Glowing enthusiasm might the most accurate description of Mary McMullen’s fervor for the inaugural Circle the Peak walk/run event.
“Were looking forward to introducing the beauty and quality recreation experience of the Payson Area Trails System (PATS) and United States Forest Service trails in a fun and competitive atmosphere,” said the town’s outdoor recreation coordinator.
The event, which is part of National Trails Day, will begin at 6:45 a.m., Saturday, June 6 at the Boulders Trailhead located 3.7 miles east of Highway 260 on Granite Dells Road.
The four-mile course winds around along the Monument Peak Loop Trail.
McMullen describes the difficulty of the mostly granite course as “moderate” and as a route that begins about 4,550 feet and climbs to 4,800 before descending to the original elevation.
She also contends the course is just the right location to showcase local trails.
“PATS is one of the natural resource jewels we have to offer to both Rim Country residents and visitors,” she said, “and National Trails Day is the perfect time to host an inaugural PATS trails race in celebration of our trails, what PATS currently is today and what it will become in the future.”
The Circle the Peak event represents local efforts to become involved in National Trails Day, which has been designed for the first Saturday in June by the American Hiking Society.
McMullen touts AHS’s national mission as especially significant in the Rim Country because it is to “protect and promote foot trails and the hiking experience.”
She is also certain the event will be well received among locals.
“Most of our comments on group-led hiking evaluation cards are that a trail race would be a great addition to our expanding outdoor recreation offerings,” she said.
The entry fee is $15 if registered by May 22. The fee includes a souvenir race shirt.
After May 22, the fee is $20 and there is no guarantee of a shirt.
Both fees do include a post-race breakfast provided by the Safeway Foundation to raise funds for the Prostrate Cancer Foundation.
For more information about the American Hiking Society or Circle the Peak, go to: http://www.americanhiking.org/index.aspx