Vail HillClimb on Sunday | VailDaily.com

Vail HillClimb on Sunday

Daily Staff Writer

The VRD Teva Vail Daily HillClimb 2004 NACAC Mountain Team Championships not only has a long name, it has a long history. This year welcomes the 26th anniversary of the climb with few changes from its inception. As always, it is 7.5 miles up Vail Mountain with an elevation gain of over 2,200 feet. The race begins at the Vail Mountain Haus at 8 a.m. on the Fourth of July and finishes at Eagle’s Nest. The grueling assent will challenge even the most seasoned racer. The excitement is enhanced with the addition of the NACAC Mountain Team Championships. NACAC stands for North America Central America Caribbean as people from around the world will be here in Vail to compete. “We have people from Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Central America competing at this event,” said Mike Ortiz, VRD sports/race director. “Additionally, the race serves as a selection race for the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. The top two USATF member males and one female to finish earn automatic berths on the team. This team will compete in the World Mountain Running trophy in Italy this September. Everyone should come up to Eagle’s Nest to cheer on the finishers and then head down to the parade. It will be a phenomenal event.”This year’s climb is not only about the athleticism of the competitors but about the athletes themselves. Ortiz received a letter from a letter from Jeannie Bennett about her husband, Greg. She wrote, ” Greg has run in the HillClimb every year since we moved to Colorado in February 1988. However, this year he is an activated Army reservist serving in support of the war in Iraq and will be unable to compete in the race.” She then asked if the VRD could reserve a bib and a T-shirt for him so he could run the course upon his safe return later this year. Although the glory of crossing the finish line first would be amazing, simply crossing it defines the true heroes of this race. It’s $32 day-of registration from 6:307:45 a.m. Sunday at the Vail Mountain Haus. Please note there is no registration today. For more information, please contact the VRD Sports Department at 479-2280 or visit http://www.vailrec.com. The race is sponsored by Teva, Vail’s Mountain Haus, Steadman Hawkins, Vail Resorts, Beaver Creek Resort, and the Vail Daily.