39th annual Grin & Bear It this weekend

Running, French toast, beer, what else is there?

[  by Than Acuff  ]

This Saturday, July 16, as many as 150 people will be lining up outside of the Crested Butte Nordic Center bright and early to run. Some will run 15-kilometers, more will run 25-kilometers and one will even swim, in the annual Grin & Bear It trail run.

This event has gone from a local, kook event to a mainstay on the trail running circuit for both locals and visitors alike. And this year’s event will be the biggest ever with just 12 spots left of the 150 allowed.

The courses are pretty simple, but not easy.

The 25-kilometer race, first run as part of the Grin & Bear It in 2020, starts at 8 a.m. and takes runners from the Crested Butte Nordic Center out Journey’s End Road bound eventually for the Baxter Gulch trail. They will then climb all the way up that, turn right onto the Carbon Creek trail and then turn right to run straight down the Green Lake trail also finishing back at the Crested Butte Nordic Center.

The 15-kilometer race starts at 9 a.m. and takes runners from the Crested Butte Nordic Center straight up the Green Lake trail to the shores of Green Lake, before turning around and running straight back down finishing back at the Crested Butte Nordic Center. 

For any heavy hitters looking to set a course record, Cam Smith and Timmy Parr share the 15-kilometer course record time of 1:03:12 set in 2020. Given 2020 was a “virtual” race format, Parr was able to double down and run the 25-kilometer course as well setting the course record time of 1:59:16.

Every participant in either event will receive a collapsable commemorative cup to keep the Grin & Bear It a cupless event in step with sustainability. Once finished, everyone will be treated to French toast and plenty of beer and other non-alcoholic refreshments. Prizes will be doled out to random finishers and the “awkward load” prize of $100 cash will go to first person to jump into the lake, swim out to grab the “awkward load,” and then carry it back down the Green Lake Trail to the finish line. Registration and specific course details can be found online at cbnordic.org. 

While the event is filling up, don’t be dissuaded as some runners from out of town, and in the valley, tend to not show up. So, if online registration appears full, come by the Nordic Center during the bib pick up at 7 a.m. Saturday morning with cash in hand and organizers may have a spot for you.

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