Monday, August 23, 2010

Ed's Race Across the Sky, The Final Chapter

  The race has come and gone and we are all exhausted.

The short story version is that "Running Man, Ed" ran his age and completed 60 miles of hard trails, up and over Sugar Loaf Mountain once and over 12,600 foot Hope Pass twice. It was quite an experience.

 I didn't take this photo,
but this is what it's like at 4:00 am at the start
with over 700 runner heading out..

Ed, reaching the Fish Hatchery, 23 miles
That's already one marathon.

Ed coming into Twin Lakes on the outbound section.
40 miles!!!!

His friend, Jorge, was joining Ed at the 50 mile marker to be a pacer for about 20 miles
on the return section of the race over Hope Pass again.
 Jorge waiting for Ed to arrive at Winfield. 50 miles

The next 7 1/2 hours proved to be a bit frightening for us.

Ed had planned for the next section of going over Hope Pass again and back to Twin Lakes to take him about 4 hours.
 We were expecting him somewhere between 9 and 9:30 pm. The cutoff for that section of the race was 9:45 pm. Jorge was to help Ed make up some time that he had lost after coming over the pass the first time.

Well, 9:30 pm came and went, as well, as the cutoff time. So we knew the race was over for him. But 60 miles was a wonderful accomplishment and we were all excited for Ed.

 Ed at Winfield

Elizabeth and Don had positioned themselves near the trailhead that led into Twin Lakes and I had positioned myself with all of his gear up near the aid station, that the runners need to check into so if he were close to the cutoff he wouldn't loose precious minutes.  So the crew so separated.

There are many small dramas that are connected with this story, but the main idea is that Ed and Jorge did not show up and it was getting later and later.

We finally receive a cell phone call from Jorge using a phone he had borrowed from another runner.

Ed was in trouble and not able to really walk and his breathing was very shallow. They were about 35 minutes from the rivers they needed to cross, and then it was about a couple more miles to Twin Lakes. It would be another hour.

So we waited. Elizabeth and Don in the car at the parking lot area and I stayed near the aid station with all the stuff. 

The cheering crowds were gone now, the aid station was cleaning up, but the medics were still waiting for the last of the runners because someone had radioed in to say there were injuries along the trail. I just stood there alone for a long time looking down the dirt road hoping to see Ed's headlamp soon.

Three hours after we had expected him, Elizabeth and Don spy a single headlight running fast toward them.

It was Jorge saying Ed needed help and Elizabeth should run about 2 miles out into the darkness of the meadow and find Ed with warm dry clothes and shoes. He was walking very very slowly and was very very cold and wet. There were medic trailsweeper guys with him. Trailsweeper are the ones who go out after the race and look for the runners who have not shown up, like search and rescue.

Jorge was freezing cold as well, and ran up to the aid station to find me and his wife, Tiffany, who had joined me. Now, it's after 12:00 pm.  When Jorge showed up saying Ed needed help, I told the medics at the aid station and they gathered up their portable oxygen stuff and headed to the parking lot. Jorge, Tiffany and I ran with all of Ed's gear to the parking lot as well. Mind you it is pitch black out. Twin Lakes has no street lights and there was no one left in this very little deserted town.

We got the parking area and found Don, but Elizabeth had headed off in search of Ed, carrying a blanket, a pair of her socks and Don's shoes. The other medics had headed out as well.

Here's what Elizabeth saw out in the meadow
except what her headlamp illuminated.

Elizabeth had been training, as well, to pace Ed in the last 13 miles of the race.
That training paid off.

Finally, which seemed like forever, Don and I began to see headlamps bobbing off in the distance.

The medic's arrived first and said Ed has OK, just warn out and cold and he wanted to finish " his race". I was never so happy to finally see two lights moving slowly toward us. Elizabeth in the lead and Ed using his hiking poles barely shuffling.

We took him up to the aid station and they wrapped him in a sleeping bag and gave him something warm to drink. We could barely get his shoes off.  His legs had just stiffened up.
Ed safe and sound.

The original plan was for him to finish the whole 100 miles in 28 hours, coming over the finish line at 8 am. That didn't happen, but he did finish "his race" We are all so proud of him.

After a night's sleep he was walking just fine and breathing normal.
God was by his side during his entire journey and I am very thankful. I'm thankful that the weather was not the "horrible Leadville weather", that he was not alone and that he made it out on his own, using what little left power he had.

Don, Elizabeth, Ed and Me
Runner and Crew the next morning.

PS He said he wouldn't be trying the race again. Please remind him of that.

Until Next Time-Kyle


  1. What an achievement! Some scary times in process but an amazing thing to have done! Cheers!!!

  2. Congrats to Ed! Am very glad that Ed is OK. What an accomplishment!!!!