Runners overcome wind, rain to finish ‘Red Hot’ races
by Adam Roy
contributing writer
Feb 24, 2011 | 1706 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Moab native Dakota Jones (left) and Timmy Parr, of Gunnison, Colo., took first and second place, respectively, in the men’s 55K competition during the Moab’s Red Hot 55k race last weekend. Photos by Adam Roy
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Local runners finished strong in the Moab’s Red Hot 55K and 33K trail races on Saturday. Dakota Jones and Heidi Rentz endured rain and strong winds to win two of the race’s divisions on Feb. 19.

Jones, a Moab native and runner for the Montrail team, took first place in the men’s 55K with a total time of 4:02:50.13. In the women’s 33K, Rentz, a Moab resident, took first with a time of 3:00:07.24.

Other top finishers included Anita Ortiz of Eagle, Colo., who topped the women’s 55K with a time of 4:52:22.31, and Dan Brillon of Boulder, Colo., who won the men’s 33K with a time of 2:31:35.00.

According to race director Chris Martinez, Jones and Rentz are the first runners from Moab to win in the Red Hot’s four-year history.

“Moab’s not much of a running community, it’s mostly mountain biking. To get winners from Moab in trail running, it’s not really going to happen,” Martinez said. “It’s amazing we finally got Moab winners.”

Asked about her victory, Rentz said she felt “awesome.”

“I competed last year and took a wrong turn,” Rentz said. “I came back this year hoping for more.”

Rentz and Jones both praised the race course, calling it one of their favorites.

According to organizers, 384 runners started the race at the Gemini Bridges trailhead on Saturday morning. From the beginning, the athletes were hampered by rain and wind gusts reaching over 20 miles per hour.

“The first half of the race was really windy,” Jones said after the event. “It was pretty rough, especially when you got to the plateau.”

According to Martinez, one female runner was forced to drop out at mile 13 after becoming delirious, possibly as a result of hypothermia.

“She wasn’t coherent,” he said. “We were asking her what her bib number was, and she was saying ‘I’m 21 years old.’”

Despite the weather, the race went off relatively smoothly, with few injuries or organizational hitches. Volunteers from the Moab Friends For Wheelin’ 4x4 club maintained a total of eight aid stations along the trails, five for the 55K and three for the 33K.

By the time the first 55K runners began to cross the finish line at the Poison Spider trailhead shortly after noon, a small crowd of spectators had gathered to cheer them on. Runners were still trickling across the finish line as the awards ceremony began at 3 p.m. Martinez said he was optimistic about the future of the race in Moab.

“It’s getting more popular every year,” he said. “This year, the race sold out in three weeks. Next year, we’re hoping it’ll sell out in a week.”

Moab’s Red Hot 55K and 33K is organized by GrassRoots Events; Their next race will be the Amasa 6.5 Mi. and 9.5 Mi., scheduled for April 9.

Information and results for both events are available at www.grassrootsevents.net.

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