And they’re off!
At 8:30am the gun went off for four hundred and twenty runners to charge through the TransRockies Run arch and streets of Buena Vista. The morning pleased everyone with a clear blue sunny day and refreshing mid-40 temperatures, making it a perfect start to the six-day adventure. Supporters lined the streets cheering on the runners as they left town beginning their journey through the Colorado Rockies. The TransRockies Run is known to be a celebration of trail running and the outdoors, and that was in full sight when looking at everyone’s smiling faces and excitement.
|In the chute and ready to run!|
To prep for stage 1 (Buena Vista to Railroad Bridge, 20.8 miles), participants listened to a race briefing last night by the medical crew on how to deal with heat, altitude, blisters, you name it. The unique aspect about Colorado and the TransRockies Run is that it brings it all from running at 12,000 feet elevation in chilly air, to running in the 90 degree desert. Today, runners faced the heat.
After running down Main Street, runners crossed over the Arkansas River and then began to take on a seven-mile climb with 1,500 vertical gain. After that quad killer, checkpoint one was in sight ready serve participants with Gatorade Endurance, water, and a variety of snacks thanks to PepsiCo. After fueling up, runners were happy to hear that the route to Checkpoint 2 followed a 1,000 foot descent, surrounded by mountainous landscape and open skies.
|The Tiki Bar is open! Get your Gatorade here!|
By late morning temperatures began to peak, reaching mid-80s by noon. It’s noted that stage 1 is typically the hottest of all the days so runners were prepped with the need to hydrate early and apply sunscreen often. During the last four miles, runners were feeling the heat as they ran down the 4-mile stretch on an exposed dirt road. Yet as they rounded the corner into Railroad Bridge and saw the TransRockies Run arch, the heat was less of their concern seeing the finish and feeling their accomplishment.
|Hot? Not for these Samurai Warriors.|
By 10:30am the finish Arch was set, food and drinks ready, and music blasting. The TransRockies crew and spectators were now anxiously awaiting the first runners to cheer in. It was expected that the first finishers would be rolling in around 11am and that’s exactly what happened. Jonathan Toker ran through the finish line with a time of 2:34:22 winning the RUN6 Open Men. Along with being a longtime participant and fan of the TransRockies, Toker is also the President of SaltStick, one of this year’s sponsors.
Roughly 30 minutes after Jonathan finished, the first women finisher was in sight charging down into the finish. Katie Arnold of Santa Fe, New Mexico crossed the finish line in 3:02:10 as the first women and winner of RUN3 Open Women. Becky’s top speed finish demonstrated her toughness and charm as she finished in nothing but sweat and smiles.
Finishers continued to stroll in the rest of the morning and afternoon and the cheering only got louder. The people of TransRockies Run make this race so special with the amount of support and care they give to every runner out there. Doesn’t matter what place or what time, every runner’s name is called on the speaker to congratulate them on a successful finish.
|Y’all deserve a high five!|
After passing through the finish, runners were greeted with a spread of fruits and sandwiches, along with Gatorade Endurance recovery fuel. One of the best parts of this finish was taking in a dip in the Arkansas River. Runners hung out by the water discussing the race and making new friends, all while taking a deserving leg soak. After cooling down, all the runners were transported to Arrowhead Point campground where massages, showers and naps awaited them before heading to dinner and the awards ceremony. The campground is where the TransRockies Run nickname “summer camps for adults” comes to life. It’s a time to relax and chat over a few beers, listen to live music, and get to know all 420 runners sharing the same experience.
|Chilling out in the chilly Arkansas River..|
Stage 1 is complete and runners are resting up for tomorrow’s run from Vicksburg to Twin Lakes, a 13.3 mile route passing over 12,540 foot Hope Pass. It’s a shorter day tomorrow but runners will be faced with chilly temps and high air, yet the panoramic view from Hope Pass will reward the runners before their descent down to the finish.
Best wishes to all the runners tomorrow and have a great time out there! Thanks to all volunteers and crew members for a successful and fun Stage 1!