The Dirty 30 in Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Runners challenged themselves in a 12 mile or 30 mile off-road race

By David Josselyn

  Early on a cool, overcast morning, the opening strains of the National Anthem sung by Nederland High School freshman Faeryn Sepanik-Copke were heard by more than 400 racers before they took off up the Mountain Lion trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Although the day started off perfect for running, cool and overcast, the clouds later broke apart allowing the full intensity of the high-altitude sun to break through before any runner crossed the finish line. Saturday, June 1st, the 5th Annual Dirty 30 was held, beginning and finishing at the Nott Creek trailhead. The Dirty 30 is a foot race that traverses 50 kilometers (~31 miles) of rugged dirt trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Shorter races are offered every year and this year had the option of a 12 mile run. Almost 200 racers took off at six in the morning for the 50k race and about 250 racers started at nine o’clock for the 12 mile. Money raised from this event goes to several programs, though the main beneficiary is the athletic program at Gilpin County School. This year’s race brought in $3,700 for the school which will be divided equally between football, volleyball, and boys’ and girls’ basketball. Some of the money will be used to defray the cost of summer camps including a four-day girls’ basketball camp at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. The athletic department in return helps the Dirty 30 by marking 18 miles of the trail and being in charge of three aid stations, official timing, and parking.

Results for the 50k

  The first place finisher of the 50k race was Chris Vargo from Colorado Springs. The 31 year old runner finished the 30 plus miles with a time of 4 hours, 19 minutes, an average of about 8 minutes per mile. Vargo broke Justin Ricks 2012 record by 28 minutes. In fact, the top three finishers this year all broke the four hour and forty-seven minute time set by Ricks last year. When asked why he pushes himself so hard for this race, Chris Vargo replied, “for fun!” The second place finisher, 27 year old Paul Hamilton from Fort Collins was a bit more verbose with his response saying he loves “being outside, moving in the mountains,” and “being around like-minded people.”

Results for the 12M

  The first place finisher of the 12M race was Peter Shellito from Boulder. Averaging about 8.5 minutes per mile, the 26 year old stated he ran the race because it “feels good.” The second place finisher, 43 year old Andrew Terrill of Golden, Colorado exclaimed he runs because it’s a “joy to be alive,” and enjoys “using my body to the maximum.” Although Terrill currently lives in Golden, his strong English accent gives away that he is a native of London, England.

Other results

  An award was given to the racer who traveled the farthest specifically for this race. The winner was 42 year old Ben Schwartz from Boston, Massachusetts, narrowly edging out another competitor from New York City. Other locations represented were San Antonio, Texas and cities in Illinois. Another award was given for the bloodiest racer to cross the finish line. Greg Lackey of Boulder proudly accepted the award with dried blood streaking from both knees down the front of his shins. The bloodiest racer award was not given without a story of the injury to accompany it, so here is Greg’s story.

  Greg was “in the zone” running down the Windy Peak trail when he heard a mountain lion screech. The lion jumped out and swiped at his knees causing the injury. Fortunately, Greg caught the beast in a nelson hold, rendering it unconscious, and was able to carry it for a while on his back before releasing it back into the wild. That was the public story as told by Lackey, but this reporter was able to get a sense of the true tale. Lackey did hear and see a mountain lion, but instead of the lion attacking, Greg took a swipe at the big cat with his foot, startling the lion into running away; however, Greg tripped as he kicked and went down hard on both knees causing the injury.


  The race had many sponsors who treated the runners with their goods after the finish. Boulder Beer was handing out a glass of their finest to each adult runner and Noodles & Co. fed the racers with their food. The racers were entertained by the Pick Up Sticks Marimba Band from Boulder.

Coming up

  If the Dirty30 intrigues you, but you are looking for a real challenge, the Double Dirty 30 is coming this July, 26th in beautiful Silverton, Colorado; a full 60 miles of off-road running from 9,000 to 12,600 feet in the San Juan Mountains. You can register on the Dirty 30 website.

Top Finishers by Category

  The following racers were the first to check-in to aid station one and also finish the race in the 50K. Women’s Open – Laura Tabor 5:26, Men’s Open – Chris Vargo 4:19, Women’ Masters – Susie Rinehart 5:49, Men’s Masters – Bob Africa 5:09.

  The following racers were the first to finish the 50K. Women’s Open – Laura Tabor 5:26, Women’s Masters – Anita Ortiz 5:27, Men’s Open – Chris Vargo 4:19, Men’s Masters – Michael Hewitt 5:03.

  The following racers were to first to finish the 50K within their age group. 20-29 (men) Paul Hamilton 4:23, (women) Laura Tabor 5:26; 30-39 (men) Chris Vargo 4:19, (women) Kerrie Bruxvoort 5:27; 40-49 (men) Michael Hewitt 5:03, (women) Anita Ortiz 5:27; 50-59 (men) Jorge Rufat-Latre 6:01; 60-Over (men) Joe Burleson 7:47.

  The following racers were the first to finish the 12M. Men’s Open – Peter Shellito 1:44, Women’s Open – Lindsay Krause 1:38, Men’s Masters – Andrew Terrill 1:46, Women’s Masters – Viki Hunter 2:24.

  The following racers were the first to finish the 12M within their age group. 19-Under (men) Seth Porter 2:48; 20-29 (men) Peter Shellito1 1:44, (women) Jennifer Arceneaux 2:15; 30-39 (men) Daniel Verdi 1:48, (women) Lindsay Krause 1:58; 40-49 (men) Andrew Terrill 1:46, (women) Jennifer Klafin 2:27; 50-59 (men) Conrad Boston 2:00, (women) Viki Hunter 2:24; 60-Over (men) Joe Wakefield 2:45, (women) Anna Petersen 2:51.

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