Western’s trail runners illustrate gritty determination one victorious cowbell at a time.

At 4 a.m. on Saturday, April 16, alarms aggressively notified members of Western’s trail team that the beginning of the two-day Desert RATS Trail Running Festival was only a few short hours away. As members of the team started to dress, eat and plan for their long miles ahead, excitement mixed with nerves could be felt as the team vans left the Saddlehorn Campground and made the hasty drive to Kokopelli’s Loops in Fruita, Colo.

13010816_1219251624766580_4149386635594824741_n 942232_1219251754766567_4732722092204904530_n

The trail team, coached by two Western alumni, Head Coach Josh Eberly and Asst. Duncan Callahan, had a brisk seven-week buildup in preparation for races ranging from 5.5 miles through double marathon—52.4 miles. On this morning the marathon, 50 kilometer and double marathon races were set to start at 6:30 a.m., so runners were prepared to tackle tough trails for a duration lasting as long as 13 hours.

13051638_1219251644766578_2086284758553785366_n 11247507_1219251721433237_7156681038462385378_n

On the line aiming to win his age group and break the four-hour barrier was fearless freshman, Clark Thompson. New to the rocky mountain high altitude lifestyle, Thomson an Environment and Sustainability major, is originally from Carlsbad, Ca. When asked to describe Thompson, Eberly, without hesitation, responded with ‘determined.’

I really enjoy the marathon distance, and I wanted to improve my time from the Moab Marathon,” Thompson said.

The Mountain Sports program is nothing new to Western with serious winter sports and mountain bike enthusiast throughout the Gunnison Valley. However, the newest breed of mountain sport members comes at no surprise—trail runners. The seeds of the program were planted three years ago, and now after much nurturing, the program’s nucleus of competitors has its sights on establishing Western as the premier collegiate trail running community.

12994408_1219251788099897_575590450884591914_n 12987094_1219251838099892_2484436003994588409_n

Western’s Mountain Sports program is a great alternative for Collegiate athletics. The program offers an alternative option to track or cross country. The Trail Team specializes in trail running, Skyrunning and ultra racing. The Mountain Sports family is well rounded with “Extreme Sports,” dedicated to mountain biking, snow sports (Freeride, Freestyle, Alpine, Nordic and Endurance Ski) and Trail Running. For more information, go to western.edu/mountainsports. -Written by Josh Eberly and edited by Tyler Gates.

12987185_1219251818099894_5263557941670115490_n 12998556_1219251661433243_7678372480520318294_n



Double Trail Marathon – 52.4 miles

Julian Cullumber – 11 hours 30 mins
Kelsey Swanson – 12 hours 40 mins

Trail 50K – 31 miles

Kevin Geisen – 5 hours 21 mins
Bryan Schlinkmann – 6 hours 36 mins

Trail Marathon – 26.2 miles

Tyler Gates – 3rd overall – 3 hours 43 mins
Clark Thompson – 4th overall – 3 hours 52 mins
Ande Lloyd – 12th overall – 4 hours 17 mins

Trail Half Marathon – 13.2 miles

Gordon Gianniny – 1st overall COURSE RECORD – 1 hour 27mins
Levi Stone – 5th overall – 1 hours 45mins
Danny Mathews – 11th overall – 1 hour 48 mins
Dan Schneider – 18th overall – 1 hour 56 mins
Josh Jeagar – 19th place – 1 hour 58 mins
Sava Viner – 9th overall female – 2 hours
Amanda Campbell – 11th overall female – 2 hours
Sarah Kem – 14th overall female – 2 hours 2 mins
Rich Stromberg – 21st place – male – 2 hours 4 mins
Erin Twaddell – 21st place – female – 2 hours 8 mins
Anna Goodin – 28th female – 2 hours 12 mins
Danielle Sweet – 2 hours 54 mins

Trail – 5.5 mile

Riley Moser – 1st overall – 37:41
Josh Simkins – 3rd overall – 39:38
Kendall Cox – 1st overall female – 51:12