Friday, September 11, 2009


First appeared in the Teton Valley News...

The Fifth Annual Grand Teton Races
By Colleen Woods

This past weekend, Dreamchasers Outdoor Adventure Club hosted the Fifth Annual Grand Teton Races at the Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming. Race Directors Jay and Lisa Batchen welcomed over 150 runners from around the world, including runners from 26 of the US states, Canada, and Germany. Each of the racers competed in one of the following distances: 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), the Trail Marathon (26.2 miles), 50 miles, or 100 miles. There was also a special Kids Race that brought out thirty five kids (ages 3-12) who ran a half mile course on Sunday morning.

Two intrepid runners (Dusty Hardman of Victor, ID and Anthony Portera of White Plains, NY) each ran a cumulative distance of 76.2 miles, which they achieved by running the 50 mile race on Saturday and the Trail Marathon on Sunday.

“We love having runners from all over the world,” commented Lisa. “It is also a joy to see so many local friends participate. So many of my students from Core Class came out and competed in the various race distances. They just shined and I was so proud of each and every one of them.”

“We were blessed with another beautiful weekend here in the Tetons,” added Jay. As race directors, we need to be prepared for a variety of circumstances and it is a huge relief and great reward when it all comes together.” Jay recalled the first year of the races when snow fell. This year, the greatest challenge posed to the runners and staff was the heat, which at its height climbed towards 90 degrees on Saturday.

Fortunately, many of the runners had attended a pre-race briefing session, which informed them about the course and included a presentation by Dr. Naomi Albertson, of the Women's Health Center in Jackson. “Lisa and I have always been committed to hosting a family race. And when we can have a Medical Director at our race who is the same doctor whom we trust to treat our family, we feel like it is just another way of extending our running family,” Jay said.

“The volunteers are phenomenal,” said Lisa. “Each year, more people come out and spend Labor Day weekend helping us host a world-class event. Their generosity seems to know no bounds. They stay up with us through the night and they make each runner feel unique and appreciated as he or she takes on a very challenging athletic feat. I can’t say enough about how much we appreciate all of the volunteer’s contributions.”

A portion of the race entry fees benefit Teton Basin Ice & Recreation and Teton Valley Trails & Pathways. The presenting sponsor of the race weekend – Vasque Project – generously matches all of the race donations to these two non-profit organizations.

To run any of the Grand Teton race distances requires a combination of committed training and courage. Read on to learn what three local Teton Valley residents did to earn their finisher’s medals at this weekend’s races.

What it takes to run the Grand Teton Races

TREVOR GARNER (Victor, Idaho)
Race Distance: 100 Miles

Garner, a personal banker at the Driggs branch of Wells Fargo, is no stranger to the Grand Teton 100 Mile Race. In 2008, he completed 82 miles of this race and last weekend he returned with a motive he summarized in one word: “Redemption”.

Trevor’s goal for this year’s race was to complete 100 miles and earn the coveted belt buckle that is presented to all who complete this distance. He accomplished his mission by covering 100 miles in 25 hours and 14 minutes. This exceptional athletic performance earned Trevor a buckle, as well as the second place male finisher award.

Garner finds many people who share his running passion in Teton Valley. He is quick to note that if it weren’t for the support and camaraderie of all the local runners in this Valley, he would not do so many running races, if any at all. “Their encouragement has changed my life,” he said.

This year, the Grand Teton Races was a family affair for Trevor. Both his parents competed in the Grand Teton Trail Marathon. After completing his 100 mile race, Trevor stayed on at the race’s main aid station and cheered on his parents as they raced through the station, eager to earn their own medals.

Garner wanted to thank Lisa and Jay Batchen for putting on a great event every summer. He said he feels a personal connection to the race because of the friendship he shares with the Batchen’s and many of the course volunteers!

HEATHER WILCOX (Driggs, Idaho)
Race Distance: 50 Miles

Wilcox’s running has come a long way in a short while. She began training for running events earlier this year, and she has already completed 100 kilometers (62 miles) at a race called the Florida Keys 100 back in April. This experience laid a foundation from which Heather continues to build her endurance running dreams.

While the belt buckle awarded to 100 mile finishers eluded Wilcox at the Florida race (primarily due to the extremely painful foot blisters), Heather used the experience to thoughtfully anticipate and prepare for the challenges of the Grand Teton Races.

Her work paid off when she handily finished last weekend’s Grand Teton 50 mile race in a time of 13 hours and 42 minutes. This finishing time earned Wilcox the first female finisher award in her age group (30-39 year olds).

Wilcox also acknowledges her good fortune to have trained on the race course and to have done some Teton trail favorites as part of her training, including the beautiful Table Mountain hike. Wilcox worked with Judy Baumgardner of High Peaks Physical Therapy and Lisa Smith-Batchen, of Dreamchasers Outdoor Adventure Club, to ensure that she had her best race possible.

Wilcox laughed when asked how long she had been training for the Grand Teton 50 Miler in particular. She explained that she had signed up for the Trail Marathon originally, and only ten days before the race changed her entry to the 50 mile distance.

Some of Wilcox’s initial hesitation came from the fact that the Grand Teton Races take place on trails, which presented a whole new beast for her, as she has primarily trained as a road runner. Trail running requires a lot of concentration as the ground shifts and the terrain changes. Wilcox explained, “With trail running, I have learned that every step is different from the one before”.

Wilcox’s athleticism seems to run in the family. As Heather was running the race on Saturday, her daughters Ashley and Cheyenne were competing at the Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot and each one top awards in their respective equestrian events.

MISSY COLYER (Driggs, Idaho)
Race Distance: 10 Kilometers (6.2 miles)

Colyer’s Grand Teton Races 10k finish this past weekend marked her longest official race distance and she cherished the challenge, having friends (including her business partner, Kelly Chircop, with whom she runs Horseshoe Accounting in Driggs, Idaho) and family (including her husband, Ryan Colyer) at the race to cheer her on to the finish line.

Missy began running in earnest three years ago, inspired by her Mom, Louanne Barnes of Washington. At the time, Louanne was training to run a one mile race, despite dealing with the challenges of a breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent chemotherapy treatments. Louanne completed the one mile race and went on to complete the Race for the Cure 5 kilometer race in Seattle with Missy. Missy recalls watching her Mom enter a special finish line area at the race set aside for breast cancer survivors and watching with pride as the Governor placed a finisher’s medal around her Mom’s neck. Missy is happy to share that her Mom is in great health these days and supports Missy in her running pursuits.

Missy’s training efforts paid off when she finished the race on Saturday with a time of 1 hour and 19 minutes. The course held some surprises for Missy, including a big climb at the very end of the race, a course addition that Jay Batchen threw in with a certain amount of relish.

“Each of the distances at the Grand Teton Races has its own demons,” said Jay. “For those running the 10k, we offered a hill that may have left more that one of the runners cursing me. But everyone did great and finished the race with smiles.”

No comments: