350 runners descending on Red Cliff
EAGLE COUNTY — Today is probably the biggest day on Red Cliff’s event calendar in 2017, as more than 350 runners will descend on the small town.
The TransRockies run is underway, attracting runners from all around the globe to our area in a 120-mile competition that started in Buena Vista on Tuesday and will end in Beaver Creek on Sunday.
Today’s Camp Hale to Red Cliff stage is the fourth of the six-stage race, and will begin at 8 a.m. at Nova Guides. All are welcome to cheer on the runners as they make their way into Red Cliff; the first finishers are expected to arrive at about 10:30 a.m. As is tradition, the public is welcome to join the athletes for fish tacos and margaritas at Mango’s, Red Cliff’s main attraction, following the completion of Stage 4. Athletes are expected to be jogging into town all day, with the final runners coming in around 4 p.m.
Wednesday’s third stage took runners from Leadville into Nova Guides at Camp Hale, the top finishers were Yoann Stuck, of Ecully, France; Moritz Auf der Heide, of Munich, Germany; and Chad Trammell, who came in from Alaska to take part in the TransRockies run.
‘NEW BEST FRIENDS’
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Following each day of competition, race organizers have been catching up with competitors to see what makes them want to challenge themselves with 15 to 30 miles of trail running each day for six days.
Colorado native Rob Sanchez said he has done the race for the last five years and said the relationships made through the event keep him coming back.
“On day 0 there are 300-plus strangers wandering around registration but by day 6 you have several new best friends,” Sanchez said.
Steven Palmer, of Ontario, Canada, is taking part in his first ever TransRockies run this year. He said other endurance runners he knew had been raving about it so he wanted to give it a try.
“I am so excited to get on the trails, experiencing the beautiful scenery and enjoy the experience with like-minded people,” he said.
Palmer and the rest of the group will get a unique trail running experience indeed as Sunday’s Vail to Beaver Creek section will take runners up Vail’s North Trail and onto the Red and White Mountain trail. To get there, the will take the Buffehr Creek trail which boasts some of the most stunning aspen groves in the state.
“I am really looking forward to seeing vegetation other than pine trees,” Palmer said.
A long descent down the shaded Buck Creek trail will bring runners into Avon on Sunday before the final climb into Beaver Creek, and a short downhill to the ultimate finish line in Beaver Creek Village at the base of the mountain. The winner is expected to cross at about 11 a.m., and spectators are welcome and encouraged to cheer on the runners as they finish the 22.4 mile stage from Vail to Beaver Creek.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.