Sunday, August 03, 2008

Why Will the Grand Teton Races be Special This Year?

I can hardly believe that this month we will host the fourth edition of the Grand Teton Races in Alta, Wyoming. Presented by SMARTWOOL, and now a part of the Vasque North American Trail Tour, the GTR is always an exciting event.

It seems like just yesterday when we had the first edition of the races. What a year that was…the weather hit hard and one aid station even blew away, but our runners persevered. And so did our daughter Gabby, who had arrived to us less than a week before the Race start. She truly is a Teton baby and we couldn’t love her more. And I have to laugh when I think about the GTR 100 inaugural race winner – Bill – coming to visit us the next summer. He had the GTR race logo tattooed onto his calf. As Race Directors, we couldn’t ask for more dedication than that! Bob Gentile - if you win the 100 this year – will you do the same?

So what do we have in store or you at this year’s 2008 Grand Teton Races? So much you’ll just have to come and see…as a racer, volunteer or spectator! And bring your whole family…it is very much a family event! Here’s a sneak preview!

Date: Sunday, August 31
Time: 9:00am (we are a little casual with the start time because we like to help the kids feel ready and work through pre-race jitters!)

While many people talk about the GTR records for the 100 mile, 50 mile and Trail Marathon distances, this year – like last year – we will have Kids Races, too. It was so wonderful to watch the children race last year, each child beaming with the medal they received for participating. The kids are great and so humorous. All the volunteers had to crack up when Andy Jones-Wilkin’s son was on the fence about participating because he wasn’t sure if the race was long enough for him…sounds like someone’s Dad is rubbing off on him!

Registration for the Kids Races will be open throughout the race weekend. The cost is $5 per child and these entry fees are donated to Teton Basin Ice & Recreation, a local non-profit looking to offer an ice skating and public recreation facility in Teton Valley, Idaho We’ll also have a “bouncer” on hand for the kids to really work up a sweat.

We need you! It takes a village to pull off this race and we would appreciate your volunteer assistance very much! Specifically, we are looking for volunteers for the following shifts:
· Friday. Aug 29: 9am – 9pm (come and go when you can)
· Saturday, Aug 30 through Sunday, August 31 (6 hour shifts beginning at 6am on Saturday morning and going through until 9pm on Sunday evening.)
· September 1: 9am-noon to assist with trail clean-up and equipment shuttling.

The races run through the night and we need help and reinforcement and new energy throughout the weekend, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Last year, race clean-up went great thanks to the help of so many who stayed an extra hour after the Awards Ceremony to help clear away equipment and the like. It would be great to get that support again this year.

Attention: Are you running the 50 Mile or 100 Milers and looking to fulfill your 8 hour trail work commitment? You can satisfy this commitment by volunteering Race Weekend, but your volunteer assignment needs to be approved by me and Jay BEFORE Race Weekend. Contact me at with TRAILWORK VOLUNTEER as the Subject of your e-mail and I will work with you to determine your volunteer assignment.

If you are even considering volunteering…or you think a family member or friend may be willing to volunteer, please e-mail me at as soon as possible. The sooner we get our volunteers squared away, the more we can focus on the runners! And a BIG, HUGE thanks to the Aid Station Captains who are returning…

Augie and Steve Boyenger at the top of Fred’s, who will be ably assisted by Lori Bantekas this year!

The Evans family…rumor is that Mom Evans will be baking homemade cookies for their station

And Olga Varlamova and so many more…we love you all!!!

Jay and I always liken the Teton Race Weekend as a Family Reunion because we really consider the special members of the running community our extended family. Many of my coaching students will be competing – and some will be coming to volunteer (thank you!!! Bring your friends!!!). But I need to single out two competitors who will be participating in the Grand Teton Races for the first time:

Sister Mary Beth Lloyd: If you have been following Lisa’s 810, you’ll marvel at an incredible woman who accompanied me for my 300+ mile journey from Las Vegas, through Death Valley and up Mt Whitney…all the while wearing a black habit. Sister tirelessly looks to improve the lives of those who need help and I am so happy she will join us. Sister will be speaking on Sunday, at the Awards Ceremony, open to all! Sister will speak about Running for a Purpose, a topic near and dear to her heart.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from an incredible woman, someone who inspires me everyday to give more than I think possible and dream bigger than I think practical! Yeah, Sister Mary Beth!

