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Ultramarathon Runner to Pass Through North Park, May 12, 2024

How far would you go for a good cause? Maybe a better question is how far would you run? For Ashley Forshey, the answer to that question right now is about 600 miles. 

Starting off on the Wyoming/Colorado border on HWY 287, she hopes to cross Colorado in two weeks, crossing mountain passes, high country desert plains, and hundreds of miles of unrelenting asphalt road to get to her destination.

Ultramarathon Woman…and More

Ashley Forshey is an ultramarathon runner. While many of us struggle with the idea of running across the street when the crossing light stops flashing, ultramarathon runners push their bodies well into the red when it comes to the limits of human endurance. A marathon is 26.2 miles, whereas an ultramarathon clocks in at double that, and even up to 100 miles or more.

Among her other superpowers, Ashley is a yoga instructor, and a veteran of the US Army, serving as an engineer until 2020. Her involvement with organizations to help veterans, along with her physical endurance has given her a unique way to bring awareness to support veterans.

Hitting the Road Solo for a Good Cause

This is Ashley’s first solo long distance run. Though she has participated in 100 mile races and ultramarathons in the past, not only will the physical aspect of running continuously for nearly two weeks take its toll on her body, but the isolation of such a journey is something that will challenge her mentally as well.

One leg of Ashley’s journey will take her through North Park this weekend, on May 12. At her current pace, she is expected to enter North Park via Cameron pass on HWY 14 and reach Walden, sometime around 7 or 8pm Mountain time (or between 1900 and 2000 for the vets). From Walden, she will continue along HWY 125 towards Rand and then her other destinations as she runs south to her goal near Pagosa Springs, CO.

A Tumultuous Century for Veterans

Since the beginning of the 21st Century, the United States has been involved in some sort of conflict on foreign shores. Multiple generations of men and women have served their country with pride, often surviving horrific experiences in the line of duty. Many of our young men and women didn’t return from these battles, and others who did still struggle with what they experienced. For many veterans, a piece of them was left on the battlefield, and they could spend the rest of their lives trying to put their lives back together.

Mental health access is often difficult for veterans, and between a bureaucratic system that often leaves its service people behind one they have been discharged, or a public that remains ignorant or unsympathetic towards the battles our veterans continue to face at home, life is often difficult. 

Veterans make up a large portion of the current homeless population in an epidemic that is only getting worse, not only in Colorado but all around the nation. Veteran suicide is not uncommon. Organizations supporting mental health awareness in veterans often try to broaden awareness by putting a number to these veteran deaths of 22 per day. In reality, that number could be higher.

A Healing Experience

Ashley uses yoga and running as a way to clear her mind and keep herself physically strong. As a yoga instructor, she teaches yoga to other veterans. Originally a native of New York, Ashley now calls Colorado home, while living in west Vail. As an engineer in the Army she carried on a family tradition of military service which started with her grandfather who served with the Sea Bees during the Vietnam War. 

Her life has been something of an adventure as well. After ending her military service in 2020 as a Captain, she lived in an RV for four years and even trained as a first responder, training in as a firefighter and EMT. It was during these four years of exploring the West that she began running. 

What is Patrol Base Abbate?

The organization Ashley is working with is called Patrol Base Abbate, which “provides a space for all veterans and service members to reconnect around shared interests.” By allowing veterans to rediscover a purpose in their lives, PB Abbate hopes to help out veterans in all walks of life to help them build their best selves for their own happiness as well as their families and communities. 

Combined with her enthusiasm for her own mental health and physical conditioning, Ashley is putting PB Abbate’s mission statement into gear. Not everyone can just start running across one of the biggest states in the USA, with some of the most challenging terrain, even for a long distance runner. By using her skills, Ashley hopes to draw attention to a cause that is near and dear to her heart, as well as pushing herself beyond her own limits in the process.

Rebuilding and Supporting the Lives of Veterans

If you would like to help support Ashley Forshey, check out Patrol Base Abbate’s website and donate to her run. Proceeds go towards not only rebuilding the lives of veterans, but saving them as well. Bringing awareness to what many veterans are struggling with every day helps to build a stronger community, which in turn supports people who gave more than most of us can comprehend in the service of their country. 

Veterans often feel like they are left out of civilian life, and find it difficult to reconnect with those who didn’t share these life-changing experiences. In showing support, you show veterans that they are not taken for granted and there is still a place for them back home. North Park has a long history of its sons and daughters answering the call to serve their country, from World War I all the way up until the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only have we lost our share of fellow North Parkers, but we all know of someone who didn’t get the chance to come back as we once knew them.

Come Out and Support Ashley!

If you are in North Park on the weekend of May 11-12, show your support to Ashley by showing up along her route to cheer her on. She is expected to arrive between 7 and 8pm on May 12th

On the road, with one foot falling in front of the other across hundreds of miles, an experience like this is no doubt a meditative experience, reflecting the isolation so many veterans face every day. Come out to voice your support as Ashley Forshey runs through North Park and give her the welcome she deserves!

Her journey through Colorado will take her through the lonely highways, mountain passes, and plains all the way south, ending near Pagosa Springs. During this time of year, Ashley will need all the support she can get against our temperamental weather and long stretches of open road.

To learn more about Ashley Forshey’s run across Colorado, check out Patrol Base Abbate’s website, as well as Ashley’s social media to follow along with her. Let’s give her a hero’s welcome!


Special thanks to the Vail Daily and Patrol Base Abbate for source info to this story.



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