Grand Teton Relay back for another year in Ashton area
- Posted On
- Aug 11, 2015
- Activities near Yellowstone
By Matt Johnson
ASHTON – The Grand Teton Relay is back for its fifth annual race on August 14-15.
The race starts in Ashton and finishes in Teton Village, Wyo., which surrounds the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The Relay will feature nearly 130 runners, which is an increase from last year’s number of 105.
Twelve and six-person teams will compete over 180 miles of terrain. 10-15 ultra teams will compete in the six-person race. The fewer the runners, the more difficult the race.
“It’s pretty intense,” said Heather Johnson, organizer of the race. “They are beat and happy for an ice cream sandwich when they get done.”
The Relay has seen nearly 20 percent growth every year in terms of numbers of runners.
“In the running world, that is pretty amazing. We hope to keep it going for a long time,” Johnson said, “Even some of the bigger races have gotten flat or declined. It’s mostly just word of mouth (that helps it grow).”
You can’t mention the Grand Teton Relay without bringing up its gorgeous course – and its challenging nature. But this year marks the only year the race hasn’t had any changes to the course at all. Last year, the big change was the route near Island Park, due to the Fish and Game wanting the route a little further south on the seventh leg.
“It’s great because a lot of our runners are repeaters and will run the same legs and try to best themselves in their times, “Johnson said.
Johnson said that the race is popular with large groups of people, including groups signing entering as part of family reunions or high school reunions.
“I think that relays in general give people an opportunity to have a memory-creating experience, when they’re doing something really hard and they have the support of their family and friend behind them like they’re rockstars,” Johnson said. “When people do something physically challenging with that support, they’re able to reach those challenges where they might not normally be able to on their own.”
The average age of a racer in the Relay is around the mid-40’s.
“Not just young people are running,” Johnson said.
The deadline to sign up for the Relay is August 7, a week before the race starts. The race cap is set a 130 spots, and there are currently 14 spots open. If interested, visit http://www.grandtetonrelay.com.
If injuries or other unforeseen circumstances create open spots on teams, solo competitors can message the Relay on Facebook or through the race website and they can be put on a team, if they so desire.
Prices for registration can be found online.
“We do everything we can to keep prices low because we want more people to be involved,” Johnson said. “We don’t cut corners on what we provide to our runners.”
Did you know: This year, Sasquatch is the official race mascot. Someone will be running in Sasquatch attire in various places throughout the course. Anyone can take photos with him for a chance at prizes. Last year, over 1,000 photos were taken of people who found Sasquatch.
Originally printed in Upper Valley Standard Journal on July 30th, 2015.