We are working out the details but hope to have a second Guest Speaker on hand to present on Friday evening. If we can figure out the scheduling, details will be announced shortly. I will say this…he is wonderful and many of you have asked me about his astonishing exploits over the past few years. Hear it firsthand from this ultra running legend. Stay'll be very excited to learn who this mystery man is!

Have you seen our Race Sponsors for this year…we are so thankful and so proud to have so many sponsors who make protecting the environment a top priority.

Some fun, green facts about the Grand Teton Races you might not be aware of:

* Grand Teton Races is carbon neutral

* Grand Teton Races requires mandatory trail or volunteer work for all participants in the 100 and 50 mile events.

* Grand Teton Races is based at the Grand Targhee Resort, which has one of the strongest environmental programs in the country (bio diesel, green energy projects, recycling, etc.)

* All runners are required to carry a water bottle or hydration system to reduce the use of cups on the course

* The Race Director reuses all of the course flagging and any supplies (signs, cups, ribbons from medals, etc.) that we can from previous years

* The Race donates any unused perishable supplies to volunteers or local organizations

* The Race benefits a non-profit, the Teton Basin Ice & Recreation

GTR Store
Click HERE for the GTR Store Hours and the complete Schedule of Events for the weekend.

And consider pre-ordering...less to pack and we offer GREAT prices. Here is a list of our endurance products inventory...send an e-mail to with your order and we'll have it waiting for you during race check-in. No shipping and handling fees - the price is right! Please note that the order deadline for products is Monday, August 18.

Can’t wait to see you at the Races…and please post a comment to this Blog entry about how your training is going for the race!!! Yes, that means YOU!!!

Happy Feet!



Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

oh..and guess what? Sister Marybeth is not only going to be a guest speaker she is running the trail marathon!!!!!
Something for everyone..


TonyP said...

Both of my kids want spots in the kids race. With Augie and Olga back, it will be an extra special blast ! Augie makes reaching the top of Fred's (4 times) worth it.

See ya in about 18 days !

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to make "Fred's" my B----H! see you all soon!
michael e.
p.s. if anybody needs rides from jackson i'm going to see about getting an extra day or two off from work to shuttle people over,i'll only charge half as much as you would normally pay.$70 is roughly half the cost.let me know

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited to meet the legendary Sister Marybeth!!

Simultaneously, I am absolutely dreading Fred. Why that beast was given such a friendly, unassuming name I will never know. "Beelzebub, Dark Lord of Devoured Souls" would be so much more appropriate.

Bob - said...

Here little Freddy... come to Bobby !

Looking forward to riding one of those Black Bears up Fred's on Friday before the race...

Thanks Jay for setting that up-lol

See ya all Soon!!!!!!!!!!

OK back on the treadmill at 89% incline :-0 I think I see a spider on my ceiling.

Anonymous said...

It is going to be a blast!!!

Look forward to helping out where you need people.


Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

I personally look forward to seeing so many of you here and getting to meet your families!!!
Summer is the Tetons is one of the most amazing places to be...
Freds...we love Fred!!!
See you all very soon

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,
Wish I could be there this year:( Maybe next year....
I look forward to following the races and see how a lot of my friends are doing.
Good luck with everything and I wish you and Jay another successful event.
Love and hugs,

Olga said...

Teton races are fun and beautiful, and RD's are awesome! Can't wait to spoon-feed the runners and change their stinky socks:) Prepare to be kicked out of main AS!

Lora said...

I"m busting my quads and shins to conquer Fred!! I'll be the one whooping and hollaring all the way down!!

Anonymous said...

Freds. The mountain i swore i would never return to, not even glance at, after i finished the 100 last year, but somehow, a short while after the race, i forgot about my swears and signed back up :) I am not sure what is worse, knowing what to expect, or not knowing, hahahaaha.

Olga! So glad you will be there again, you really helped me rally thru the race last year. And of course, Lisa spoon feeding me potato soup helped too :D

Anonymous said...

It is going to be so good to see so many again this year. Lisa and Jay put on such a perfect event.

Matt Hart said...

oh man i wish i was going to be there. i'll be on my last day at the transrockies however.. thinking of you all. have great races everyone!