by “Sherpa” John Lacroix (RD)
The 1st Annual Tommyknocker Ultramarathons took place on Saturday, September 6th in Woodland Park, CO. This also marked the first official race of the new Human Potential Running Series in Colorado’s Front Range.
Thirty-Seven runners took to the starting lines on race day. We sent the 100K runners out at 2:00am and the 50k runners at 8:00am on a deceiving course through the Pike National Forest. We had the original idea for the race marked out on single-track trails, but our permitting rangers requested we stay on Forest Service Roads for safety reasons. The Tommyknocker Course used a system of about 50 miles of trail for our two distances, all of which were that gnarly off-camber double track the ATV and Dirt Bikers use frequently.
At about 3:30am, a homeowner whose house is nestled deep within the confines of the forest, was unaware that the 100K race was to move past his driveway. The 100K runners spooked the homeowners Girlfriend, who questioned our runners with a bright flashlight akin to interrogation tactics. She awoke her boyfriend, the homeowner, who was pleasant and understanding, yet still decided to thank the runners by firing a shot into the air at this early hour. Needless to say, our runners were spooked, and we have a major course change to make for next year.
This same homeowner took it upon himself to reroute the later miles of our course to ensure that runners did not return to his land, which they didn’t anyway but how could he know? So, a large majority of our runners enjoyed the homeowners re-route and a few bonus miles while out there. No one was hurt, lost, or unaccounted for and we’re thankful for that. Course vandalism and misunderstandings still happen out there and the old school rule of ultra, “The runners are ultimately responsible for knowing the course” comes into play.
Courtney Dauwalter became the first official finisher of the Human Potential Running Series. She beat all 50K and 100K runners by finishing her 100K+ run in 13:51. We gladly awarded her comp entries to all of our HPRS events for the next year. Robert Lynde came in 2nd in the 100K and was our first place male with a time of 17:05.
Our 50K was won by Victor Farmiga of Divide, CO with a time of 7:52. The women’s race was won by Rachael Horvath with a time of 7:59.
But the real story of the Human Potential Running Series was ALL of our runners coming out to brave the elements of Colorado’s High Country. Runners endured a hot sun under a shade-less course, thunderstorms with frequent lightning, torrential rain, high winds, and pea sized hail. The runners fought back and perceviered to the end. Libby Jones of Allen, TX and Nicholette Harper of Thornton, CO were our last two runners of the 50K winning the coveted DFL award. This award came with framed course photos, and a comp entry to a future race. Michael Hartley of Woodland Park, CO was our last official finisher of the day. Mike won the DFL award for the 100K, and the leftovers from our jug of 100% Corn Moonshine Whiskey set out at our last aid station.
Perhaps the biggest story of the day was Othman Doubiany of Aurora, CO. We placed a large boulder out on the course that weighed around 40-50lbs and challenged any runner to carry it to the finish line. If they did, they would either win $250 cash or credits to future HPRS races. It took Othman 3 hours to lug the rock 3.5 miles to the finish line where he gladly took the check.
The Human Potential Running Series is off and running. Our series will feature 5 races in Colorado in 2015, and will be Colorado’s Largest Ultra Series. We hope to see many more runners out there.