Dustin Johnson of Breckenridge wins Silverton Ultra Dirty 100
Johnson wins 105-mile trail run by 59 minutes
Dustin Johnson of Breckenridge won the Silverton Ultra Dirty 100 trail running race Aug. 7-8 in Silverton. It was the first 100-mile race he’s entered.
Johnson, 37, completed the 105-mile course in 27 hours, 7 minutes and 1 second, 59 minutes ahead of the nearest runner.
After he was paced to start the race by Breckenridge locals Kent Gledhill, Paul Steinweg and John Eland, Johnson took the lead at the 83-mile mark and never looked back.
The 6-foot, 155-pound runner said the slog through the final climb at the 95-mile mark was grueling, ascending to 12,700 feet before riding the adrenaline on the 10-mile downhill all the way to the finish.
Johnson said he’s worked his way up to running — and winning — endurance events after signing up for a marathon three years ago on a whim. After he enjoyed the first marathon, he transitioned to running on trails, he said, mainly just for exploration.
Last summer, during a period without races due to COVID-19, he ran the Colorado Trail across six weekends. That experience encouraged him to sign up for the Silverton event, which features 60 miles on the Colorado Trail.
Johnson worked his way up to the 105-mile distance after a few 50-mile races and his personal weekend fun runs of between 25 and 40 miles on the Colorado Trail. After he ran back-to-back days of 30 and 40 miles for 70 miles total in two days, he figured he could make it through the 105-mile run.
Johnson said he transitioned into endurance racing after a childhood of playing team sports followed by working as a backpacking guide for eight summers. He also loves various mountain sports, namely backcountry skiing.
“And (trail running) is just an efficient way to move through the mountains, which is why I got involved in these kind of distances,” he said. “There’s an adventure of, ‘What’s around the next turn?’”
After suffering a calf injury in May that forced him to drastically reduce his training mileage, Johnson’s goal was to finish in under 30 hours. He set that goal because it would mean he wouldn’t have to run into a second night.
With a focus on starting slow and steady on the 88-degree day, Johnson paced himself with his buddies to churn through the 23,000 vertical-gain course. Using the knowledge he gained from pre-running 60 miles of the course, he picked off one runner after another as his familiarity with and fitness on high-elevation trails paid off.
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