TWIN FALLS — If the name MotherStubber Gnarly Trail Run is synonymous with runners getting banged up and bruised, then this year’s race held true to the title.
In its third year, Saturday’s race offered competitors a rolling trail through sage, lava rock, and canyon floor terrain. It is the only organized trail race in town and offers the Gnarly 20k, Gnarly 10K, and Gnarly 5K routes along dirt and gravel trails with scenic vistas of the Snake River.
What began smoothly on a cool and crisp 40-degree morning quickly became one runner’s demise at Auger Falls.
Emily Cook took her mark at the starting line of the 20K race a couple of minutes before 9 a.m. Saturday with 16 other racers. The countdown started, she leaned in and then bolted quickly from the gate — setting the pace for the women’s group.
“Today was a great race; I really enjoyed it,” Cook said at the finish line. “The weather was better than ever.”
The Twin Falls native finished over 10 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Ruth Gilmartin, but Cook had her own troubles on the course. Merging onto River View trail from the parking lot of Auger Falls, she stumbled and dislocated the middle finger on her right hand.
“Around mile 9, right after passing the bathrooms on the return section, I tripped,” Cook said. “I tried to catch myself and landed right on my hands.”
Despite a dislocated finger for the last 3 miles, Cook finished the race in first place, with a time of 1:53:00.4. Immediately after crossing the finish line, she searched for someone to take a photo of her dislocated finger — before even asking what her time was.
“Is it broken or dislocated?” she asked race volunteers and other spectators at the finish line.
After 10 minutes in her cool-down phase, she said her finger was really starting to throb.
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The trails at Auger Falls can be tough on a rider’s tires and a runner’s feet. Another female runner, Jill Wilson, stumbled on Acid Trail shortly after the start. The 26 miles of trails are a mixed bag of sandy and silty single-track, riddled with jutting rocks, small step-ups and sage overgrowth.
In order to keep the trails at Auger Falls maintained, the nonprofit Magic Valley Trail Enhancement Committee's Dirt Trail Alliance and the local army (Bull Moose Bicycles, Epic Elevation Sports, CSI Outdoor Rec., and others) host clean-up days in the canyon throughout the year. The organization sponsored the race.
“The money we raised from today’s entrants goes to MaVTEC for work on the trails,” MaVTEC manager Jaime Tigue said. “We use the money to enhance the trails already there and increase access. It can go to help with easements, supply equipment or even buy land.”
Tigue also relayed how the name MotherStubber Gnarly Race was conceived. A fellow girlfriend of Tigue’s, Lorinda Horner, and others were brainstorming names, and in typical Horner fashion, the words “MotherStubber” spilled from her lips.
“The name of the event started out as a joke initially,” Tigue said. “The race name kind of sounds like a swear word, kind of like the stubbing your toe sound.”
A potato bar and cold beer from Magic Valley Brewing, along with DJ music, awaited runners at the finish line.
All finishers took home a swag bag with a shirt and a medal from the race.
In all, 84 participants entered the race and 83 finished.
Correction: It was reported that MavTEC is responsible for the hosting of clean up days at Auger Falls. MavTEC's sub-committee the Dirt Trail Alliance along with other businesses and volunteers in Twin Falls are responsible for the upkeep on the trails. The Times-News regrets this error and has updated the story with the correct information.