As Andy Newell flew down the drenched foothills of Bozeman, Mont., during the Jim Bridger Trail Run last Saturday, there was no guessing that the U.S. Ski Team member had been unable to run only a few days before.
Having thrown out his back two weeks earlier while doing power-cleans, the 29 year old had neither run nor weight lifted since the incident.
With a strong start to this year’s training, including a trip to Oregon for the U.S. Ski Team’s Bend training camp, the injury was disappointing.
“It was a bummer,” Newell said.
Despite his injury, he came to Montana with teammate and former Bozeman resident Erika Flowers for the wedding of her father, Pat. Upon their arrival from Vermont, Pat brought Newell to a local physical therapy practice where he received care for his back.
After some much-needed adjustments, Newell was quickly healing, and by the time the Jim Bridger Trail Run rolled around on Saturday, he decided that his back was ready for the challenge.
It appeared that the combination of the physical therapy and the crisp mountain air served Newell well as he crossed the finish line of the 10-mile race first in 1:20:03. Former biathlete, Dan Campbell finished the race roughly a minute and a half behind him in second.
Flowers also seemed to benefit from her trip home, finishing first for the women with a time of 1:30:52, almost six minutes ahead of the next competitor. Having competed in the race as a junior with the Bridger Ski Foundation, she was happy to find success at home especially on the day of her father’s wedding.
According to Newell, the race, which boasts over 2,000 feet of elevation gain, was an excellent way for both him and Flowers to train during an otherwise extremely busy trip to Bozeman.
“We’re here in town for the wedding, but we need to train too,” Newell said. “Doing a running race is a lot more fun than doing intervals. This was a great chance to say hi to the ski community here.”
After the race Newell and Flowers rushed home to prepare for the wedding and its numerous activities that took place later that the day. Newell and Flowers were later recognized for their efforts in the run by the race-organizer during the wedding reception.
Newell and Flowers will continue their summer training in Alaska at the U.S. Ski Team’s on-snow training camp in July.
Lander Karath is FasterSkier's Associate Editor from Bozeman, Montana and a Bridger Ski Foundation alumnus. Between his studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, he is an outdoor enthusiast and a political junkie.