“We’ll toss anybody in that shows up”
by Than Acuff
There are local events, ones of the athletic nature, that should be on everyone’s list. Of course there’s the Al Johnson race in the winter, the Gothic Mountain Tour and, if you can handle it, the Grand Traverse.
Springtime is when everyone and their mother, brother, father and sister should line up for the CB3P. The summer offers three such events. First there’s the Chainless World Championships. Then toss in the Gothic to Crested Butte 1/3 Marathon on the Fourth of July. And last, but certainly not least, the Grin and Bear It.
The 36th Annual Grin and Bear It is Saturday, July 13 starting at 9 a.m. and is a time-honored tradition that can test the legs and lungs of anyone looking to run the entire thing. Or, for the not so fit, a great way to hike at a faster pace than usual from town to Green Lake at the base of Axtell Mountain before turning around and coming back to Crested Butte.
The course is a grueling 9.3 miles from the town of Crested Butte to Green Lake and back with 1,700 vertical feet of elevation gain and loss. Participants will start at the Crested Butte Nordic Center and climb up to Journey’s End Road on the Bench where they will then turn onto the Green Lake Trail. The 4.5-mile trail winds its way up and over Gibson’s Ridge, across Trapper’s Road, ending at Green Lake. Runners then return on the same route, finishing at the Nordic Center.
As of press time, the course does need some work though, after a copious winter.
“There’s still some wetness and downfall that may throw some wrenches into things,” says Crested Butte Nordic events director Andrew Arell. “Not sure yet if we’ll be turning people around at the Carbon trail or still go to touch the ponderosa at Green Lake. There’s currently running water and some pretty good snow banks up there. We’ll have to wait and see but we’ll make it happen.”
As for the winning times, nine-time winner Tim Parr currently has the course record of 1:04:23, which he set back in 2005. Dustin Simoens won the race last year with a time of 1:06:54 with Keri Nelson taking the women’s title, again, with a time of 1:20:45. Don’t let that scare you though as one-third of the field took between two and three and a half hours to finish the race so there’s plenty of room in the event for the regular folk too.
“That’s the great thing about the Grin and Bear It,” says Arell. “It’s as casual or as competitive as you want to make it.”
Whether you run, walk or crawl, there’s plenty of prizes to go around and upon your arrival at the finish, you’ll be treated to a French toast breakfast and post-race libations provided by Eddyline Brewing. In addition, the Grin and Bear It is the first of four events of the Eddyline Trail running race series. The series includes the Living Journeys half marathon on Saturday, July 27, the Park to Peak to Pint on Saturday, September 7 and finishes with the Camp 4 Coffee Cart to Cart race on Saturday, September 21.
Registration for the race is available online at cbnordic.org and proceeds go to support the Junior Nordic Team. Even if you leave it until the morning of the event, you can still get in on the fun.
“We will be prepared to register walk-ups the morning of, too,” says Arell. “We’ll toss anybody in that shows up.”