In November 2014, Kayte Kaminski of MSU Bozeman heard about the inaugural Grand Teton Half Marathon, and began recruiting a team to run it. The Grand Teton Half Marathon is part of the Vacation Races Series that currently runs annual half marathons near eight National Parks. The Inaugural Grand Teton Half Marathon was on June 6, 2015, and offered stunning views of the Grand Tetons on a challenging but overwhelmingly beautiful course. The 13.1 mile course started at Wilson, WY at a little over 6,100 ft and finished at the Spring Gulch Golf Course at an elevation of over 6,300ft.
The team started with ten MSU and MSU-connected runners just to save $10 (teams with six or more runners got a discount) but as time went on the team evolved and developed camaraderie. Several of the runners dropped off due to injury or summer events that came up. However, the core 6 remained, trained, and headed to the Tetons ready to run on June 6th. All six runners finished the 13.1 mile race. The team also surprised themselves by placing 4th out of 18 teams and one team member took 5th place in her age category! Well done!
A few notes/quotes from the MSU team members:
“I was training for a full marathon being held two weeks after this race, but decided to sign up for the 1/2 marathon team as my marathon training was very solitary at times. Being a part of the team was an enjoyable way to get in my training and also support other runners achieve their goals. The event itself was more challenging than I expected due to it being uphill and at higher elevation that Bozeman. The funniest part of the race was when one of team members overtook me on a hill and yelled “Suck it up, buttercup!” which is one of my own mantras! It was a great finding out when we’d finished that we’d got 4th place out of 18 teams!” —Sarah Hendrikx, Extended University
“Back during my master’s program I was running sprint triathlons and had always wanted to complete my bucket list goal of completing a half marathon but I hadn’t revisited the idea in many years until last November. With an amazing group of teammates and great support from friends and family I was so proud to cross the finish line—with all my 13.1 mile mantras written on my hand— “Make your mom proud”, “look up!”, “Run the mile you’re in”, and of course what has quickly become our team mantra— “Suck it up buttercup!” A great day, a great race, beautiful views, and a bucket list item checked off! —Kayte Kaminski, MSU College of Letters and Science
“Over the last three years I had taken up running a 5k or two a year and found running a great way to relax and de-stress. I was thinking about challenging myself to run my first half marathon before my 50th birthday and when Kayte told me about the Grand Teton Half it seemed perfect. The team element was particularly fun with all of us motivating one another to meet our individual goals. Race day was beautiful and our team mantras and camaraderie were particularly memorable.” —Tami Eitle, MSU College of Letters and Science
“I just wanted to see 13.1 miles of the pretty mountains.” —Mike Wright, MSU College of Letters and Science
We had such a wonderful time training and running as a team that some of our team members are planning on running the Zion Half in this same series in March 2016. Please let us know if anyone wants to join our team!