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Stagecoach 100-mile race not for the faint of heart

October 22nd, 2013

The mercury hit a frigid 21 degrees in Flagstaff on Saturday, resulting in a chilly morning for those braving the cold to celebrate NAU’s 89th Annual Homecoming.

But for a group of hardcore runners participating in the first Stagecoach 100-mile Ultra, the low temperatures were a major obstacle to completing a race from the San Francisco Peaks along dirt tracks to Tusayan.

Running at night through an unfamiliar landscape, 79 people managed to complete the trek.

The race started along with 26 individual racers and 17 finished. There were 12 teams of relay racers, and all teams completed. Groups varied from four-person to six-person teams and most were coed.

Mike Versteeg, 28, of Prescott, finished in start in the solo category with a moments of 17 hours and 41 minutes. In the female category, Suzanna Bon, 49, of Sonoma, Calif. got the fastest time, finishing in 21 hours and one minute.

The fastest finishing period was recorded by a 6-person coed group in 12 hours and fifty-one minutes — nearly five hrs ahead of Versteeg and a pace of better than 8 minutes a distance.

The individual race has been tight until about the 50-mile point, when Versteeg pulled far out front and eventually finished 30 minutes ahead of Bret Sarnquist, 35, of Phoenix.

Race director Ian Torrence went to great lengths to tag the trails, which follow the old stagecoach line popular with Grand Canyon visitors in the 1800s. The competition was hosted by the Arizona Path Association and was intended to highlight a little-used section of the path, as well as what Babbitt Ranches does on their lands in the area.

There were 11 first aid stations operated by local businesses along the way and they were needed. Several runners emerged down with hypothermia. There were simply no serious medical emergencies though, because Coconino County Search and Save was on hand on horseback, as well as paramedics. Race organizers had bonfires setup at stages so that joggers could stop and warm up plus eat soup and grilled mozzarella cheese sandwiches.

For couple runners Carey and David Martin, their first 100-mile race has been equal measures challenging and rewarding. The pair competed separately but ran together.

“We were excited to do it and we both finished with respectable times, ” Carey said. “It was a long cold night. ”

The race was planned to coincide with the full moon plus started at 2 p. m. on Saturday so that even the elite runners couldn’t finish without running through the night. The final finisher completed the particular race at 7: 56 g. m. on Sunday night, coming in just minutes under the 30-hour time limit.

Other 100-mile races commonly start early in the morning and the competitors is finished by nightfall.

When the sun set on Sunday night, the full moon rose as the runners descended off the Peaks plus continued on the Arizona Trail plus across Babbitt Ranches lands. The particular rockier portions were challenging to navigate at night, Carey said, but on the flat lands, they could frequently turn off their headlamps and run by the moonlight.

The particular Martins said they were prepared for your rocky portions after an eight-day race they completed this year that will passed through the Alps from Philippines to Italy.

Torrence said the first race went away well and he hopes to build on that success in planning for next year.

“Marking 100 miles obviously … so people don’t move the wrong way is a huge challenge, ” he said, adding that some people got turned around and had trouble seeing road signs in the dark. “Once we got out of the San Francisco Peaks, no one understood the trail from there north. ”

Torrence added that this other challenge was the endurance test he had to go through as the race director, staying up for 41 hours plus making decisions without so much as being a nap.

Eric Betz can be reached at 556-2250 or even ebetz@azdailysun. com.

TOP INDIVIDUALS

Place First Name Last Name Gender Age City State Finish Time
1 Erina Versteeg M 28 Prescott AZ 17: 41
2 Bret Sarnquist M 35 Phoenix AZ eighteen: 11
3 Jonathan Clinthorne M 26 Lakewood CO 19: 30
4 Suzanna Bon F 49 Sonoma CA 21: 01
five Maggie Beach F 42 Una Crescenta CA 21: 45
6 Stewart Kelly M 35 Flagstaff AZ 21: forty five
seven Tamara Johnson F 49 Pleasant Hill CA 24: 19
8 Emily Judd F 32 Whitefish MT 25: 06
nine Fran Zelenitz F 40 Bozeman MT 25: 06
10 The writer Dobrowalski M 34 Moorpark CA 25: 23
11 David Martin M 49 Evergreen CO twenty five: 33
12 Carey Martin Farrenheit 38 Evergreen CO 25: 52
13 Christopher Westerman M 33 Parker CO 27: 39
fourteen Andrea Feucht F 39 Planks Crest NM 28: 14
15 Sarah Johnson F thirty four Peoria AZ 28: eighteen
16 Ann Trason F 53 Pacific Grove CA 29: 42
17 Mary Scudder F 32 San Diego CA 29: 56

TOP RELAY TEAMS

Category Place Team Name Member’s Last Names Time
4-Person Female
1 Group J. E. L. L. Grabel, Lippard, Evans, Sargent 19: 37
4-Person Male
1 FOJO LOCO Armstrong, Hartman, Ells, Hagaman eighteen: 48
4-Person Coed
1 Norfuc Jesse, Hall 20: eighteen
6-Person Coed
1 RunFlagstaff Sherry, Arciniaga, Bauer, Harrison, Sherry, Hilton 12: 51
two American Conservation Experience Wesson, Overton, Wilson, Bousson, Hunter, MacCantel 14: 35
3 TRF Rim Runners Gardinier, Higgins, Hendricks, Laphere, Landry, Hendricks 17: 11
4 Bear It For Garrett Coil, Choate, Whiting, Whiting, Grange, Rider 17: 54
5 Localeikki McMillan, Overheiser, Spear, Abbey, McMillan, Thomas 17: 55
6 Moon Dancers Johnson, Maestas, Schrag, Matje, Grabarek, Biggs nineteen: 45
7 It’s a Running Joke Pearcy, Kanitz, Westcott, Snead, Snead, Balmat 20: fourteen
8 The particular Dogpack Beach, Guzman, Sorino, Beach, Sorino, Bonin-Guzman 21: 45
6-Person Male
1 NATRA Thurston, Weintraub, White, Irvine, McKee, Webber 16: 32

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