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What’s not to like about a 50K mountain race with over 11,000 feet of punishing vertical gain set in the heart of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains? Nothing to worry about when the first thing you read on the race’s website is the following: “This is a hard race. If you feel like this should be your first 50K, you are probably wrong in your assumptions.”
There are few races that offer such a gorgeous venue and challenging profile than the Speedgoat 50K, named for legendary ultrarunner and RD Karl Meltzer, the “winningest 100-miler on Earth.” Meltzer is particularly excited about this weekend, as 2022 marks the 15th year of the Speedgoat 50K (which also includes 11K and 28K distances).
Speedgoat is now part of the UTMB World Series.
Starting this year, the Speedgoat 50K is now an official event for the UTMB World Series.
“Being part of the UTMB World Series is taking this magical race to another level, testing runners physically and mentally,” says Meltzer. “The course is a mental nightmare, with steep climbs and nasty descents, all at high altitude. No 50K race, to my knowledge, is at a higher average altitude than Speedgoat. Wildflowers are peaking, to top it all off.”
So what does the UTMB affiliation actually mean? It means that you can now, through participating, gain opportunities to access the UTMB World Series Final, the OCC (50K), in Mont-Blanc, France, either by:
- A lottery place, earned through a collection of Running Stones.
- Automatic entry to OCC for the Top 3 finishers, male and female, of the 50K distance.
Each Speedgoat 28K/50K finisher receives 2 UTMB stones. You need at least one stone from the past two years to enter one of the three UTMB World Series finals. Here are the details.
The Speedgoat 50K course is located on the occupied lands of the Indigneous Goshute and Eastern Shoshone peoples, at Snowbird Ski Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, a 40-minute drive southeast of downtown Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Mountains.
There are three distances from which to choose over the course of the weekend: 11K, 28K (Friday), and 50K (Saturday). Here are the profiles, at-a-glance:
- 11K: 1,753 feet of vertical gain
- 28K: 7,321 feet of vertical gain
- 50K: 11,569 feet of vertical gain
All distances start and end at the Snowbird resort (7,880 feet), with the high point of the 50K race reaching nearly 12,000 feet in elevation.
Runners to Watch
A handful of elite and emerging runners will be battling for victory this weekend, though the course record (5:04:31) set by Adam Peterman, this year’s winner of the 2022 Western States 100, will be a tall order.
“I was blown away with the beautiful views and also the challenge of the course,” Peterman told Trail Runner about his experience on the course last year. “The route is steep up or steep down the entire time. It’s a special race for me because it was my first ultra, and I was able to (just barely) nab the course record.” Though Peterman won’t be lining up this year, he does have unfinished business in the Wasatch. “I hope to return someday to run under five hours!”
Adam Loomis, 30, from Park City, Utah, will be a favorite among the men’s elite field. He’s experienced the Speedgoat 50K once before and agrees with Meltzer’s claim that it’s the toughest 50K on the planet.
“In every other ultra I’ve done, there have been moments when you can just cruise and enjoy the trails,” said Loomis, “but this one doesn’t let you relax.” Loomis is an accomplished winter athlete which translates to serious fitness when the snow melts. “I’ve built a huge aerobic base from my years as a Nordic combined athlete. Since then, I’ve been able to maintain and even build on that fitness with long days in the mountains on foot, bikes, and skis. I also learned an immense amount about dealing with setbacks, focusing on the process and dreaming big.”
Hillary Allen will be returning to the Speedgoat 50K for the first time since her victory in 2015. For good measure, she’ll be running both the 28K and the 50K in preparation for UTMB next month. “I really love steep, technical races and Speedgoat is one of the few races in the U.S. where it truly feels like a European skyrace.” Allen’s approach is to have fun and compete: “I feel more experienced and ready to challenge myself on this course, though it never gets easier!”
- Addie Bracy
- Ashley Brasovan
- Erika Flowers
- Michelle Hummel
- Jennifer Lichter
- Hillary Allen
- David Sinclair
- Michelino Sunseri
- Seth Ruhling
- Adam Loomis
- Jackson Cole
- Morgan Elliot
- Joey DeFeo