The story of a man who ran every street in Salt Lake City in 2020

If you live in Salt Lake City, Bryant Heath ran your house this year.

If you work in Salt Lake City, Heath has led your place of business. If you worship in Salt Lake City, he ran around your church. Your school, your favorite grocery store, the gas station you usually stop at, your bank, your favorite park. He saw them all.

This man – 35 years old, craft engineer – may know all of Salt Lake City better than anyone.

That’s because Heath has taken on a crazy project this crazy year: Running mostly at night and on weekends, he’s decided to run every bit of every street in Salt Lake City. He did it pretty badly and finished this week, well in advance of his own New Year’s Eve.

Well, sure, there were some reasonable exceptions. It is illegal to run on highways. He did not interfere with the closed neighborhoods with no entry signs. He could not even run on the streets blocked due to construction. And he left out a few streets blocked by private businesses – streets that appeared on Heath’s maps but were fenced off for the public.

But other than that, Heath traveled them all, one by one, step by step. What led him to this? Curiosity.

Heath moved to Utah from Texas in 2010 and lived as a resident above the Capitol and near Sugar House Park. However, he realized that he seldom walked outside these neighborhoods.

“Wow, I’ve never been to three-quarters of the city before,” and I’ve been here for 10 years. That was very sobering, “Heath told The Salt Lake Tribune. “And I thought, ‘I have to go out and explore a little more.'” That, and he figured the specific goal was moving him more consistently – Heath had described himself as a runner who was leaving again and again. this experience.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bryant Heath ran on all the streets of Salt Lake City in 2020. In total, it was about 990 miles from January to December.

So he laced them up and hit the road. He started near his home and worked his way out. Every day he looked at his map, zoomed in on a part of the grid that had not passed before, and printed the surroundings. He drew the planned route by hand, and Heath headed for the starting point he had chosen.

Here is a time-lapse video of Heath’s project. The video, created from data tracked by Heath’s Garmin Fenix ​​3 HR, then accelerated by a factor of 5,000, shows the extent of what he accomplished – a project that is now covered in a film documentary.

Also make numbers: 994 miles over 118 sessions. Overall, Heath maintained an impressive pace of about 8:03 minutes per mile. He gained 37,379 feet at altitude. He missed all September to adjust his knee, but in December he reached out for 10 days in a row to wrap it all up. He walked a total of 1435 city streets.

What did Heath learn from his tour of the Utah capital? Let’s look at some of the most important.

Heath’s favorite runs

When I asked about Heath’s favorites, he mentioned two neighborhoods he really liked to run in, one on the east side and one on the west side.

Heath ran in Highland Park near the start of the project in early January. But even after months, he remembers the “old growth trees”, the “super bike” Stratford Avenue and the overall appeal of the area.

When he ran on August 7 in Rose Park, the weather was very different, but he also loved the area. “There are these parks, a golf course, a Frisbee golf course, and then there is easy access to the Jordan River Trail. These are great, great, great areas. I loved it. “

The most challenging run – west of Capitol Hill

At 10 miles, this August run was just above Heath’s average. But there were several reasons why this was not necessarily the most attractive way.

“There were super confusing streets; there is no easy way to direct them, and on some it’s very steep … And not only that, but then you get west of 300 and it’s very industrial. ”

The longest run – and unforgettable

Heath’s longest run came in November, when he completed a 14.4-mile circuit around the Salt Lake County landfill and neighboring areas. He didn’t expect it to be interesting, but it turned out to be: he didn’t know about Lee Kay Ponds and related bird areas.

It’s also home to Lee Kay Shooting Range – another attribute Heath didn’t know about. “I started following that path and then I started hearing gunfire. And I’m just thinking, ‘What’s going on here? And that’s why I came back maybe a little earlier than I probably had. “

Running with the highest elevation – and the best views

There was a good reason for one of Heath’s slowest runs: It was on the Upper Avenues side, leading to the start of the Terrace Hills trail. In total, he ran nearly 11 miles at 6.5 mph, although he climbed 1,623 feet in altitude.

However, the reward was the best view of the tour, especially from Terrace Hills Drive at the top of the exit. “Whenever you come across a small open space, it’s just scenic views that are just beautiful.”

