The 2010 Sage Burner 50km had a similar result to the two previous runnings of this classic event. Yup, Tim Parr won. Tim just keeps cranking it out; good days, bad days; competition, no competition. No matter the circumstance, Parr wins this race. He is in a ‘groove’ again as he is running very well. I congratulate him on his great successes. If there is anyone to finish behind, Tim Parr is as good a guy as I’d pick. Of course, I must take some credit for his Sage Burner success; I mean, we log hundreds of miles together every season. (Just kidding).
So, yes, Tim Parr won this beautiful Gunnison, CO event for the 3rd year in a row on the epic trails of the Hartman Rocks’ Recreation area with a time of 4 hours 23 minutes. I placed second with a time of 4 hours 32 minutes, and Zeke Teirnan of Aspen made his comeback to ultras with a solid 3rd place result. All results can be found here. This was a great race with warm temperatures, ridiculously beautiful views, and a huge turnout. (Over 230 total competitors in the 25km and the 50km combined).
Here is just a brief recap of the event. The 25km and 50km racers start together for the first 5 miles and then the 50km peels off for more terrain which means the first 5 miles is marginally crowded on technical terrain, helping to set the tone for the event: high energy. Parr took the lead from the gun and ran with the top 25km racers until he peeled off. I think I was pretty much in 2nd place (in the 50km) after the first mile. Once the 50km course peels off I knew I was in second place, which was good news. The bad news? Only 5 miles into the race and Parr was already out of sight. Brutal. I kept plugging through this amazing and undulating ‘Sea of Sage’ landscape peppered with incredible rock formations. Staggering. I love this course and am fortunate to call it my home training ground. Parr never had to worry about me the entire race as he grew his lead to 8 minutes at halfway. I remembered being in a similar position though back in 2008, and with that memory of almost making up a huge deficit on Parr over the second half of the course, I trudged on in 2010. ‘Skull Pass’ and ‘Out-Back’ came and went as I pushed on trying to track down Parr. No luck. I made my way around the course, up ‘Elevator’ and ‘Skyline’ and eventually to the mile 27.5 aid station. At this point, I knew Parr would take the victory; he was still not in sight. I continued to run hard not knowing who was behind me, and I crossed the line 9 minutes back (8:59 to be precise) of Parr, in a solid second place.
Tim and I had distanced ourselves over the rest of the field, with Zeke finishing in 3rd place with a time of 5 hours 00 minutes. Way to go man! It was great to see Mr. Teirnan out there running hard again. (Zeke gave me a run for my money back at the 2008 Leadville 100 where he finished a solid 3rd in his 100 mile debut). Anyway, the heat definitely took its toll on us; slower times were the story of the day in the 50km. I felt the ‘after-effects’ of pretty solid dehydration out there, and spent the rest of the weekend recovering and hydrating. As I write this post (Sunday at 7pm) my body feels mostly back to normal.
I would encourage everyone looking for a great, late spring event in Colorado to put this race on their calendar for 2011. Great vibe, tremendous volunteers, incredible course, and one heck of an experience. I am very fortunate to call Gunnison my home town; Annie and I greatly enjoy being here. As for now? Tonight, Adam St Pierre (my good friend from Boulder who is in town for the Sage Burner (finished a solid 6th)) and I are going to head out for a night-time run around Crested Butte Mountain. Adam will be my pacer for the Big Horn 100 miler in less than three weeks. He and I are trying to get used to a little night-time running on tired legs. We are looking at a 2-2.5 hour run tonight in the dark. Thanks for reading. Until next time… Live well. Train well. DC