Runners of all sorts bound for Outward Bound Relay |

Runners of all sorts bound for Outward Bound Relay

SUMMIT COUNTY – A 24-hour, 170-mile relay run over four major mountain passes is not something many 75-year-olds would consider participating in, but for Tom Andersen, it’s old hat.

Andersen, who lives in Nederland, will be doing his fourth Colorado Outward Bound Relay Sept. 20-21.

The event, which will be the fifth of its kind, begins in Idaho Springs and ends in Glenwood Springs. Teams of five or 10 runners split legs under a full moon. The course runs on the frontage road between Idaho Springs and Georgetown, up and over Guanella Pass, along the Colorado Trail over Kenosha Pass and Georgia Pass, through the Swan River Valley, along the bike path from Frisco to Vail, through Dowd Junction and Eagle, wrapping up in Glenwood through Glenwood Canyon.

“We’re already up by more than a third of the teams we had last year, and we’re thrilled,” said Julia Wieck, of Tonic Marketing, which organizes the relay. “We had 67 teams run last year, and we’re already up to 101 that have signed up this year. It’s a great event because it’s for serious and recreational runners, and it’s a big team effort, which is what Outward Bound is all about.”

For five-member teams, each person runs about a 35-mile leg once during the 24-hour period. For 10-member teams, each runner takes on a 5-6-mile leg, three times in 24 hours.

“The fatigue factor can set in, the deprivation of sleep can slow you down,” said Andersen, who, at 75, runs at least 5 miles three to four times a week. “The camaraderie of five men and five women running over a 24-hour period and supporting each other is a lot of fun. The first year we did it, we had one woman who was pregnant, and the next year, she and another woman were nursing mothers. So, you can get real different groups. We try and sleep as much as possible, but it’s just a really nice time, and you do feel really accomplished at the end.”

Andersen usually runs the same legs of the relay, and opts for the tougher ones, including the stretch up Kenosha Pass. For those who are new to the relay, however, the tough legs are often designated to the team members with the toughest legs.

“We gave the three hard legs to the best runners,” said Shannon Galpin, of the Vail Athletic Club, which compiled a team of staff and club members for this year’s relay. “One guy on our team just ran the Leadville 100. He said, “Can I have the the hardest one?’, and the rest of us were like, “Yeah, take it.’ It will be interesting to see how it works. This is our first year together. Nobody seems to need any help in the running department. We’ll just have to make sure everyone eats and rests.”

We’re going to bring a bike along to make sure everyone has a way to stretch their legs and not stiffen up during the breaks. I like the relay side of it. I think it will be very social. We were talking to racers who have done the relay in previous years, and they say that everyone in the event just bonds wonderfully.”

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