Vail Valley locals conquer New York City Marathon |

Vail Valley locals conquer New York City Marathon

Runners cross the Verrazano Narrows Bridge at the start of the ING New York City Marathon Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009 in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – On Sunday, Vail firefighter Ryan Sutter ran 26.2 miles. On Monday, he couldn’t do very much at all, which was understandable.

“I am excruciatingly sore right now,” said Sutter, an Avon resident. “If I drop my wallet, I might as well leave it on the ground. It would be embarrassing to try to pick it up.”

Sutter aimed to run the New York City Marathon in three and a half hours, and he beat his mark by a few minutes.

“I had a pretty decent first half, and I just tried to hang on in the second half and get there in time,” he said.

Sutter teamed with 30 runners to raise money for Grassroots Soccer, a charity that aims to fight HIV/AIDS. He was one of at least a dozen locals who finished the race Sunday.

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Robyn Bryant’s New York City Marathon run came on the heels of her participation in another iconic race – the Boston Marathon this spring. In New York, the Eagle resident enjoyed the crowds of spectators cheering her along the whole way, as well as perfect running weather – cool temperatures and overcast skies.

“It was quite an experience,” said Bryant, who is a librarian at the Eagle Public Library.

The New York race marked her fourth marathon in 13 months. Besides New York and Boston, she has recently run marathons in St. George, Utah, and Las Vegas.

Manhattan native Rachel Packer, who lives in Vail, said it was a thrill to run through the streets of all five boroughs, cheered on by people of so many ethnicities and cultures.

“It felt like just one big, huge community experience,” Packer said. “Everybody was cheering you on and supporting you.”

Packer, who is director of public relations and marketing for the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, had family member strategically placed at miles 18, 19 and 20 to encourage her. Luckily, for Packer, the so-called “wall” that marathoners tend to hit around that point never came.

As part of her marathon run, Packer raised $3,300 the Hole in the Wall Gang, a nonprofit that sends children with serious illnesses to summer camps.

Longtime local attorney John Dunn said one of the most memorable parts of the race was running through a street in Brooklyn where both a church choir and a high-school band performed to cheer on racers. He ran the race with his son and daughter-in-law.

Dunn also ran for a good cause, raising $7,000 for the Eagle Valley Land Trust.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

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