as they can maintain without stopping to walk. As close to 5k race pace as possible on the run down – allowing gravity to do much of the work.
Every Thursday throughout the summer, we meet at Alta Ski Area for “The Alta Run”.
The run begins at an elevation of 8,500 feet and proceeds along the base of Alta Ski Area to what’s called The Summer Road. It’s a ski run in the winter. From that point, the run climbs about a thousand feet over 2.5 miles. This is some stressful running – especially early in the summer when the kids aren’t acclimated to the altitude. Our best runners struggle to maintain 9 minute pace. At the top of the Summer Road you reach the campground at Albion Basin. The entrance to the campground is 3.25 miles from the start so if runners turn back here, they have a 6.5 mile run – almost all uphill for the first half and almost all downhill on the return.
Our fit runners are encouraged to run “campground Loops”. The campground has a 2/3 mile rolling loop so each time you complete a loop you add 2/3 mile to the 6.5 mile run. Fortunately there’s water at the campground. We’ve had runners add as many as 10 loops but the general idea is to make this an 80 to 90 minute run.
On the downhill return runners are encouraged to approach 5k race pace for about 2 miles. I think the fast turnover on tired legs is really beneficial and the dirt road makes for less impact than doing something similar on pavement.
Unlimited chocolate milk at the bottom.