The Story of a Man Running Every Street in Salt Lake City in 2020


If you live in Salt Lake City, Bryant Heath has run your home this year.

If you work in Salt Lake City, Heath runs your business. If you worship in Salt Lake City, he already runs your church. Your school, your favorite grocery store, your favorite gas station, your bank, your favorite park. He has seen it all.

This man – 35 years old, a commercial engineer – probably knows more about Salt Lake City than anyone.

That’s because Heath took on a crazy project this crazy year: Running mostly at night and on weekends, he decided to run little by little on every street in Salt Lake City. Shockingly, he did it, finishing it this week, very early on the New Year’s Eve deadline he set for himself.

OK, sure, there are some reasonable exceptions. It is illegal to run between states. He does not enter controlled residential areas with no trespassing signs. He also cannot run on streets congested due to construction work. And he overlooked a few streets blocked by private businesses – streets that appear on Heath’s maps but are fenced off to the public.

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

Heath moved to Utah from Texas in 2010, and he lives above the Capitol and near Sugar House Park as a resident. But he realized that he rarely went outside of those neighborhoods.

“Well, I’ve never been to about three-quarters of the whole city before‚ and I’ve been here 10 years. That’s very serious,” Heath told The Salt Lake Tribune. “And I said, ‘I need to go out and explore a little more. “That, and he found a specific goal that would propel him toward more consistency – Heath describe yourself as a back-and-forth runner before this experience.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bryant Heath hit every road in Salt Lake City in 2020. That’s about 990 miles in all from January to December.

So he tied them up and hit the road. He started close to home and worked his way up. Each day, he would look at his map, zoom in on a portion of the grid he hadn’t run before, and print out a neighborhood. He would draw by hand his planned path, and then Heath would go to the starting point he designated himself.

Here’s a time-lapse video of Heath’s project. Created from data tracked by Heath’s Garmin Fenix ​​3 HR, then sped up to 5,000, the video shows the scope of what he’s accomplished – a project currently covered by a documentary film.

So let’s do the numbers: 994 miles during 118 sessions. Overall, the Heath maintained an impressive pace of around 8:03 minutes per mile. He achieved an altitude of 37,379 feet. He skipped all of September due to a knee injury but managed to last 10 straight days in December to make it all over. All in all, he covered 1,435 streets in the city.

What did Heath learn from his tour of the Utah capital? Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Heath’s favorite runs

When I asked about Heath’s favorite places, he mentioned two neighborhoods he really enjoys running into, one on the east side and one on the west side.

Heath ran in the Highland Park neighborhood near where the project began in early January. But even months later, he still remembers the “old trees,” the “roadable supercar” on Stratford Avenue, and the general appeal of the area.

The weather was very different when he ran in Rose Park on August 7, but he loved the area, too. “These parks are there, the golf course, the Frisbee golf course, and then there is easy access to that Jordan River Trail. Those are great, great areas. I love it.”

The Most Challenging Run – west of Capitol Hill

At 10 miles, this August run was just above Heath’s average. But there are a few reasons why this isn’t exactly the most appealing route.

“There are super messy streets; There’s no easy way to route them, and it’s very steep for some of them… And then not only that, but then you go West of 300, and it’s very industrial. “

Longest run – and one to remember

Heath’s longest run was in November, when he completed a 14.4-square-mile lap around the Salt Lake County Dump and surrounding areas. He didn’t expect it to be a fun thing, but it turned out to be: he didn’t know about Lee Kay Ponds and related coding regions.

It is also home to the Lee Kay Shooting Range – another attribute that Heath is unaware of. “I started walking down that road and then I started hearing gunshots. And I just thought, ‘What’s going on here? And that’s why I’m going back maybe a little earlier than I should have. “

The track with the most elevation gain – and the best views

One of Heath’s slowest runs has good reason: It’s on the side of Upper Avenue, leading to the top of the Terrace Hills trailhead. Overall, he ran for nearly 11 miles at 6.5 mph, despite reaching an altitude of 1,623 feet.

