“Dare to mountains, trails and bodies of water at this time of year can be dangerous because the weather is changing rapidly,” Kelly V. Sparks, Davis County Sheriff, said in a statement. “Even light rain in the valley can translate into blizzard conditions at higher altitudes.”
According to the race’s website, the DC Peaks 50, which took place for the first time, was supposed to lead runners on a mountainous track, which is mostly trails, but also includes some service roads and 2.5 miles of paved trails. It is described on the website as a “heavy track” with a vertical gain of about 11,700 feet and a descent of 8,637 feet.
Jake Kilgore, race director, said he and another director, Mick Garrison, spent two years planning the race, working with the United States Forest Service and others along the route. 87 runners took part in the race and there were six auxiliary stations along the way, each led by an experienced ultramarathoner, Mr Kilgore said.
The runners were about 8 miles into the race when conditions worsened, he said.
“It was raining and predicting rain at the starting line,” Mr Kilgore said. “No one predicted over a trail of snow on Francis Peak.” No one.”
He said ultramarathoners are aware of the risks associated with the sport, such as surfers on big waves or kite surfers. After the race was canceled, he said, the runners sent him an e-mail saying that they were safe and “everyone is excited to return next year.”
“The fact that we have every single runner means that this race has been very successful today,” said Mr Kilgore.
Ultrarunning, once considered a marginal extreme sport, has risen sharply in popularity in the last two decades. Critics have argued that some races have begun to blur the line between the rugged and the ruthless, and in the process have shifted the definition of the endurance race from long-distance conquest to elemental survival.