Perfect day for half marathon
Pathways and weather cooperate for delightful early summer race
By Miller N. Resor, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
June 20, 2012
The Moose-Wilson Pathway was choked by a southbound stream of more than 200 long-distance runners Saturday morning, as competitors in the Jackson Hole Half Marathon made their way over the 13.1-mile course.
The race is run from the pathway in front of Teton Village to Phil Baux Park at the base of Snow King. The course was touted for departing from Jackson’s trail system for only about two miles along Highway 22 and again from the west Jackson post office to Snow King Mountain.
Back for its fourth year, the race brought out 229 runners from 38 states. Mother Nature treated one and all to an early summer morning ideal for long-distance running.
“Starting out, it was the perfect temperature,” said Addie Hare, of Kelly. “A light breeze kept me cool the whole way to town.”
Hare placed second overall among the women, losing by less than 2 seconds to Janelle Ralph, from Gold Hill, Ore. Ralph finished the race in 1 hour 35 minutes and 15.8 seconds; Hare finished in 1:35:17.2.
“I was trying to catch her with every ounce of my being,” Hare said.
Watching from the sidelines, Hare’s husband, Doug Hare, was still impressed by his wife’s performance.
“I’m the type of guy that normally lets a horse take me everywhere,” he said. “I admire her perseverance.”
The Hares were not the only family at the race. Kristin and Jason Irvine ran together, completing the course in just over two hours and finishing in 49th and 51st in their respective divisions. Kristin Irvine was all smiles at the finish line.
“It wasn’t too bad,” she said,
Alex Gordon, who at 16 years old was the youngest male in the race, finished first in the under-19 category and ninth overall with a time of 1:31:52.9. He also beat his father, Scot Gordon, by over 20 minutes.
The family was on vacation from Yucaipa, Calif., where the younger Gordon is a cross-country and track runner. The course was beautiful he said.
“You notice the altitude difference at first, but I got here a couple days before and I have run a few times, so I was acclimated.”
At the other end of the spectrum was Robert Sielski, who was in Jackson visiting his sister, Betty Momoda, for his 70th birthday. Sielski actually ran a full marathon, starting at the finish, running to the village and then running back to town again. The full marathon was run by 18 people, but because of a lack of participants, competitors kept their own times for the first half and added it to their second-half time.
Among the out-of-towners competing Saturday, Jeff Rode, from Powell, just likes long-distance running races.
“I like the camaraderie among the people,” he said. “You meet a lot of interesting people”
Rode has run in the Boston Marathon and the Philadelphia Marathon. Afterward, he spent time exploring the cities. He did the same in Jackson and commented on the scenery and history of the area.
Phillip Autrey, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., on the other hand, likes the challenge. He likes it so much he is trying to run a half marathon in all 50 states. The race in Wyoming was his 25th state; next week he will race his 26th in Alaska.
The best time of the day was recorded by Matt Chorney, who finished in 1:12:54.6. Chorney has lived in Jackson since graduating from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. where he ran cross-country and track. He jokingly referred to himself as a Skinny Skis-sponsored athlete, because that is where he works.
Chorney had never run a half marathon before, but after talking to friends he decided he would float the first eight miles and approach the final five like the 10-kilometer races he used to run in college.
Race organizer Pam Reed, who is a champion ultra-marathon runner, said, “Jackson Hole is a beautiful place for a race, we had optimal conditions and people loved the pathways.”
She expressed regret that the full marathon was canceled, but was grateful that those signed up dealt with the change graciously. She thinks the race will be limited to a half marathon in future years. Jackson hosts a full marathon in September.