"Three, two, one... Go!" said Games Director Dave Castro.
Moments earlier, Coach Greg Glassman had opened the Games with a brief speech to loud and enthusiastic crowd gathered in the sunshine at The Ranch.
The athletes, all carrying computer chips, sprinted over the timing pads and across the Stadium to open the run with a loop down the road where James (OPT) Fitzgerald famously duelled Chris Spealler to a sprint finish in the 2007 Games.
About four minutes later, the athletes returned to the Stadium before heading up The Hill for the challenging trail run.
In the lead was Roch Proteau, followed closely by Jeremy Thiel--last year's third-place finisher. The lead was only slight, however, with a large pack of athletes entering the Stadium seconds after. Josh Everett, Jason Khalipa, Pat Barber, Spealler and a host of others jostled for position as they set themselves up for the gruelling climb.
At press time, the top competitors were completing the short inner loop before heading into the California wilderness for the steeper, longer section of the run.