A San Luis Obispo man is heading overseas 7,642 miles away to compete in a once-in-a-lifetime challenge.
San Luis Obispo resident and CFO of Morris and Garritano Gabe Garcia is preparing to compete in the Snowman race in Bhutan.
“What Gabe is doing is definitely a little bit more extreme,” said Tera Dube, a San Luis Obispo runner.
“I've run marathons, kind of graduated from there into ultramarathons, and kind of was just an everyday middle of the pack runner,” said Garcia.
The race is a 130-mile ultramarathon over five days at high altitudes ranging from 9,500 feet at the start with a peak altitude of 18,000 feet.
“I started running in my early twenties,” said Garcia. “I was a CPA working long hours and I just needed something to get away from that deskwork.”
The race is intended to inspire those involved to learn about climate change.
“They have the third largest glacier system there and it's melting at a rapid pace,” said Garcia. “They're kind of putting on the race as a call to action using us runners to get the message out.”
The 49-year-old has trained for the event since 2020.
The race was delayed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.
“Each year, I've geared up for it started to ramp up my training and then had to pull back and kind of mentally reset,” said Garcia.
The race will consist of 30 elite racers, including 20 of the faster international runners.
“You first set to start just building a base and just being able to run long distances,” said Garcia. “As you get closer to the race, you really need to start to focus specifically on what the environments going to look like.”
Garcia has spent the majority of his training on the Central Coast.
“I do about 90 percent of my training in San Luis Obispo,” said Garcia. “I run up Sierra San Luis every Wednesday with a group. When I can't fit it in early morning lunch time, I'll run here at the office on the treadmill.”
Garcia works out during early mornings with other local runners.
“There is a group of us that we all run together,” said Garcia. “We go in at five and meeting up at the mountain.”
“We're all from different walks of life,” said Dube. “To get together and have this bond is really special.”
While the group runs long distances, Garcia’s race is out of the norm even for them.
“It's not out of the ordinary for any one of us to just go out and do one of these events,” said Dube. “He's done all the work that he needs to do to get this done. I'm very confident that this is going to be an exciting experience for him.”
It also offers an opportunity for racers to spread awareness of climate change.
Garcia leaves on Monday, October 3rd.
The race begins October 13th and will continue on through the 17th.
To track Garcia's status in the race, click here.