100-mile race not enough for Wacker

Grand Junction’s Marty Wacker finishes The Other Half, a half-marathon in Moab, Utah, one week after running a 100-mile race in Titusville, Pa.

Grand Junction’s man for all races, Marty Wacker, uses his workday lunch break to run. He calls it a sanity break.

But a few people no doubt questioned how well that’s working after the 41-year-old ran The Other Half, a half-marathon in Moab, Utah, in which he placed second, about 11 minutes behind Boulder’s Kenyon Neuman, who broke the course record by 41 seconds, clocking in at 1 hour, 9 minutes, 9 seconds.

Where Wacker’s sanity comes into question is he ran The Other Half on Oct. 21, one week after running a 100-mile trail race, the Oil Creek 100, in Titusville, Pa. Wacker placed fifth at the Oil Creek 100, about a minute behind the fourth-place finisher, and knocked nearly four-and-a-half hours off his time from the previous year, finishing in 19 hours, 43 minutes, 56 seconds.

Following up the 100-mile run with the half-marathon (13.1 miles) was a matter of learning what his body was capable of doing. Wacker learned he could meet the challenge, but moreover, “My body told me it was time to rest.”

Resting hasn’t been his inclination since he took up running about nine years ago. Wacker said he runs about two races per month. It’s easy to find 5-kilometer runs on any given weekend. And half-marathons are plentiful. But on Mother’s Day this year he ran a one-mile race, the shortest race he’s run, and it was quite the contrast to the 100-milers of which he ran three this year, doing them in consecutive months and using the first two as stepping stones for the Oil Creek 100.

Again, he wanted to see how his body would hold up, and the Oil Creek 100 was the most challenging of the three. Wacker said it has 17,000 feet of vertical climbing, which he put in perspective with, “It’s like running up Mount Garfield eight times.”

Rich’s routine works
at Rim Rock

Run three miles to work. Run three to four miles on lunch break. Do that for nine weeks. Run a marathon.

Evan Rich didn’t train the conventional way for a marathon. He didn’t run the distances that most runners do to prepare for a marathon. The nine weeks was half of the 18 put in by most runners who limit themselves to a marathon or two per year.

But the 32-year-old clearly did enough. When he crossed the finish line Saturday in the US Bank Rim Rock Marathon, he was in 13th place overall and was the first Grand Junction runner to complete the race in a field of 139 finishers.

Less than two seconds behind him was the next Grand Junction runner, Jeff Friedman.

“It was windy and cold, but I just pushed myself as much as I could, and the training paid off,” said Rich, adding he had run half-marathons previously, but never a marathon.

Despite having the course at his disposal to train, Rich said he did not run any portions of it during his training. That meant he had not encountered Colorado National Monument’s 2,000-foot climb in elevation.

“It was a little scary, running up a mountain for my first marathon,” he said.

Rich said he only started running two years ago, and he moved about a year ago to Grand Junction, where his wife, Jennifer (nee Robinson) Rich is from.

Rich posted a time of 3:28:48, which met his goal of finishing within 3:30.

50th marathon will
be memorable

Redlands resident John Oster, a member of the national club Marathon Maniacs, ran the Rim Rock Marathon for the fourth time, and the latest one puts him in position to realize a life goal.

The local ophthalmologist for Grand Valley LASIK & Cataract said he has a goal of running 50 marathons before the age of 50, plus a goal to run in the Boston Marathon, for which he recently qualified.

So, when he runs the Boston Marathon in April, he’ll kill two birds with one stone: It will be No. 50 for the 47-year-old who started running marathons five years ago.

Desert’s Edge Triathlon
 will return

Darrin Eisman of Racing Underground, which did the timing for the Rim Rock Marathon, said he’s talking with Highline Lake State Park officials this week to schedule a date for next year’s Desert’s Edge Triathlon.

Racing Underground organized the first Desert’s Edge Triathlon, which took place Oct. 7 and drew 340 competitors.

Eisman said he has received many positive comments in the aftermath of Desert’s Edge, and he anticipates next year drawing 500 participants, the maximum allowed based on parking at Highline.

“I heard from a lot of people,” he said. “They loved it, thought it was a great race.”

Eisman said he’d like to add an off-road triathlon and an off-road duathlon to the event, and he expects the triathlon will start an hour later, allowing the sun to rise higher and warm the temperature a bit more. This year’s triathlon started on the heels of a below-freezing overnight low.


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