But the bonus is his best view of the tour, especially from Terrace Hills Drive at the start of the run. “Anytime you want a little bit of open space, it’s just beautiful views.”

Another beautiful view of the city that Heath missed: the same Benchmark Driving in the Foothills. “That’s the way, the way, the way a steep hill, and what the street looks like, it’s a direct view of the city centre. It’s like, boom: Pretty much all you see are skyscrapers downtown, which I think is pretty cool. ”

Neighborhood of religious diversity

Heath is expected to learn a lot about his city during his school year, but he doesn’t know what to expect in the neighborhood east of Wyoming State Fair Park, right west of Interstate 15. About a block or two. another, Heath came across Pyramid of Summum, the Maryam . Mosque organization The Muslim Association of Utah of Bosniaks, the Temple of the Three Jewels and Our Lady of Guadeloupe . Catholic Church.

“I will constantly come across interesting things to see,” Heath said. “It’s just one example of diversity in the west.”

Airport run

Can run more around Salt Lake City International Airport than you can imagine: Can run between the terminal in the north of the airport, even though Heath’s favorite airport-related race is farmland and swamp to the northeast, where he sees the jack rabbit and enjoys seeing the plane.

But Heath’s last ride of the entire SLC tour on December 13 was a sketchy one: Airport officials recommend people use it. Biking trail at the airport. If you want to bike or walk to the airport, they recommend turning north onto 3700 West, although the pedestrian entrance to the airport was recently locked due to construction and now requires a with badge – $15 for anyone to buy.

However, Heath, once a finisher, also runs on the shoulder of the Terminal Drive airport detour – the road that cars use to enter departure and arrival airports. Airport officials strongly oppose that idea, telling The Tribune: “It’s not safe to run on that road and we wouldn’t encourage it.” Heath said he passed two patrol cars in the station driveway but was never stopped during his journey.

Other random encounters:

During the run of the entire city, Heath has had a number of other interesting developments:

• He witnessed a car accident near the University of Utah. It’s a relatively small rear, he said.

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

• In April, Heath attempted to run in the streets around the Veterans Affairs medical center but was unable to because the entire area was fenced off as a precaution against the coronavirus. He’s back area in december, when the lockdown is lifted, to complete that part of the run.

• Heath worries that at some point, he’ll get into a rough fight with someone’s dog. But only one dog has ever chased him – a chihuahua, and only for a short time. “It was one of those other irrational fears I had that turned out to be unrelenting,” says Heath. For more natural wildlife, he encountered a fox near the fields of the Athletics Complex in the northwest region, and several deer in the Red Butte area.

Lessons Learned

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

“They added these nice green intermediaries, like in 1200 East leading up to [U.],” said Heath. “Why don’t they do it for the big streets in the west? That would be very nice. He also points to the absurdity of some of Salt Lake City’s wide streets, like 700 South, with few stop lights and very little traffic — again, medians can improve visual appeal. view of the street, which is in need of repair.

But Heath commended Mendenhall in one important respect: improving western foliage. Heath reportedly ran for four-tenths of a mile without seeing a tree planted in a stretch of city-owned parkland on some of the roads – it would be unusual to see that on the east side. Mendenhall, in April, come up with her plan plant at least 1,000 trees in the west. Heath would agree with Mendenhall, who reported a “staggering inequality” between west and east in terms of trees.

Apart from the trees, and the intermediate regions, Heath was not impressed by the differences between the communities, but by their similarities.

“People make all this difference to neighborhoods. “Oh, they live in Federal Heights, or, oh, I live in Sugar House, or whatever,” Heath scoffed. “But when you see the whole city, you recognize and appreciate the commonalities.”

“When I started, it was Christmas lights. Then you see it turn to all political signs. And then those people come through, and you’ll have the American flag for July 4th, or the Pride flag. Then there were the Halloween decorations, and those were all over the neighborhood. Everyone has children playing in the fountain. There are dogs barking on every street corner.

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

Andy Larsen is a data columnist. He was also one of The Salt Lake Tribune’s Utah Jazz beat writers. You can contact him at The Story of a Man Running Every Street in Salt Lake City in 2020

Yasmin Harisha

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