Hayden Hawks wins first trail ultra since pandemic lockdown
It’s been a few months, but over the weekend Utah hosted the first trail running race since the outbreak of the pandemic. The Squaw Peaks 50-mile race went off as planned with health and safety procedures in place, and Hayden Hawks took home the victory and new course record.
“The lockdown training paid off and I would like to give a shout out to the race organization for putting on a safe and responsible race with social distancing procedures!” the American runner said via social media. “Thank you to my sponsors for supporting me even through this pandemic, couldn’t do it without you! Happy to do this Utah classic that has been on the list for a while now! “
The race came with myriad new measures to keep runners safe and separate from others, which included the cancellation of the pre-race pasta dinner, a staggered start, using face masks at aid stations, maintaining physical distance at all times and many others we are all used to at this point.
In winning the race, Hawks shaved eight minutes off the course record long-held by runner Karl Meltzer, whose 7:35:58 has stood since he set the time in 2002.
The first female finisher was Ashley Paulson who finished in a time of 9:22:01 in her first race over 50 miles despite running off course and having to make her way back uphill.
Although many events are still cancelled throughout the summer, the fact that this race was held must give some hope to those with upcoming races that are in a holding pattern.
For instance, the Canal Corridor 100 in Akron, Ohio is scheduled for early July and already has the health and safety measures in place and is ready to go.