Tiga Berry Picker takes runners up Vail Mountain | VailDaily.com

Tiga Berry Picker takes runners up Vail Mountain

Ian Cropp

VAIL – Get ready to climb. The Teva Tiga Berry Picker, the fourth event of the Teva Vail Mountain Trail Running Series, will take racers up Vail Mountain Sunday.Just like last year, runners can take the 5 kilometer route, or the more than 10 kilometer route.While the 5K race may only be half the distance of the 10K, it packs quite the elevation gain.”You’re climbing 2,000 vertical feet,” said race director Joel Rabinowitz.Some racers may choose to cut their route short at the 5K mark, but Rabinowitz says the second half of the race isn’t quite as grueling in terms of a climb.”It’s a nice 5K,” Rabinowitz said. “It’s an accomplishment when the (runners) get to the top, and a sense of relief.”And just in case anyone who registered for the 5K wants to stick it out and do double duty, Rabinowitz said accommodations can be made.The 10K run has a total elevation gain of more than 3,000 feet across the seven mile route.”It’s a difficult race,” Rabinowitz said. “You’re running up the Berry Picker trail, so there aren’t as many switchbacks as a singletrack.”Eagle to EagleBoth races begin simultaneously at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead at 9 a.m. Water is available at the start line, and racers can drop off dry clothes that will be transported to the finish line. There are several aid stations located throughout the course with water and Gatorade.The finish line is located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola at Eagle’s Nest. Awards will be presented at the finish line, with the top three male and female overall finishers receiving gift certificates, as well as the top finishers in each of the age groups.After the awards ceremony, the runners can either take the Gondola down, or if they have any energy left, can enjoy the fruits of their earlier labors and run down the mountain.Individual race entry is $25 or $35 on race day. Runners can register at active.com, print out an entry form at http://www.vailrec.com and mail, or fax a completed entry, or stop by Vail Recreation District at 700 South Frontage Road East Runners can register and pick up their runner number for the Berry Picker events at VRD today between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.Registration is available on race morning between 7:45 and 8:45 a.m. There is free parking at the Lionshead Parking Structure.Rabinowitz has been happy with the turnout in this year’s series.”It’s been great, except for the hill climb, which is always hit or miss,” Rabinowitz said.The series finishes up Sept. 10 with the Teva Joint Worx EverGold 10K. Series awards will be presented after the race.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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