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By Kristen Le Roux
Special to The SUN
GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors) presents the sixth annual Devil Mountain Ultra, a 50k and 50-mile event.
Known as much for its remote trails and big climbs as it is for its bonfire finish line and pancake awards breakfast, in the early hours of next Saturday morning over 100 runners will be at the start line in the pitch dark to set off on their ultra journey.
“Covering thirty to fifty miles of remote single track including a few peaks will take most of our athletes the better part of the day,” said Mike Le Roux, GECKO’s race director. “It’s very inspirational to see them finish, their journey having started many months ago when their training started. It’s a huge achievement for them to complete this distance and on this terrain. I think anyone who wants to be inspired to trail run should come down to the GECKO finish line next week and watch them come in.”
Last year, GECKO experimented with a very accessible 5k, 10k and half marathon trail event called Demons of Dust starting later in the day. This event will take place again this year with different courses and start times. Catering to all abilities, participants are welcome to hike, jog or run these distances without pressure of a fast finish. This is because the 50k and 50-mile racers have 16 hours to complete their race.
Once again, the start/finish will be a hive of festivity at the Turkey Springs/Monument roads intersection and, this year, GECKO is joining with GOAL Academy to stage the kids free fun race (about a half mile on accessible trails). Smokey Bear is planning to make an appearance at 10 a.m. for the kids run start, which is open to kids 10 and under. Parents are welcome to run with the kids.
GECKO founder Morgan Murri added, “An ‘Ultra’ trail run has a unique vibe to any other event, including any other trail or road run. Ultra athletes are some of the coolest people on the planet and with the camping out, bonfire, s’mores, finisher cheering the Devil Mountain Ultra finish line is one of my favorite places to be. The pancake breakfast on Sunday morning is the cherry on the top; everyone is basking in the glory of what they achieved the day before.”
Tessie Garcia and the Hands-On Arts Camp devil pitch fork finisher and winner awards will once again be at the finish, as will Scott Slind’s Devil Mask trophies. This year, there is a new addition to the themed fun — a lead-out horse ridden by the Demons of Dust caped death avenger.
Save the date: Saturday, Aug. 23.
Start/finish compound is at the corner of Turkey Springs and East Monument roads.
To register for any of the five distances, go to www.joingecko.org/devilmountain. Registration is open on Friday night or on race day for Demons of Dust only. Registration for the Ultra closes midday on Thursday, Aug. 21.
To be part of the action — as a spectator, volunteer or sponsor — contact Le Roux at 398-0612, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Murri at (303) 475-6053 or email@example.com.