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Chris Benchetler getting it good. photo - Peter Morning
Team Clif Bar Blog
Aug 3, 2010
Montrail’s Crazy Matt Hart Runs Entire Colorado Trail

A couple weeks ago, I received this email from Matt Hart, ultra-distance runner from the Montrail team: Hey Eric, Hope this finds you well. I just decided in the early hours of this morning (while pacing at the hardrock 100 miler) to have a go at the Colorado Trail speed record. I'm in the midst of planning it now. Everyone I've talked to that knows says the record is "tight." The 500 miles was done last year in 8 days, 12 hours, 14 mins. I'm wondering if you can send me a few special items for the adventure.


Montrail Matt Hart CO Trail - TEAM CLIF BAR

For most folks, the decision to run from Denver to Durango might encompass years of thought and preparation, as well as a slight case of insanity and/or questionable judgment. After all, running 500 miles at an average elevation of 10,000 feet for days and nights on-end isn't something to take lightly, especially when you throw the Rocky Mountain monsoon season into the mix. This type of stuff doesn't seem to bother Matt, though, as he started and finished with a smile on his face. Here is a report from the finish of his run from fellow Montrail ultra wunderkind Dakota Jones: He survived the bad weather. He survived hypothermia at 12,000 feet. He survived taking wet nap showers at night and eating bars and gels all day for over a week. He survived quite a bit, in fact, and now he is done! From the time of my last post, Matt ran for about 24 hours all the way to Molas Pass above Silverton. From there he took a four hour nap and got up at 8:00 in the morning to keep going, this time with Linda Barton running alongside. Durango is about 73 miles from Molas Pass, and he was determined to finish with as little downtime as possible. And he did just that, finishing about 28 hours after leaving Molas Pass. The remaining trail was broken up into three 20-ish mile sections and a 12-mile section, meaning he had to run for many hours at a time with very little support, all of this being at the final end of the trail when his energy was extremely sporadic. I really have no idea how Matt managed to keep going in the final sections; his all-consuming dedication was a powerful force. After hours of waiting and preparing, we finally went up to the Junction Creek trailhead at about noon today, and began the walk up to find Matt. We didn't have to walk far. Within 20 minutes he came around a corner hooting at us and running a 7:30-ish mile fueled entirely by adrenaline. He looked really good, and especially so considering what he had put himself through in the past week. At 12:18 on Friday, Matt Hart finished the Colorado Trail, for a total of 9 days, 7 hours and 48 minutes total, from start to finish. What an achievement! He literally ran from Denver to Durango, through the heart of the coolest mountain ranges in the state, and finished smiling and joking - just the way he started. Since finishing he has eaten every bit of food in my house here in Durango and continues to wolf down everything within sight. How I'm going to get him to leave is beyond me, since he can't actually move anymore, but that's just fine because we like having him around. As for me, I'm going to go get my first full night of sleep in 9 days. Good night! Well put, Dakota! And congrats on a tremendous athletic achievement, Matt! Hopefully you guys can work out some sort of restocking agreement before you part ways. There is nothing worse than a ultra marathoner squabble. They can go on for weeks!

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