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Copy for The Durango Telegraph

Durango, CO –  He’s UP and at it again!  Local mountain athlete and native Durangatang, Steve Ilg, not only beyond Double Everested the Sky Stairs but had to call his support crew out for the third performance in the final day of the 9-day DGR (DeMoor Global Racing) Distance Classic in the Vertical Challenge category to pull off a scintillating last-minute effort to surge past a Polish ultra-runner minutes before the midnight finish, Sunday, May 23rd, 2021.   Ilg’s stats – available for all to see on Strava – are mind-numbing.  For anyone who has even done a few consecutive laps of the Sky Stairs (which Ilg, a long-time Crew Leader for Durango Trails, helped envision, advocate for, and build), the mere thought of climbing 62,012′ up the 500+ steps which gain 250′ of vert per lap is enough to feel the knees buckle and the lower back cramp.  By the finish, Ilg ran, jogged, walked, and crawled 249 laps up the stairs.  Oh?  And? He pulled off this “W” over a stacked international field at age 59.   “Yup, over the course of my life, I’ve pulled off a LOT of really stupid endeavors.   Yet, this one?  Yeah, it’s on my podium of stupidest.  Just super stoked we got the “W” because my crew support – shout out to my Wholistic Fitness® student Caroline Eastburn – sponsors, and to my family who really all came together for 9-days to get the job done.  All I had to do is keep going UP!”    That’s putting it mildly.  Ilg, having falling behind the Polish ultra-runner, Nicholas Dermine,  because he chose to participate in his 13 year-old daughter’s Baptism during the penultimate night instead of running,  was forced to climb the 37-degree average gradient of the Sky Steps at a rate of 250′ per 7-minutes for, listen to it;  9-hours to get the Win by finishing a bit over 800′ higher than Nicholas.   “It was awesome to get to know a lot of the recreational fitness warriors who rely on those ‘Sacred Stairs’ as a regular workout.  So honored to be a part of helping create the Stairs!  Hearing the folks cheering for me and feeling the surge of international support for me through my social was really all the spiritual jet fuel I needed to do whatever it took to get the Win!”  Ilg placed 6th OA in the Merry Vertmas international vert race in December and used that experience to rely on low-altitude, high gradient consistency instead of big vert in the high country, “I feel like my team’s mathematical precision and consistency proved the superior method and execution.”  Evidently.   You can see a two-part Documentary of this inspiring win for what ilg calls, “Us ancient athletes,” on his YouTube Channel.  Part Two of the documentary will air at 6a, Monday, May 31st, 20 21.

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final top five of 14 international ultra runners at the 2021 DGR Vertical Challenge

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