Hill Climb celebrates 27th running
VAIL – Fireworks aren’t the only things going up on this Fourth of July Weekend. On Sunday, the Vail Daily Vail Hill Climb will be run for the 27th time up Vail Mountain. The second race in this summer’s Teva Trail Running Series starts at 8 a.m. in Vail Village, winding up service roads for 7.5 miles to Eagle’s Nest at 10,350 feet.The Hill Climb’s history and its prestige are partly responsible for the race’s ability to draw a large field, said Mike Ortiz of the Vail Recreation District, but undoubtedly, a sojourn in Vail on Fourth of July weekend is the best selling point.VRD organizers expect a crowd of more than 400 runners on Sunday, ranging from elite professionals to curious first-time trail runners.”It has something for everybody, I think,” Ortiz said. “What more beautiful of a place to come than Vail, Colorado, on Fourth of July weekend and run to the top of the mountain? It’s a challenge, you know, and that’s why I think a lot of the visitors do it. There’s the fact that you’ve had some unbelievable runners run that thing, guys like Matt Carpenter and Simon Gutierrez who fly up it. But, for the other people, it’s a challenge and it’s a unique way to see the mountain.”Last year’s second-place men’s finisher, Matt Levassiur, will return this year as will fifth-place finisher, Gutierrez, a veteran on the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team.
Several of last year’s top female finishers are also expected to return. VRD race organizer Nancy Hobbs, who ran her first Hill Climb last year, said the 7.5-mile climb is arguably the easiest race of the five in this year’s series, thus making it an attraction to beginner trail runners. “You think about the Hill Climb and it’s kind of the glue that binds the (series races) all together,” Hobbs said. “It’s a real challenge, but it’s something that is doable. You look up at the top of the mountain, and you think, ‘You know, I think I might be able to do that.’ You can sort of see where you are going, looking from the village.”Hobbs also has advice for those first-time racers who are on the fence about whether to sign up or not. She said every participant who was unsure of his or her ability to complete the race in years past has told her afterward that they were grateful for deciding to take the challenge.”Anybody that’s done races or has done a little bit of trail running can do this event because you can walk, jog, whatever,” Hobbs said. “The thing that is inherent in our sport is that you don’t have to go out there and bust it from the start to the finish. There’s nothing wrong with walking portions of it. Part of being on the trail is looking around to see the beauty of where you are. I always tell trail runners to stop when they’re doing that so they don’t trip over a tree or a rock, but on this particular course, the trail is so groomed and nice that you can look around a little bit. And, you’re not going very fast because you are doing an uphill grunt. That’s the bottom line.”Racers who have not registered can do so today from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. at Christy Sports in Vail for $25. You can also call the Vail Recreation District at 479-2280 or check out the Web site at http://www.vailrec.com.
Day-of-race registration Sunday morning in Vail Village costs $35.The series races following the Hill Climb are the Vail Half Marathon July 24, the Berry Picker 5K/10K on August 14 and the Teva Extremesports.com EverGold 10K September 11.Awards will be presented to overall and age group winners Sunday and there will also be raffle-prize drawings at the awards ceremony immediately afterward. Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glance: Vail Daily Vail Hill ClimbWhen and where: The race begins Sunday at 8 a.m. in Vail VillageHow to register: Racers can register for $25 and pick up their bibs at Christy Sports in Vail Village today from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. You can also call the Vail Recreation District at 479-2280 or check out the Web site at http://www.vailrec.com. Day-of-race registration Sunday morning in Vail Village costs $35.Vail, Colorado