Michelino Sunseri crossed the finish line on Saturday afternoon 12 minutes ahead of his closest challenger, easily overtaking the competition in the inaugural Jackson Hole Mountain Resort 30km race.
“I need a beer,” shouted the Kings Beach, Calif., Resident.
He had affixed his seal to the course, which took him 10,455 feet to the top of Rendezvous Mountain before looping back down to the base.
Sunseri, the self-proclaimed “mountain ninja”, won first place in the weekend’s opening race.
With the help of third-party organization Bozeman Running Company, the resort was able to host three distance races of varying duration for the first time in the history of the mountain.
Organizing “Wild”, 30 km “Circus” and 50 km “Cody Peak” events, Jackson Hole offered trail runners of all styles the opportunity to fight on the intense and rugged terrain of Rendezvous Mountain. .
After following the Hoback and Wildflower trails, Saturday’s 30k runners slowly climbed the top of the mountain. Eclipsing an elevation of 5,500 feet, runners walked through spectators and family members to the top of the Bridger Gondola for words of encouragement and motivation as they made their way to the summit of Rendezvous.
“A killer run,” said Sunseri, who finished in a time of 2: 32: 46.90. “Sneaky climbing for the first 10 miles, then the last 2 miles to the top of the summit was really fun. It’s a perfect mountain running course … a challenge in all good ways.
With the Teton Valley as a backdrop as runners traverse the mountains, the views provided a unique experience for even the most seasoned trail runner.
“Running up to the top of the summit and seeing Cody Bowl up there, and the wildflowers… I encountered four moose on the trail. It doesn’t really get any better than that, ”Sunseri said.
Sunseri, joined on Sunday by Paul Lefrancois in the 15km race and Arthur Whitehead in the 50km race, shared the title as the first in the first distance races held at the resort.
The event was a big step for the resort, as the region is slowly opening up and allowing for outdoor leisure events to be held with fewer restrictions.
“I think we had just over 470 runners entered for the three races, which is phenomenal for the first year,” said Casey Jermyn, owner of Bozeman Running Company and director of the event. “It far exceeded my expectations. I think it really shows that there is a lot of interest and that it could potentially be a really nice event going forward. If you know the trails and how they get started, this is a good start.
Jermyn coordinates around 30 races a year for his company. He first contacted the resort about the possibility of an event after visiting the mountain on several occasions. The races finally took place after being postponed due to COVID-19.
“I think there has been a lot of demand and pent-up anticipation for these events because we’ve been stranded all last year,” Jermyn said. “I think people are really excited to come back and do events when they can.”
No mask was required and the station accepted an unlimited number of spectators. Dozens of runners cheered on the runners as they left base and near the top of the Bridger Gondola as they made their final push for the summit of Rendezvous.
With the staging of a remarkable event, all that was left for a perfect race was the weather, and according to Jermyn, the weather couldn’t have been better.
While the mountain has hosted the 8-mile Rendezvous Mountain Hillclimb for many years, this event could add distance to the directory of offerings during the summer months at the resort on an annual basis. “I think there has been a lot of pent up waiting for these events. – Casey Jermyn Bozeman runs the company
there have been a lot of pent-up expectations for these
events. “- Casey Jermyn Bozeman runs the company