Monday, May 17, 2010

Sky Mesa Pass Trail Marathon

I guess there are two Gateway, Colorado's?  But the setting for this blog takes place in the one just an hour south of Grand Junction, Colorado along the Dolores River.  From Gateway Canyons Resort one can look in every direction and see the Moab-like walls of the stunning Unaweep Canyon:  An awesome setting for a race!

Race Headquarters:  Looking out from within the Gateway Canyons Resort.  Pretty sweet, huh?

Gateway, Colorado and the race's finish line.

This marked the third year of the Sky Mesa Pass Trail Marathon:  a very small, low-key event put on by the staff of the Gateway Canyon Resort Adventure Center.  I have no idea how they came upon this course, but it proved to be an excellent race.  There was a little of everything on this point-to-point course:  After seven relatively fast dirt road miles through Salt Creek Canyon and Sinbad Valley, runners were thrust upon the old, rutted, boulder-strewn ATV "road" that ascended three miles to the Manti-LaSal National Forest mesa top.  Once on top, the track weaved through aspen-pine groves, alpine ponds and marshy meadows.  The final eight miles descended steeply from 8,500' though John Brown Canyon on well-maintained dirt roads to the finish line at the resort's front door at near 4,000'.  There were two unmanned aid-stations and three aid-stations staffed by the always cheerful Adventure Center employees.  Basically, not an easy race!

Typical course setting on the mesa top (miles 12 to 19).

A runner heads through the aspens into an aid station on the mesa top.

The author heads down the fence line, followed closely by the aid station crew (who are taking the photos) on their ATV.

Jeremy Duncan (fresh off his second place finish at the Free State 100K) heads down the "fence-line."  He and I exchanged leads all morning.

Criss-crossing marshy meadows.

My favorite photo.

Heading out of an aid station on top.

Jump the log or run through the puddle?  Shoes laden with mud.

Looking back along the final mile and the mouth of John Brown Canyon.

From hence we came: Way up yonder.

Sky Mesa Pass Trail Marathon Final Results:

Top 3 Male Finishers
Ian Torrence - Flagstaff, AZ - 3:18:30 (New Course Record!)
Jeremy Duncan - Carbondale, Co - 3:18:58
Kerry Matticks - Castle Rock, Co - 3:37:46

Top 3 Female Finishers
Ashley Arnold - Carbondale, Co - 3:46:32
Elenor Fish - Carbondale, Co - 3:57:59
Jen Burns - Carbondale, Co - 4:14:38

Results In Order by Bib Number (not place) 
3. Steve Bremner- Manitou Springs, Co- 3:39:55
4.Rebekka Hannula - Manitou Springs, Co - 4:48:13
5. Ian Torrence - Flagstaff, Az - 3:18:30
6. Jenna Gustman - Pacific Palisades, Ca - 4:27:29
7. Kerry Matticks - Castle Rock , Co - 3:37:46
8. Brad Anderson -Boulder, Co -4:02:32
9. Deanna Adami - Littleton, Co -4:53:20
10. Waldo Burnham - Salt Lake City, Ut- 5:47:22
11. Lori Olsen - Logan, Ut - 4:53:20
12. Joseph Robertson- Prescott, Az - 5:34:00
13. Christina Roberston -Prescott, Az- 5:23:53
14. Cory Bringhurst - Orem, Ut- 3:45:19
15. Bill Moyle - Long Tree, Co - 6:59:46
16. Thane Kraut - Lone Tree, Co - 4:29:57
17. Carl Burggeman - Carbondale, Co - 5:30:40
18. Ashley Arnold - Carbondale, Co -3:46:32
19. Jeremy Duncan - Carbondale, Co- 3:18:58
20. Jen Burns - Carbondale, Co - 4:14:38
21. Ross Kuntz - Salida, Co - 3:43:22
22. Ashley Kuntz - Salida, Co -5:12:04
23. Mark Kahler - Cedaridge, Co- 5:01:03
24. Sandra Harting - Leadville, Co - 6:26:20
25. Elenor Fish - Carbondale, Co- 3:57:59
26. Joe Britton - Boulder, Co - 4:00:36
27. Kirk Nichols - Boulder, Co -4:08:47
28. Will Keneld - Boulder, Co - 4:29:26
29. John Novak - Denver, Co -4:53:42
30. Lisa Moot - Montrose, -5:01:13
31. Joanne Sanders - Montrose, Co - 5:01:13
32. Jeremy Bradford - Denver, Co - 3:47:26
33. John Constan - Grand Junction, Co -4:03:22
34. Sarah Shradder- Grand Jucntion, Co -4:42:50 

Race Director Nick Kroger works the finish line.

Second place finisher Jeremy Duncan (3:18:58) and the women's winner Ashley Arnold (3:46:32 and winner of this year's Collegiate Peaks 50 Mile).

Congratulations to all finishers!

Postscript:  A toot of the horn:  Though a small event and run on "trails" this was my first marathon win.  It was the only standard distance victory I lacked in my primordial running resume (got everything else from the mile to 100 miles).  I appreciate Jeremy's sportsmanship while I sprinted away from him over the last mile to take the honor.  The bucket list continues to shrink.

Now For Your Moment of Zen...
Post-race Doggy Dancing! (Why is that black and white dog not on a leash?)


Brian said...

That race looks amazing! I can't wait to get up into the aspens on Humphrys!

saschasdad said...

First marathon W - that's awesome, Ian! Sweet little race.

AJW said...

Outstanding! You are certainly fit. And, pretty amazing that you have a win from every distance from 1 to 100 miles. I still am in awe of what you did in 1999 and how you're still going strong.

crowther said...

Congrats! Upon reading this post, I realized that I have the "resume" issue that you just resolved, i.e., wins at every distance but the marathon. I guess I should work on that.... Well, maybe next year....

Scott Keeps Running said...

Congrats on the win -- looks like it was a battle until the end. Beautiful course.

Speedgoat Karl said...

way to kill it man! nice run!

Rennaker said...

looking a little buff there IT.
Congrats on the marathon win. Ashland still loves you.