This is where it gets weird.
A few years ago, a guy named Sam MacDonald was doing some economic development work and got invited to Renovo. When he got there, he was greeted by the guys who run the Western Clinton Sportsman’s Association. Kind of odd for the fish hatchery to be doing economic development, you might think. But only if you’ve never been to Renovo.
After a productive meeting, as an aside, MacDonald asked about any community events. They mentioned the Flaming Foliage Festival and a few others before a guy with a beard said, “Well, there’s the race.”
MacDonald, flabbergasted and flabby, shrugged and fled in terror. “That’s nuts,” he thought to himself. Until later that day when the editor from Outside magazine called him and asked if he had any stories to pitch.
Long story short: MacDonald ran the Hyner Challenge. Or rather, he limped it on shattered limbs. He was beaten soundly by a nine-year-old boy, a bachelorette party and a guy with one leg. You can read all about it here.
But more important, he determined that they Hyner Challenge was awesome. The volunteers. The mix of fish hatchery guys and dreadlocked college kids. Fireman and ultra-marathoners. High school wrestlers and gray haired cafeteria workers. All of them getting along, getting connected with the woods and doing something for Renovo.
He hatched a hair-brained scheme to pitch the idea in Ridgway. He was sure nobody would be up for it. People he knew, himself included, didn’t EXERCISE. Especially something like a 20-miler straight up hill. So he half heartedly floated the idea, set up a meeting… and 60 people showed up.
Boulder Dash was born.
What will it become? We have no idea. About 1,200 people ran Hyner last year. We don’t have anything like that in mind here... But if you want to get in shape, if you want to learn more about the woods, if you like the idea of a really neat community-event, if you want to scout out some new hunting grounds… come join us.
Can you do it? If you try, there’s a very good chance you will beat Sam MacDonald. Just stay up with the bachelorettes.
“What race,” MacDonald said.
“The Hyner Challenge,” he said. “A bunch of people come to town and run up the mountain. WCSA has been sponsoring it for a few years. It’s getting pretty big.”
“Wait,” MacDonald said. “What mountain?”
The guy pointed a finger up the face of a cliff, to an ominous black rock where hang gliders launch themselves into the valley.
“Wait,” MacDonald said. “Nobody runs up that mountain!”
“Sure they do,” he said. “Must have had 800 people last year. It’s 16 miles. You want to join us?”