Yesterday I was suppose to run the Front Range Relay with 3 other amazing women under the team name “Sticky (Mini) Buns.” Cheryl, Marni, Sarah and I carpooled up to Ft. Collins on Saturday evening. We bonded over a dinner and beer (carbo loading!), made our masterpiece of a “Caution – Runner on Road” sign for the back of the truck and chose what legs we wanted to run.
In the meantime, the High Park Fire that started 15 miles away from Ft. Collins on Saturday morning had spread from 2 acres to 8,000 acres by Sunday morning. Oblivious to how bad the situation had become, we woke at 4:20 and headed towards the starting line at the stadium so we could check in for our 6am start time.
As we travelled west, there was an eerie yellow tint to the dawn light and an ever increasing amount of smoke and ash in the air. This is a picture of the cloud of smoke sitting over the plains just west of Ft. Collins.
On a whim, I checked my email. Paul, the race director, had been doing a fantastic job of keeping in touch over the past week and I knew he would send an email if the route had changed. Due to the conditions we were driving in, I’m not sure why I was surprised when I saw the title of a new email in my inbox: Front Range Relay – Cancelled.
The email explained the changing conditions and how it had become uncomfortable to breathe at the start. The email also discussed that with so many moving parts involved in a relay, rescheduling was not an option, therefore, they were force to cancel. The race director mentioned that he would remain at the start and we decided to go find him as we were almost there anyway.
My whole team felt like he made the only decision that made sense, and we wanted to express our gratitude for his work. We were, of course, disappointed that we weren’t able to run but thought that he kept us well informed of the situation outside of his control and handled some difficult events very well.
Here’s a picture of our powerhouse quartet of runners, Team Sticky (Mini) Buns, at what should have been the start line. The camera is actually not blurry – there is that much smoke and ash in the air!
After collecting our shirts we drove back to Boulder and ran around the reservoir where the finish to the Front Range Relay should have been. So, we think we officially won the relay since were were the first across the (would-be) finish line. We celebrated by heading to Snooze for a flight of pancakes and some mimosas we wished would keep coming. Look for us at the Front Range Relay next year under the team name “Bottomless Mimosas!” (That’s my happy mug in the black shirt)
Sadly, the High Park Fire has continued to grow and is 36,000 acres tonight (6/11) with 0% contained. The Front Range Relay assured us that our registration fees (after their costs are covered) will be donated to local organizations that are helping the communities that are affected by the fire.
I urge you to check the Coloradoan to find out how you might be able to help! Take care people of High Park and Ft. Collins, you are in our thoughts and prayers!