New film portrays Scott Jaime’s record-setting run on the 486-mile Colorado Trail.
About a year ago, Scott Jaime was well into his plans to run the 486-mile Colorado Trail from Durango, Colo., to the outskirts of Denver for a second time. He ran the entire trail in the opposite direction in 2009 in about 11 days, averaging a solid 40 miles per day and finishing on his 40th birthday. But this time around, Jaime was aiming for Paul Pomeroy’s 2008 supported record, or Fastest Known Time, of 8 days, 12 hours, 14 minutes. Scott mentioned it to Colorado-based trail running photographer/videographer Matt Trappe and it sparked an inspiring idea that came to fruition over nine days last August.
Scott, who lives in Littleton, Colo., not far from one end of the trail, ran like a fiend and set a new FKT of 8 days, 7 hours, 40 minutes, and Matt was there shooting footage from start to finish. With help from his support crew (including his wife, Nicole, and father-in-law, Rick Robinson, driving an RV and meeting him at numerous support points), Scott averaged 60 miles a day at an average elevation of 10,300 feet above sea level and enduring 22,000 feet of elevation change per day. The end result is “Running The Edge: The Colorado Trail,” a 45-minute film that debuts with two sold-out showings in Denver this weekend. The film depicts not only physical challenge, but the mental and emotional struggles of such a massive undertaking. Aside from being a Pearl Izumi-sponsored trail runner, Scott is a husband and father of two boys and works full-time as a pharmaceutical sales rep.
More than two dozen screenings are scheduled throughout the U.S. through the spring, as well as six dates in South Africa and a Canadian premiere in mid-August. We caught up with Scott and Matt this week to talk about the film. (Get a sneak peak with this trailer.)
How did this project get off the ground?
Scott Jaime: I had done the trail before and all we did was take photos and a little bit of amateur video footage. I thought it would be great to tell more of a visual story than the last time, but Matt being the artist, he took it to another level. There was a story behind it, but the story isn’t about breaking the record and running almost 500 miles. The story is about everything else around it, everything else in my life.
Tell us about the film. What can the audience expect?
Matt Trappe: The idea was to inspire people and tell a good story. It goes through some of Scott’s training and his run at the Hardrock 100 and also gets into the background of the trail and his experience from 2009 when he turned 40. The last half of the movie goes through the run on the trail last year. Of course, the scenery is amazing the entire way, but the story is very inspiring. I wanted to leave people inspired to shoot for things to get a little bit out of their comfort zone and all of the benefits you can reap from doing that.
Aside from the distance, what is the trail all about?
MT: It’s a pretty rocky trail in most places and you’re always constantly going up and down. There are some sections that are relatively flat, but the trail hits almost 13,000 feet above sea level, and when you get up there, if there are clouds and storms, it can be pretty daunting. And there are only so many access points out there. It’s a pretty well marked trail the whole way, though, and that helps. The Colorado Trail Foundation does a really good job with that. It’s just an amazing trail from start to finish.
How important were pacers?
SJ: Last time, I honestly was scared running without pacers. I had never been on the trail and I was doing long days and had no idea what I was going to encounter by myself. And so, in 2009, every morning when I left at 5 a.m., I was pretty nervous in the dark. But this time, having somebody with me, having that companionship was invaluable. At the same time, I was able to disconnect myself from our world. When we go out on the trail, we try to escape the humdrum of life, and I was able to do that last summer.
Matt, you’re known for your trail running photography, but what was it like being out there with Scott and making this project come to life?
MT: I was there the whole time. I ran with for 140-150 miles during the week. I carried the least amount of gear I could carry, but I had to carry some gear, plus water and everything else you need to run the trail. I was pretty wracked by the end of the week too. It was just beautiful the entire time. You can’t beat the mountains in Colorado. I tried to see as much of the route and get as much of it on camera as I could.
What was the finish like?
MT: It was pretty fantastic. There were a lot of tears shed. Lots of family and friends were there. There was a pretty good crowd on hand. Actually, a lot of people who were casually going for a hike in Waterton Canyon kind of figured out what was going on and stuck around to watch him finish.
What are your thoughts about the recent record-setting FKT trend?
SJ: I think the reason behind it is that we’re all continually pushing our limits. We want to know what we’re each capable of. Every time at the starting line of a race, I look around and I see people that are faster than me and are going to beat me. But that’s not what matters to me in a race. What matters to me is chasing my ghost and defining my own limits.
Having said that, when you transpose those same qualities in an FKT effort, you take away the race and now you are defining what is possible for you. And then, if you think you’re capable of doing something faster than someone else, go for it. Put it out there. Because all you’re doing is making other people better. Having said all that, I know someone will come along and beat this record on the Colorado Trail, and that’s great. Records are meant to be broken.
What does it mean for runners who can’t run for days on end?
SJ: This isn’t just about all-time FKTs. This can be about setting your own person goals and records. You can break up the Colorado Trail into 28 segments. I can’t tell you how many people we saw out there doing different segments of the trail. In fact, Matt and I ran into a couple of guys from Colorado Springs who were doing the entire trail over four summers. When you put that into the context of getting people out there, that’s what it’s about. It’s about getting people to experience the great outdoors out on the trails.
When you get out there, it’s so amazing and you wonder, “how come there aren’t more people out here?” Certainly most people who haven’t done this kind of running will say, “that’s absolutely crazy” but I guarantee you once they see the film, they’re going to say “that’s not crazy because I can do something like that too.” And that’s the whole purpose of the film.
Aside from finishing in record time, what was one of your favorite highlights?
SJ: I was struggling along on Day 6 or 7. It was probably about 5 p.m. and we pulled into the Copper Mountain ski resort parking lot. I just sat down in the chair and out from one of the cars, both of my boys, Jaxon (14) and Myles (6) came running toward me. That was probably the defining moment of the trail. I hadn’t seen them all week and I had been thinking about them all week. In my mind, I was thinking “how selfish of me to do this.”
But when I saw them, it was really, really cool. As soon we greeted, Jackson started crying and so did I. It showed that this an emotional rollercoaster. I needed that moment to get over the 10-Mile Range. I needed to give it everything I had at that point to finish and getting that additional support from my boys made all the difference in the world.
Was there one iconic moment that captures the beauty of the Colorado Trail?
SJ: At one point on the trail after leaving Molass Pass in the San Juans before you get to Spring Creek, I was running with three pacer friends while the sun was going down with some amazing clouds in the sky. No one was talking, but it wasn’t out of exhaustion, it was out of amazement. We were looking around thinking how lucky we are to be where we are right now. There wasn’t any wind, there wasn’t any sound. It was the true beauty of being on the trail and being in the moment. That was amazing.