The third day of the GORE-TEX® TransRockies Run is often an emotional one. The RUN3 athletes can see the light at the end of the tunnel: only ONE MORE DAY. The 6 day team runners can’t allow thoughts of the finish line to creep into their minds. With four days to go, the voices in their heads would undoubtedly drive them crazy if they were to allow their thoughts to drift even 1 mile down the road. Anyone can run a marathon. It takes a true Trail Strider to manage the physical and mental challenges of a multi-day trail running race.
Lining up for the 8 AM Leadville start, the air was cool and crisp as the runner’s breath filled the air. The early stage enthusiasm, while slightly subdued, was still audible as the runners hooted and hollered heading out of town with a grand police escort. Today would be the longest stretch of trail yet with 24+ miles and 2800 feet of elevation gain through picture perfect Aspen forests, over Tennessee Pass and through historic Camp Hale.
Day 3 marks the final day of racing for the RUN3 competitors and, staying true to the theme of the previous two days, Max King and Alicia Shay would stage victories and take the overall crowns in the Open Men and Open Women divisions. Shay was all but unstoppable over the 3 days and managed yet another dominating win, by over 16 minutes, at 3:15:58. She would finish the 3 days and 58.4 miles in a combined time of 8 hours and 26 seconds, almost 47 minutes ahead of 2nd place finisher Gina Lucrezi. King captured the stage (3:08:07) and overall win in 7:19:12, 30 minutes in front of Josh Korn.
Early on in the day it was evident that the same faces were pushing their way to the front in the 6 day team event. By checkpoint one, Open Men’s leaders Rob Krar and Michael Smith of Team Run Flagstaff opened up a sizable lead over of Jorge Maravilla and Mario Mendoza of Team Salomon. That lead would balloon to 8 minutes by checkpoint 2. By the time they hit the home stretch at Nova Guides the duo would finish in 2:44:21, over 18 minutes ahead of the Salomon team. The Open Women’s team of Jenny Capel and Pam Smith of Ooh la La Sportiva seemed to have their stage racing pace dialed in with a third straight win! With an overall lead of 1 hour and 10 minutes the other ladies have their work cut out for them.
Over the years, the GORE-TEX® TransRockies Run has seen some fierce competition. This year, however, seems to be a year of dominating performances. The North Face Bendites team of Zach Violett and Stephanie Howe continued to increase their lead in the overall Open Mixed division with a 13+ minute stage 3 win. Similarly, the La Sportiva Trail Masters, Andy Ames and Bernie Boettcher rolled through the 80+ Men’s field with a 7 minute and 10 second Stage 3 win over Team Patagonia, Jeff Browning and Rod Bien, clocking a time of 3:15:18.
The Caba-nators, Jeff and Katie Caba, continue to hold the 80+ Mixed division lead firmly in their grasp. A third consecutive stage win in 3:42:25 increased their overall lead to greater than 25 minutes. The 80+ Women’s division has seen two different winners over the first two days. Today Team Titanium, Sue Lee and Missy Berkel, notched a second stage win and closed to within 3 minutes and 20 seconds of the overall leaders of Team Resilience.
The conclusion of day 3 means we say ‘so long’ to our RUN3 athletes after an amazing effort. See you next year! While the field may be slightly smaller on Day 4, with the departure of the RUN3 participants, the good times will keep on rolling. Stage 4 from Nova Guides – Camp Hale to Red Cliff promises to please with great views on top of Hornsilver Mountain and those famous fish tacos and margaritas at the legendary Mango’s Pub.