Joseph Gray gears up for GoPro Mountain Games – New 5K, improved Mud Run added to event lineup.
By Tom Boyd (Shauna Farnell contributed to this story). GoPro Mountain Games is a member of the American Trail Running Association.
Vail, Colorado — Joseph Gray doesn’t discriminate when it comes to running surface or running distance. He holds the record for the Washington State 50-kilometer road race, also the mile-long, 2,000-foot-verticle Manitou Incline and has two back-to-back victories in the GoPro Mountain Games 10K on Vail Mountain – and will be going for a third this June when the Mountain Games get under way June 9-12.
“One of the most challenging aspects of all of this is being competitive at the international level in multiple distinctions,” Gray says. “It’s one thing to be a great mountain runner or a great road runner, but to cover all forms of running, it’s really tough.”
Gray will have a chance to win his third Superfeet Trail 10K-ish in a row June 12 at the Mountain Games this year, but will skip running the event’s punishing EverBank Vail Pass Kicker Half Marathon June 11. This leaves the way open for newcomer Sammy Rotich, of Kenya, to battle it out with last year’s champ, Hais Welday, and sophomore Andy Wacker for the hefty prize purse.
If going toe to toe with Gray, Welday, Rotich, and other pros sounds a bit daunting, that’s OK. The Mountain Games are featuring a brand-new, very chill Superfeet Apres 5K race this year, to take place Friday night June 10 at 5:30 p.m. – perfect timing to warm up for the night’s concerts and festivities.
“Athlete participation is what creates the high energy that is the hallmark of this event,” said Mountain Games’ organizer Dave Dressman of the Vail Valley Foundation. “Every day we get one step closer to the sunshine and whitewater that makes the GoPro Mountain Games one of the most invigorating events in the world. It’s time to sign up, get outdoors, and start prepping your mind and body for the kickoff to summertime in the Rockies.”
The event would stand on its own with the Half Marathon, the 10K-ish, the Mud Run and the 5K, but that’s just the start for the big and burly Mountain Games. The event also creates an annual groundswell in mountain living and lifestyle, with more than 20 events in 9 disciplines including kayaking, SUP, yoga, mountain biking, rafting, DockDogs, IFSC World Cup bouldering, and of course trail running. Before and after the races, there’s always plenty to see.
The Mountain Games will also celebrate its 15th year in 2016 with prizes, giveaways and registration deals available at www.mountaingames.com.