Today the sixth edition of the TransRockies Run began its six day march to Beaver Creek from beautiful Buena Vista, Colorado. The runners lined up under the TransRockies Run arch in the quaint neighborhood of South Main in Buena Vista. Under blue skies, our Trail Striders hit the trails at 8:30 AM sharp.
For most, the TransRockies Run isn’t just a race. It’s a celebration of trail running and the outdoors and an opportunity to experience extraordinary places that most will never see. With running partners from around the world, this ‘race’ is not only about pushing your limits, but making friendships that will stand the test of time. When the gun went off this morning, three hundred and sixty new friends took to the trails of Colorado to test their minds and bodies and ‘Find out what’s inside…outside’.
Every year, Stage 1 provides our Trail Striders with the opportunity to gauge their fitness and see how their bodies will handle the elevation. Runners are briefed by medical crew the day before the event and cautioned to take this stage easy and hydrate properly. Most have no problems. Others end up bent over gasping for air. Only a few hundred yards after the start, and after crossing Arkansas River, the runners began a 7 mile climb, with 1500 feet of elevation gain, to checkpoint one
According to our runners, aside from the spectacular surroundings, one of the best things about Stage 1 is that reaching Checkpoint 1 means a full three fifths of the climbing for the day is done. In addition, a rewarding 1000 foot descent into Checkpoint 2 follows. This offers a chance to open up the lungs and chat with fellow runners like Lisa Mitchell from Vancouver, who just began running in February of this year, and Chris Cavagnaro from New York. Chris is part of a 13 person contingent representing Travlete.com. This hardy group spent many long winter hours trying to replicate the climbing and distance they would experience in Colorado. No easy task when you live in New York City.
Stage 1 has typically been the hottest of all 6 stages. Temperatures in the mid 80s have been the norm and, with little to no shade on course, runners have felt the need to hydrate early and often. Recent cooling patterns, and a start temperature of 46 degrees, gave hope that today would be ideal for running. However, by late morning, temperatures had climbed to the mid 70s and would top out at 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the elite runners in the field, the heat is generally not an issue. They tend to cover the course in exceptionally fast times, leaving themselves less exposed to the elements. The RUN6 teams, completing all six days of the event, would use this first day to test their competition and see who came ready to race. 2012 Open Men`s defending champs Rob Krar and Michael Smith, of team Run Flagstaff, would cross the line first in 2:27:03. Melanie Bos and Stacey Cleveland, of team The North Face Ladies, would take the Open Ladies win by a narrow 26 seconds in 3:03:12. A time of 3:25:32 earned first place honors for Rachel and Steve Ramirez in the Open Mixed Division.
The 80+ RUN6 division sees teams with combined ages of 80 or greater do battle. Marcus Biehl and Stefan Fromme of team Gore Running recorded the fastest Men’s team time of the day in 2:36:29 to take the win. Cameron Widoff and Kerrie Wlad, team Will Race for Cookies, were well fueled by Erin Baker’s Breakfast Cookies and won the mixed division in 2:53:51. Two InknBurn Badass Mommas, Skye Coclough and Ann Ongena, placed first among the ladies in 3:40:40.
A category new to the TransRockies Run RUN6 this year is the solo division. In addition to the six day runners, the solo RUN3 event takes place in tandem with the RUN6. These runners will take on stages 1 through 3. Stage 1 RUN6 victory congratulations go out to Mike Chandler (Open Men) and Sara Wagner (Open Women) and to RUN3 winners Fujio Miyachi (Open Men) and Amy Gordon (Open Women).
Stage one is down and only 5 to go! Stage 2, Vicksburg to Twin Lakes, has the runners traversing 13.3 miles over 12,540 foot Hope Pass. Shorter distance but significantly more elevation gain than Stage 1, this stage will challenge the lungs but reward the athletes with breathtaking views.