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ATHLETE HIGHLIGHT: Andy Wacker

 

PHOTO BY TIM BERGSTEN/PIKESPEAKSPORTS.US

PHOTO BY TIM BERGSTEN/PIKESPEAKSPORTS.US

 

Filmed and produced by Allie McLaughlin @alliemc3 (Follow her on Instagram)

It’s no secret around our office that Andy Wacker is a stud.  He’s the kind of guy you text to see what he’s up to and he’ll either be sleeping in his car at the base of some mountain or halfway across the world running some insane race.

Rolling up to races prepared is part of our forte, and we generally don’t roll in late as a matter of policy. But our very own Andy Wacker, the winner of the Bar Trail Race up Pikes Peak this past Sunday, may have been a bit off of his time schedule after returning from trail races in Switzerland for much of the summer.  He also worked an expo with ROLL Recovery late into the night on Saturday.

He accidentally set his alarm clock for 3:30 p.m. instead of a.m., causing him to wake up two hours later than anticipated before the trail race (which is almost 2 hours away from his Boulder home).

Luckily, the race began 15 minutes late, and Andy apparently drives as fast as he runs up mountains so he was able to get to the race just 7 minutes after it had started.

So he started the race in dead last, with no runners even in sight. The field had a huge head start, but as he ran up the course, Andy started to pass more and more runners and began to realize he just might have a chance at placing in the top ten. Here’s what Andy had to say about the debacle:

The Bar Trail Race was more of a fun run on my calendar, and after I woke up at 5:35, I figured I should just go down to the Springs to support the other runners (my friend Peter Maksimow is the race director, and I didn’t want to ruin his race). It wasn’t all about me, it’s more about supporting the awesome local running community in Colorado.

From the moment I decided to go anyway (5:37am) I just kept thinking of the Winston Churchill quote “never, never, never give up”. So I drove fast hoping things might work out. It was really funny because the second I arrived, I jumped out of my car and another trail racing legend and friend, Simon Gutierrez handed me my number, I pinned it in and started my GPS watch (it doesn’t count if it’s not on Strava) just as I crossed the timing mat.

A local media guy, Tim Bergsten, while taking a video said The funniest quote “Got them right where you want them there, Andy”, a half mile into the race when I was dead last. (Pikes peak sport) “never, never, never give up” Anyway, I was a mile behind the leader at the turn (it’s an out and back 3,800ft climb and then decent) I figured I had no chance but 3,4,5th were close. “never, never, never give up” rang in my head again. I moved into second and got a lead by 8 miles in. In the last half mile I caught the leader, Noah.

I was a step behind him on the crazy steep single track, so no passing. When we ran onto the road we both started kicking. Missed the turn again. I crossed the line first, but that was obviously not a fair finish. It was a shock and an honor to be award co-winner and first place.

 

Andy managed to squeeze a couple of lessons out of the event in addition to his “never, never, never give up” mantra:

1.    Alarm Clocks are hard: the am/pm trick is there to trick you and it just might succeed.

2.    Adrenaline rushes are real things. Andy sped to the race after waking up 2 hours after he had planned to, hopped on the line and ran up a mountain. He handled it with calm collectedness, but certainly had some amount of adrenaline pumping.

3.    Obstacles aren’t excuses: he had a slim-to-none chance of placing in the race, not to mention winning. A seven-minute handicap is enough to make anyone throw in the trail-running towel, but Andy took it as a fun challenge rather than an excuse.

He certainly had the most eventful race of the ROLL team this weekend, and we’ve learned that even if Andy shows up to the office a few minutes late, he’ll be sure to get the job done.

– Jenny D.