Sandy Runner Competed in World Mountain Running Championships
By Ron Bevan
Sandy - The mountains around Sandy called out to Tayte Pollman. And he answered the call. Now his passion for running along the Wasatch has helped him earn a spot on the United States mountain running team and a trip to Wales to compete in an international event.
Pollman is a member of the junior team that was sent to Wales to compete in the middle of September. A 2015 graduate of Brighton High School, Pullman is currently attending the University of Portland in Oregon as a redshirt member of the cross country team.
“Mountain racing is a really big sport in Europe, and it is catching on here in the United States,” Paul Kirsch, team manager for the U.S. mountain running team, said. “It is different than other types of races because it is longer and consists of a wide variety of elevation changes.”
Pollman began running in the eighth grade, while attending Albion Middle School. It grew to where he loved running and began wanting more than just what cross country and track teams could offer.
“By ninth grade I was running in the mountains,” Pollman said. “We have such beautiful mountains and it was fun to run in them. I just kept progressing from there.”
Because mountain running isn’t offered as a competitive sport in high school, Pollman continued to represent Brighton on the cross country and track teams. His efforts there helped him land a position on the cross country team at the University of Portland. However, because of the number of members on this year’s Portland team, Pollman is sitting out this season and will compete next year.
Although Pollman competed at Brighton in both track and cross country, he had a yearning for a more challenging style of racing.
“Even though the high school cross country courses were more than three miles, they were too short for my tastes,” Pollman said. “Shorter distances just aren’t my thing.”
So he continued training in the mountains around Sandy, finding a 10- to 13-mile run on a trail with its terrain changes was what he loved.
“Trail running is so much better than running on a level track, running around in an oval pattern,” Pollman said. “There are obstacles to avoid and changes in elevation. Both tax not only your body and endurance, but also your mind. You have to stay sharp. You have to stay focused.”
Pollman continued to look for ways to expand his love of terrain racing and found several different local mountain races to compete in. He won a 16-mile mountain race in Park City this summer, and then found out about the U.S. mountain running team.
“For our junior racers we go select members off resumes sent in because it is too hard to get junior runners to travel to different races,” Kirsch said. “We were impressed with Pollman’s resume and what he had already accomplished, so we invited him onto our team.”