Runner sets new Leadville 100 record in 17-plus hours
LEADVILLE – A little over a year after cutting off his arm to save his life during a solo hike in Utah, Aspen’s Aron Ralston completed the grueling Leadville Trail 100 ultramarathon at over 10,000 feet in elevation over the weekend.More than 400 runners began the race before dawn on Saturday, racing through hail and lightning at times, but fewer than half officially completed the race. Some dropped out because of nausea and cramps and others weren’t able to cross the finish line within the 30-hour time limit to earn coveted Leadville 100 belt buckles.Ralston, an official finisher with a time of 29 hours, 43 minutes, said he got sick after eating an onion sandwich but continued running despite feeling nauseated.Paul DeWitt of Colorado Springs won the men’s race for the second straight year with a course-record time of 17:16:19.Anthea Sch-mid of Crested Butte was the first woman to finish, with a time of 23:30:43.Basalt’s Gilles Cote, the only other valley runner to complete the race, finished just shy of the gold belt-buckle benchmark of 25 hours, in 25:02:31.Volunteers at aid stations peeled bananas for Ralston, who previously had only run in 5K races.”I felt in good balance,” he said. “I helped one gentleman who took a spill.”His mother Donna Ralston was waiting at the finish line to give him a hug.Last April Ralston was hiking alone, negotiating a canyon in southeastern Utah when his right arm became pinned beneath an 800-pound boulder. After other failed attempts, he freed himself on the fifth day by snapping his bones and using a knife to cut through his arm.He applied a tourniquet and clambered out of the canyon. After a six-mile hike, he found tourists who flagged down a helicopter.Since then he has learned to play the piano one-handed, climbed 14,000-foot-tall Colorado mountains alone and returned to skiing and mountain biking.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.