Khristopher Dunham, owner of Khristopher's Culinaire, has become an ultramarathoner.
By Sheridan Block
If he's not in his corner kitchen shop on Main Street, Khristopher Dunham can be found up on a mountain trail training for his next ultramarathon.
An increasingly popular sport, ultramarathon running is a distance race longer than the typical 26 mile marathon. The most common distances are 50K (31 miles), 100K (62 miles), 50 miles and 100 miles.
While he was never an avid runner prior to ultrarunning, Dunham did participate in several of Ouray's summer race series. Being a newcomer to the sport, he received his first taste of distance running as a pacer for Silverton's Hardrock 100 in July. During a segment of the run, Dunham paced a racer for 50 miles over Engineer and Black Bear passes.
Ever since the Hardrock 100, the owner of Khristopher's Culinaire has been hooked. Dunham said after the Silverton race he began to train a little harder and research the ultrarunning sport more. Just last month, he participated in the Devil Mountain Ultra 50K in Pagosa Springs. Despite not having much time to train for the race, Dunham managed to place third in his age group of males between 40 and 49.
"I'm pretty impulsive. I just go with things pretty quick," he said of the short time he had to train for the race.
Currently, Dunham is preparing for his next set of ultramarathons in the upcoming year. This week, he signed up for Moab's Red Hot 55K Ultra Marathon in February, and he is also planning on participating in three others over the summer, including the Hardrock 100.
Ultimately, Dunham's goal is to compete in the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). The race is a single stage mountain ultramarathon in the Alps, taking runners through France, Italy and Switzerland. The distance for the run is 166 kilometers (103 miles). Racers must qualify to participate and it is considered the most difficult foot race in Europe. All of the races Dunham will participate in next year will help him qualify for UTMB in 2015, he said.
The aspect of ultrarunning that attracts him most is nature. Dunham said he feels right at home running great distances at higher elevations.
"I really do enjoy being up high in the mountains, running far and being in nature," said Dunham. "It kind of just became something I really enjoy and look forward to."
Having conquered the business world, Dunham is on his way and looking forward to taking on the ultrarunning world, one step at a time.