GORE-TEX™ TransRockies™ Run 2008
Stage 6: Vail to Beaver Creek
21.2 miles/4,623 feet climbing
We reach the final day of this arduous 6-day stage race at the foot of Vail Mountain in this beautiful, Euro-flavored city. It’s another brisk morning, but the sun is shining and there’s more perfect weather in store. Runners are tired, to be sure, but revved up to ride it to the end, where they’ll celebrate in full style at the finisher’s banquet tonight at Beaver Creek Resort.
Today’s run will be their final test: another 21 miles to go with 4,623 feet up one big mountain and another smaller one just before the finish. But perhaps a bit of a break with the altitude. Many of the runners and trekkers appreciate the slightly lower elevation of this run (7,420’ to 10,512’ versus the mid-11’s to mid-12’s they’ve faced throughout the week). I know I would. But for the most intense runners and trekkers of the group, yesterday’s times and today’s determined looks as they get ready for the final gun-shot start reflect some insatiable appetites to confront yet another extreme challenge.
But don’t fret. Even if you’re not a top athlete with a hunger to run a marathon a day at 12,500 feet, you could still take on the 2009 GORE-TEX™ TransRockies™ Run. Though this run is not for the faint of heart, if you have a lot of ambition, a great love of the outdoors, and the right preparation (we’ll even provide a training plan for you: 2008 training plan), fast walkers, trekkers, and runners who work up to a consistent, long-distance pace of at about 15-20 min/mile (like many of this year’s participants) would have a shot at completing our next big course. Age shouldn’t hold you back either. The runners at this year’s event span 5 decades! And, if you’re considering the challenge but don’t have a partner in mind. We host an online forum to make it easy for you to find one.
So, who will finish this year’s run? Who will finish at the top?
Sure to form, Erik Skaggs, winner of the 2007 GORE-TEX™ TransRockies™ Run, secures first place again today with his partner, Max King of the Nike/Rogue Valley Runners. They bolted through in under 3 hours (2:56:26) followed 8 minutes later by Saab Salomon and 7 more by Team Heathens.
Sure to take 1st overall in Mixed Open is super-charged GORE-TEX® La Sportiva Team, who still looked fresh coming across the finish today at 3:45:27. Team NW Nike/GORE-TEX® followed 8 minutes behind them, followed by the strong duo, Team Herbalife, at 4:06:48.
Another secure first in the run overall will go to Super Fly Beaver Creek …a double-bonus for them, winning in their own home town. They came in 25 minutes before the contending teams in their division at 3:47:44, with Team Jeta and Team Goodcap taking 2nd and 3rd with times of 4:12:44 and 4:13:22.
The 80+ Men’s category was cinched by The Snowshoe Hares who blew through the finish (3:50:02), followed by WINDSTOPPER® Typhoon, who secured a solid 2nd place title overall with a time of 3:57:51. They’ll be joined on the podium tonight by GORE-TEX® GMEAMTN, steady and unyielding in their third place standing with their 4:15:31 time.
Completing the picture of the front-runners, the powerful Vasque Ladies clutched first place for the 80+ Women’s category with an in-time of 4:45:25. Achilles Heels nabs 2nd place coming in only moments behind them and Baker’s Breakfast Cookies takes their hard-earned 3rd place standing to the podiums tonight with a run time of 4:54:59.
The runners have definitely taken a beating on this gnarly course, but the common response when asked if they are relieved to be done is …”I’m so sad it’s over.” A nod to the friendships and fun-loving atmosphere built up over the week in an experience that’s like no other (except maybe the TransAlpine Run …).
An integral part of what makes this race so special are the moments that bring the people closer together and the moments of celebration — nightly at the awards ceremonies, and beyond, to the more personal everyday (and not-so-every-day) celebrations. In one week, there have been countless new friendships formed and old ones strengthened, birthdays and anniversaries celebrated, and a brilliant proposal. The cherry on top of this pair-focused event, is the sweet ending of one couple who took at 106-mile trek down the aisle. Dressed in white running gear, Amy Baker and Ryan Flock held hands while running across the finish line together today while their friends and family (and extended new running family) waved long-stemmed white roses and popped open bottles of champagne. Their ceremony was held right on the finish line lawn where they will start their new lives together as champions of the course. A very sweet ending (and beginning) indeed.
So what happened to our good friend, Carl? After recovering yesterday, he got right back on the course and ran it through to the end today. He finished the 21-mile course in 7 hours 51 minutes and 17 seconds. And he’s thinking he just may do it all again next year. Inspiration for all of us.
There may only be three top teams in each category who will qualify as placeholders, but they all end as champions of this fierce battle across the Rocky Mountains. We hope to see them all back again next year for what is bound to be even bigger and better …with a whole new course to explore …at the 3rd annual GORE-TEX™ TransRockies™ Run. And we hope to see you there as well!
Stage 6 Results (coming soon)
Stage 6 Report by Bonnie Hockin