Altitude training center Mancos Project riding high

Center adds improved facility near Summit Reservoir

Abram Albert dumps ice into the barrel for Brock Moreaux to take an ice bath at the Mancos Project training camp near Summit Lake. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Abram Albert dumps ice into the barrel for Brock Moreaux to take an ice bath at the Mancos Project training camp near Summit Lake.

Just over a year ago, a high-altitude-training center catering to distance runners opened near Mancos.

Known as the Mancos Project, the center sought to provide athletes with an opportunity to train in thin air, while living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

The Mancos Project flourished from the start, attracting a small group of high school and college runners from across the U.S. Since then, center organizers has pushed the center to improve.

The center has added an improved facility at the Four Corners Christian Camp near Summit Reservoir. Capable of housing 30 athletes, it features bunkhouses, a rec hall, a kitchen, showers, WiFi and other amenities.

“I think it’s a step up in our facilities,” said Project president Ben Hahn. “We’ve modernized a little bit, but we still have a rustic feel. (The athletes) seem pretty thrilled about that.”

Another notable improvement at the Mancos Project has been the addition of stretching equipment and ice baths designed to give athletes the optimal training experience.

More athletes are training at the center than before.

Speaking about his experience at the Mancos Project, 19-year-old Connecticut native Joseph Rosario said his physical condition has never been better.

“I’m definitely getting in the best shape that I’ve ever been in in my life,” said Rosario, who plans to stay at the center for a month. “I’ve been trying to put in as many miles as I can.”

And while running substantial mileage is certainly one component of training at the center, the chance to appreciate local scenery is also beneficial. At least three times a week, athletes are transported to Haycamp Mesa, Cherry Creek or other locations to train.

“It has been great,” said Terence Murphy, a runner at La Salle University. “I wanted to get away from the distractions, and I have. I’ve been here for two months, taken one day off, and on my day off, I climbed a mountain.”

Such training opportunities and the community environment gives Hahn hope that the center will continue to grow.

“We’ve had phone calls and inquiries from several other countries,” said Hahn. “That’s letting us know that word is starting to get out a little more. I’m looking forward to the future.”

Hahn said that he’d like to attract cyclists, triathletes and other endurance athletes. In addition, the center will continue organizing the Cowboy Half Marathon and other community activities.

“I would just like to thank the communities at large for being so welcoming to our athletes,” said Hahn. “We’ve had great support locally and that is encouraging.”