115-mile TransRockies Run wraps up at Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

115-mile TransRockies Run wraps up at Beaver Creek

Special to the Daily

Ryan Sutter said he does races like the GoreTex TransRockies run to overcome challenges, identify with others who are in pain and suffering and achieve some personal growth along the way.

And on Sunday, as the local athlete, celebrity and firefighter made it to Beaver Creek and crossed the finish line of the 115-mile race, there was no question he had overcome challenges and suffered as a result.

But the growth was there, too, in more ways than one, as Sutter’s knee was swollen to the point where it was hindering his performance.

“I feel like I did get a small taste of what it must be like for (those suffering with cancer), where you’re a strong person, but you are confronting cancer and there’s not much you can do about it but continue to move forward and push through it,” he said. “For me, I dig deep and think about those people going through so much more, and that inspires me to keep going.”

Sutter completed the race, his second 100-plus-mile challenge in the past nine days, in an effort to support First Descents and GrassRoots Soccer. He was joined by fellow Vail firefighter Johnny Lofaro, who also was doing the race on behalf of those charities.

“When I do things like make a commitment to organizations like GrassRoots Soccer or First Descents, it’s like an epoxy that ensures I’m not going to quit,” he said.

Sutter says he tries to inspire others to give more of themselves whenever possible. Follow his efforts at ryansutter.com.

“The intent of these events is not only to push my own personal limits but, most importantly, to insure that the sources of my inspiration continue to thrive and better the world,” he writes on the site. “Please check out both organizations and, if so compelled, make a donation to my Crowdrise donation page.”

His recent 215 miles in nine days challenge began with the Leadville Trail 100 on Aug. 11, where he finished 119 of 1336.

He said in that race, he ran into problems right from the start when his back wheel fell off early on.

“In the past when something like that would happen, I would freak out and peddle as fast as I could until I blew out,” he said. “Now, to me, the bigger thing is to overcome and still find the finish line somehow.”

In the GoreTex TransRockies Run, he said the problems were more physical than mechanical.

“Three of my toenails are about to fall off, I’ve got blisters, and my knee feels like somebody is hitting my tibia with a ballpeen hammer every time I take a step,” he said on Sunday after finishing the race.

The TransRockies Run is a team challenge, composed of six stages beginning in Buena Vista and ending in Beaver Creek, with athletes forming pairs and attacking the course together.

“Vail is very supportive and helpful for the race,” said Aaron McConnell, TransRockies race director. “The trails are beautiful, and the runners enjoy the town.”

Winning team leader Mike Smith, who was joined by teammate Robert Krar, said he was especially excited to cross the finish line in the lead because the competition was strong this year.

“It’s a tough race, the competition was strong,” he said after finishing on Sunday. “Stage races like this one are so tough because you have to break down each day and try to quickly rebuild; the hardest part is rising up each day and getting the body and mind ready to go again.”

Despite saying the competition was strong, Smith and Krar crossed the finish line a full 20 minutes ahead of the second team.

“The Vail area is such a beautiful area to run in the summer,” said Smith, who lives in Flagstaff, on Sunday. “I’m so happy to finish the race here in such a positive and active community.”

For complete race results, visit transrockies-run.com.

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