Another good view of the city Heath remembered: along Benchmark Drive in the Foothill area. “It’s very, very, very high from a steep hill, and what the street looks like is a direct view of the city center.” It’s like a boom: Basically, all you see are skyscrapers in the city center, which I found pretty cool. “

Neighborhood of religious diversity

Heath expected to learn a lot about his city during the year, but did not know what he had found in this neighborhood east of Utah State Fairpark west of Interstate 15. About one or two blocks from another, Heath encountered the Summum Pyramid, Maryam Mosque, where it houses the Utah Islamic Society of Bosniaks, the Tam Bảo Buddhist Temple and the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Guadeloupe.

“I kept coming across interesting things to see,” Heath said. “It’s just an example of diversity on the West Side.”

The airport is running

There is more to run around Salt Lake City International Airport than you can imagine: It is possible to run between terminals on the north side of the airport, although Heath’s favorite airport-related run was on farmland and swamps in the northeast, where he saw rabbits and enjoyed watching. aircraft.

But Heath’s last ride on the entire SLC tour on December 13 was sketchy: Airport officials recommend that people use the airport bike path. If you want to go to the airport by bike or on foot, they recommend turning north to 3700 West, although pedestrian access to the airport was recently locked due to construction and now requires a badge – $ 15 so that anyone can buy it.

Heath, although he always completed finishing work, also ran on the shoulder of the Terminal Drive airport loop – the one used by cars to access the airport for departures and arrivals. Airport officials strongly opposed the idea and told The Tribune: “Running on this road is not safe and we would be discouraged. Heath says he missed two patrol cars on Terminal Drive, but was never stopped during his trip.

Other random encounters:

During the management of the entire city, Heath had several other interesting events:

• He witnessed a car accident near the University of Utah. It was a relatively smaller back, he said.

• He sensed a gas leak near Fremont Avenue and 1100 West – and firefighters responded minutes later.

• In April, Heath tried to drive the streets around the Veterans Medical Center, but failed because the entire area was fenced off as a coronavirus prevention measure. He returned to the area in December, when the lock was lifted, to complete this part of the run.

• Heath feared that at some point he would have a rough encounter with someone’s dog. But there was only one dog that ever chased him – a chihuahua, and only for a short time. It was “another of the irrational worries I had that didn’t work out at all,” Heath said. As for the more natural game, he encountered a fox near the Fields of the Regional Athletic Complex in the Northwest Sector and several deer in the Red Butte area.

Lessons learned

I asked Heath, now an expert, what suggestions he might have for Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall after exploring the city’s streets.

“They added these nice green medians, like the 1200 East leading to [U.]”Heath said.” “Why don’t they do it for these big streets on the west side?” That would be nice. “He also pointed to the absurdity of some of Salt Lake City’s wide streets, such as the 700 South, which have few traffic lights and very little traffic – again, a midpoint could improve the visual appeal of a street that still needs repair.

But Heath praised Mendenhall in one key aspect: improving the leaves on the west side. Heath said he ran up to four-tenths of a mile without seeing a tree planted in a city park on some roads – it would be unusual to see it on the east side. In April, Mendenhall began its plan to plant at least 1,000 trees on the west side. Heath would agree with Mendenhall, who reported a “stunning injustice” between the West and the East regarding trees.

Apart from the trees and the medians, however, Heath was not affected by the differences between the communities, but by their similarities.

“People make all these differences with the neighborhood.” “Oh, they live in Federal Heights, or, oh, I live in Sugar House, or whatever it is,” Heath sneered. “But when you see the whole city, you realize and appreciate the commonalities.”

“It simply came to our notice then. Then you will see how it translates into all the major political features. And then it passed and you would have the American flag for Fourth of July or the Pride flag. Then came the Halloween decorations and they were all over the neighborhood. Everyone has children who play in sprinklers. Everyone has barking dogs on every street corner. “

“We’re more alike than I think we’d like to admit to each other,” Heath finished. “And it’s great to see it in real time.”

Andy Larsen is a data columnist. He is also one of the writers of the Utah Jazz beat The Salt Lake Tribune. You can reach it at alarsen@sltrib.com.

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