When I started Run the Red 50K in 2018 I arrived 30 minutes late. “Can I still go?” I asked the race director. “Absolutely!” he said. I threw off my pullover, slathered on some sunscreen, and ran past the starting line, hydration pack still in hand. I kept moving as I struggled to put on my race bib and pack, not wanting to stop as I would fall further behind.
The high desert of Southwest Wyoming is a place that I know well. I live in Rock Springs, so it’s my backyard – my training ground– and over the years it has shaped who I am. It takes time to appreciate the subtle beauty of this place. The overwhelmingly fragrant smell of sage brush after it rains. The deep reds of the rocks contrasting with the whites and tans of the sand. The vibrant and short-lived desert wild flowers that show up in late spring. The smell of the dirt in the air from the hot summer sun. The seemingly ever-present Wyoming wind that builds strength and character in the winter time.
I’ve ran on lots of trails all over the west and have yet to find anything like the Red Desert. Running in wild places is where I become alive, ground myself, connect with my environment and that deep, wild part of myself. I encourage the Wyoming running community to join me for Run the Red on Wyoming Public Lands Day, September 28. Check out the course at runthereddesert.com.
Cassandra Vincelette, Rock Springs