Racing Towards Healthier Communities

February 12, 2024

Interested in supporting or participating in a race with a great cause? Each year, the Running Up For Air Series brings athletes together to celebrate a shared passion for running, promote informed discussions on air quality concerns, and support organizations working towards air quality solutions. The mission is to have healthier air for all.  

What is Running Up For Air (RUFA)?

The Up For Air Series comprises endurance events (Running Up For Air, or RUFA events) designed to enhance meaningful conversations and support organizations actively engaged in addressing air quality issues.  RUFA was born out of Jared Campbell's, @derajslc, passion for the Wasatch Mountains, love of living in Salt Lake City, and the desire for family and friends to enjoy an improved quality of life. The first RUFA event took place in 2012 on Grandeur Peak in Utah as an unofficial gathering with friends, and since then, it has been held as organized race events publicized for greater awareness.

What is the purpose of RUFA?

The proceeds from RUFA events are dedicated to selected non-profit groups striving for air quality solutions, and the race platform serves to educate participants and the public about the significance of clean air based on scientific knowledge. RUFA strives for a minimal footprint on the trails and a maximum impact on nonprofits fighting for cleaner air.

How can I participate?

Each year, RUFA events are held in Utah, Montana, Colorado, and Washington. The race weekend includes multiple races for participants to choose from, including individual, team, and three to 24-hour races.

Injinji is proud to help sponsor this year’s Malans Peak race in Ogden, Utah, organized by race director and Team Injinji Athlete Tara Warren, @runwithtara. “To me, Running Up for Air illustrates a collaboration of mountain endurance athletes, who work together to raise money and support cleaner charities in their local areas. When we’re all out there, working hard and grinding it out on the mountain together, it’s camaraderie, a bonding for a cause that is hard to put into words.”

Looking to participate but unable to attend the in-person events? Visit RUFA's donation page.  

A runner getting help from their crew during the Malan Peak race in snowy Northern Utah.A runner getting help from their crew during the Malan Peak race in snowy Northern Utah.
Polluted air trapped in a northern valley during Utah's winter inversionPolluted air trapped in a northern valley during Utah's winter inversion

Time stamped images show polluted air trapped in a northern valley during Utah's winter inversion.

All About Malans Peak 

This race takes place on February 23 and 24 on Malans Peak in Ogden, Utah, and climbs roughly 2,300 feet to the summit. This race is intentionally held in February, as it takes place during Utah’s winter inversion, the ‘season’ when Northern Utah valleys fill with polluted air. During this time, cold air accumulates within snow-covered valleys and persists for days, or even weeks. Various emissions, including those from engines, solvents, or industrial sources, pollute the air within this stagnant bowl of cold air.

Tara explains that with this race weekend, the community is trying to positively impact the air pollution issue. “The only way to get out of the gross air is to get up higher, and we do that by running UP higher for air. Rather than doing nothing about our air pollution, we are trying to do something. And we hope that something makes an impact in our current air quality and a bigger impact on what our children will inherit.”

Malans Peak’s selected charities for 2024 include Utah Clean Energy and Breathe Utah. Utah Clean Energy is committed to creating a future that ensures healthy, thriving communities for all, empowered and sustained by clean energy. Breathe Utah works to improve the air we breathe through education collaboration, and policy.

“This event goes beyond political affiliations, socioeconomic backgrounds, or other deeply rooted agendas,” Tara says. “We’re all just out here as athletes, community members, and trail lovers working hard and prepping for our next season. It’s just the goodness of people, all our friends and neighbors, who are out there using their feet as their voice to make a difference.”  

Join in the fun and support a great cause by registering here for Malans Peak 2024 race. Can't make it? RUFA is a 501c3 organization focused on improving air quality for runners everywhere by allocating resources to fund local race charities and special projects.