SNOWMASS VILLAGE - More than 1,500 runners will be arriving in Snowmass Village this weekend when participants in the first Ragnar Colorado race finish their 188-mile trek through western Colorado on Fanny Hill.
The race is a partnership of the former Colorado Relay and the Ragnar Relay Series, which includes 15 races that wind across the nation. The course begins on Sept. 7 in historic Breckenridge and follows trails and some roads through Keystone, Vail, Gypsum and Glenwood Springs, and then hugs Highway 82 until it reaches Snowmass Village via Brush Creek Road late in the day on Sept. 8.
Snowmass Village resident David Grabarkiewicz is running the race for the first time with Gluttons for Pain, a team of 10 that hails from all over. He and a coworker from the Crestwood have been doing some training together.
"Unfortunately, I'm not running the last leg," said Grabarkiewicz, talking about the final stretch that begins on the Rim Trail and joins Brush Creek Trail before running through town and finishing. "It'll be cool to do a different route though. I would know it, but it'll be nice to have some new scenery."
Rim Trail is one of Grabarkiewicz's favorite routes to run, he said. An athlete who has played many traditional sports, Grabarkiewicz picked up trail running after moving here from Atlanta two years ago. He says he was inspired by the book "Born to Run."
"There's something, I don't know, primal about it (trail running)," he said. "I love running, and I love being out on the trail. ... There is a runner's high."
This is not only Grabarkiewicz's first time running in this event but his first race ever.
"I want to use this as a catalyst to get into racing," he said.
The relay has 36 legs, so teammates follow the course in a van and make exchanges at designated points. The race begins early the morning of Sept. 7 and keeps going through the night.
Grabarkiewicz said a couple of his teammates have done the race before and gave him advice about gear. One thing they told him to bring was a sleeping bag to catch a couple hours of sleep in the van during the night.
Grabarkiewicz said he expects the team to do well and that the experience of some of his teammates helps. He's a little intimidated though, since it's his first race, and he doesn't want to let the team down.
"A lot of teams do this a lot," he said. "I'm nervous but also excited."