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A Colorado Trail journey in 10 days: 'Super fun memories, not fun in the moment'

Kyle King and Charles Remillard are elite marathon runners, but neither had ever done an ultra-marathon, let alone tried to run 485 miles in 10 days.

Katie Eastman

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At 5:30 a.m. on July 1, a few cars rolled up to Waterton Canyon in Littleton, and some sleepy athletes got out. Kyle King and Charles Remillard were used to early wake-up calls.

They both qualified for and ran in the 2020 Olympic marathon trials, but they were about to run the farthest in one day they had ever gone.

And the next day, and the next.

Every day until July 10.

“So, we’re about to run the Colorado Trail from Waterton Canyon to Durango, which is about 489 miles, trying to do it in 10 days,” Kyle said. “That’s the plan.”

Kyle, a U.S. Marine, was being transferred to a base in Virginia, and this adventure was his goodbye to Colorado.

Charles, a seventh-grade teacher, didn’t want to miss out on an adventure.

“That’d be way too much FOMO, [fear of missing out],” he said with a laugh.

The fear was certainly real, as the two attempted to run something most people hike in four to six weeks. From Denver to Durango, they would climb many mountains, pass through six national forests and climb nearly 90,000 feet.

Credit: Google Maps
The Colorado Trail goes more than 480 miles from Waterton Canyon in Littleton to Durango.

The unsupported speed record for the Colorado Trail was set by Jeff Garmire in 2020. He completed the trail in 9 days, 8 hours and 18 minutes. Unsupported meant he carried his food and supplies with him.

Kyle and Charles would have support from Kyle’s brother, Tyler, and his best friend, Cody Barton.

“Lord knows these guys aren’t going to be able to cook at the end of the day, so we’ve got some instant mashed potatoes, some chicken in a can, and we’re gonna make miracles happen with a little bit of herbs and spices,” Cody said.

With about 2,000 calories and 80 ounces of water in their packs to start, Charles and Kyle were ready to begin.