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450 runners took on the challenge of a lifetime at the Red Bull 400Submitted: 05/13/2018
Story By Katie Leszcynski

450 runners took on the challenge of a lifetime at the Red Bull 400
IRONWOOD, MI - The Copper Peak Sky Flying Hill in Ironwood transformed into a different kind of hill this weekend. Copper Peak hosted its first ever Red Bull 400 on Saturday. 

The rules were simple, all you had to do was run to the top.

"I don't know, it just sounded like fun," said Tanner Hermes from Duluth, Minnesota.

Fun wasn't the word anyone used after the race.

"Hard. It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be," said Hermes.

450 runners took the challenge, all based off the description they found online.

"We got here and we saw the size of the hill and we said, 'oh wow, that's a lot bigger than the pictures'," said Stephanie Knutson from Ontario, Canada.

Knutson and her partner Roger Boyer Jr. made a drastic life change within the last year. 

"I was 396 pounds and I woke up that morning and looked at the sun and thought, 'today's the day I'm going to change or I'm going to die'," said Boyer Jr.

He's lost 150 pounds in 11 months and they wanted a big way to celebrate that accomplishment.

"Here we are! We did it," said Knutson.

The Red Bull event was the big challenge the runners were hoping for. The steepest 400 meter race in the world tested more than their quads and lungs, it tested gravity.

"If you leaned back too far, you felt like you were going to fall over backwards," said Hermes.

This was the first event that's been on the hill since 1994. Copper Peak is trying to change that and get ski jumping back in Ironwood. They're hoping that with the help of the Red Bull 400, it can happen in the next few years.

"I hope that more people are aware of this and it brings more tourism to the area," said Hermes.

Just like the runners, Copper Peak is hoping to take that challenge one step at a time.

"This is a good metaphor for life. You're sitting at the bottom looking at something that seems so impossible to accomplish. But if you take one step at a time and keep moving forward and listen to all the positive things around you, you're going to make it," said Knutson.

22-year-old Ian Torchia from Marquette, MI won the men's race with a time of 4:47.5.

25-year-old Anna Mooi from Ironwood, MI won the women's race with a time of 7:15.3.




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