After more than five days battling the desert conditions of southeastern Utah, Team Nike PowerBlast was the first to cross the finish line Saturday at this year's Primal Quest expedition adventure race.
They won $100,000 of the estimated $250,000 purse and captured the event for the fourth straight year. Among the four Nike/Power Blast athletes was Community School graduate Michael Tobin of Boise.
Amazingly, Team Nike slept a total of only 13 hours in their 143 hours of competition. "It was more like adventure torture," said Tobin afterwards.
At 5:45 a.m. Saturday, Team Nike captain Mike Kloser of Vail, Ian Adamson and Monique Merrill of Colorado and Michael Tobin of Idaho crossed the finish line after nearly 500 miles of kayaking, desert trekking, mountain biking, river swimming, horseback riding and rock climbing.
Runner-up Team GoLite/Timberland dogged Nike until the finish line, arriving less than 45 minutes behind for the $50,000 second-place prize.
"We had to persevere and push like no other," said Kloser. Adamson noted that it was an "amazing, amazing course." Her three teammates had plenty of adventure wins to their credit, but Merrill prevailed in a major adventure race for the first time ever.
The race, commonly regarded as the most difficult in the world, began on June 25 at 6:20 a.m. in the desert south of Elmo, Utah with competitors atop horses.
The 89 co-ed teams representing 20 nations then began an epic traverse of some of the most challenging and desolate terrain in North America, traveling day and night.
Primal Quest, the last remaining major expeditionary adventure race, took athletes through many of Utah's majestic landmarks including, Gemini Bridges, the slick rock of Moab and the towering rock spires of Castle Rock, the Rectory, and the Priest and Nuns.
Ketchum's Rebecca Rusch was a member of the Team Buff/Coolmax team that withdrew Friday after five days. The trekking and heat took a major toll on the feet of Team Buff members, she related.
For more details, including an up-to-date leaderboard, team biographies and team GPS tracking information, please visit www.ecoprimalquest.com.