Almost 50 teams rolled into Canon City on Friday morning to take part in the EPIC Rocky Mountain Relay. Teams were strategically set off in waves starting at 5am until 10:30am based on pace times and expected finish times. Slower teams started earlier, including ULTRA teams, while faster teams started later in chase of victory.
There was no surprise that the three teams starting in the final wave on Friday would combat for top honors. Defending champs FAR – Fremont Adventure Recreation – had the upper hand in their returning 1st place mixed team of six men and six women. Hailing from Canon City and knowing the course helped too. As referenced in the Regional Race Preview, the Forza Competitive team was out for blood in their return to the EPIC Relay competition. After compiling an impressive team of top runners including Epic Relay Coach Chris Sullivan, triathletes, marathoners, ultrarunners, ironman finishers and trainers, Team Forza Competitive was revved to go. The final team to let loose in the last wave was the State Champion Cherry Creek Cross Country Team, a.k.a. Manbearpig. The team, consisting of the speediest high school runners in the state, had youth and endless energy on their side.
Team Manbearpig ran away with the win. Their finishing time of 24 hours and 2 minutes equated to a 7:34 pace throughout the 190 miles from Canon City to Crested Butte. Team Forza Competitive lived up to expectations, completing the race in 25 hours and four minutes. Defending champs FAR rounded out the top three with their finishing time of 25 hours and 37 minutes. All three teams also garnered first place finishes in their respective divisions: Manbearpig in the Men’s Miscellaneous; Forza Competitive in the Open Miscellaneous (results state Forza Competitive was placed in the Men’s Miscellaneous, however, Team Forza did have one female competitor); FAR in the Mixed Miscellaneous.
The EPIC race is a 24+ hour adventure of running, sweat, some blood and some tears. Many teams lost participants along the way due to injury, leading to even bigger team-building and support necessary to complete the journey. Check out the complete set of overall and division results.
Photo: Spencer Johnson of Team Forza Competitive