UP, UP, UP, UP: The Golden State is home to many notable running events. Yep, we have our big marathons, we have the costume runs, the glow-in-the-dark 5Ks, the up-and-down island jogs, the over-the-huge-bridge sprints, the color-doused happenings, and Badwater Ultramarathon, which rambles over dozens of miles of Death Valley desert in the middle of July. But the Palm Springs Aerial Tram Road Challenge is pretty stand-alone in a few ways, notably where elevation is concerned. Make that extreme elevation. Actually, make that extreme elevation change. It's a run that covers a pert 3.7 miles but with "an elevation gain of 2,643 feet." Whoa, right? That doesn't encompass a few little bumps along the route. That is one, upward-facing, very long bump up the side of Mount San Jacinto, or at least 3.7 miles of it. And if you want to know what the steepness is, in real-world terms, consider that *the end* of the race is considered the most challenging, given the 19% grade. That's mega, mega grade, especially for someone completing a race.
THE ROUTE: The runners'll head out on Saturday, Oct. 26 from "the bottom of Tram Way" up to Valley Station. Klein Clark Sports is organizing, and the beneficiary is United Way of the Desert. And the participants? They come from all over for this one-of-a-kind, mega-elevation race, so bet you'll be hoofing it up -- straight up, or seemingly so -- alongside Californians and people from around the planet. The fastest times ever come in at under a half hour, if you feel like you're in the mood to break records.
BUT... if you're more in the mood to take the tram up the hill, and not run it, you can. It runs daily, and, yep, there shall be a few Santa-y surprises with the holidays just ahead, and holiday meals, too, at the restaurants at the tram's top.