Brett cruises to Crest marathon victory |

Brett cruises to Crest marathon victory

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Boulderite Phil Delamere leads a large pack of marathoners out at the base of Breckenridge's Peak 9 Sunday morning in the annual Breckenridge Crest Mountain Marathon.

BRECKENRIDGE Before this year, Paul Brett’s recent Labor Day weekend plans had always revolved around the Colorado-Colorado State football game. A diehard Rams fan (and CSU alumnus), he’d made a habit of attending the Rocky Mountain Showdown in person.This year, however, Brett couldn’t get tickets to Saturday’s game in Boulder. So he gave in to peer pressure and entered the 11th annual Breckenridge Crest Mountain Marathon on Sunday. After powering to victory by nearly 12 minutes on the scenic yet grueling 24.5-mile course, a race which he calls “by far the coolest to win,” Brett may have found a new (and, yes, laborious) way to spend the Labor Day weekend in future years.The 32-year-old Silverthorne resident finished in 3 hours, 40 minutes and 22 seconds, passing runner-up Steve Cavalli (3:52:03) of Broomfield about halfway through the course on his way to the win. For Brett, the key to winning was getting plenty of rest and fuel the day before. “I ate all day yesterday,” he said. “I laid around all day. I didn’t do anything. And it helped, because I was pretty fresh.”

Cavalli thought for most of the race that it was his to lose. But for a guy whose previous best Crest marathon finish was fifth, in 2000, leading the race wasn’t as easy as chasing the leader. “I kept looking around and didn’t see anybody, and then about 10 miles in I saw Paul, and I said, ‘Oh s—.’ … I don’t run very well out front,” Cavalli said.Boulder’s Bob Africa took third (3:54:51), while Breck runners Danny Teodoru (fifth, 4:08:58) and Duke Barlow (eighth, 4:14:55) also cracked the top 10.In the women’s marathon, Pueblo’s Kaija Staley outlasted Kirsten Kindt of Boulder to win in 4:08:58, a little more than nine minutes faster than Kindt. Staley camped out on the shore of Dillon Reservoir Saturday night, then passed Kindt about eight miles into the race on Sunday morning to enable the win. Still, there was hardly any bad blood between the two women. “She’s just as sweet as they come,” said Kindt, who finished third overall the only other time she ran the Crest marathon. “She would say, ‘Well, come on with me.’ And I said, ‘Oh, you’re starting to speed up, I’m starting to slow down.’ And she said, ‘You don’t know that!'”Becky Wheeler (4:25:47) finished third among women, followed by Breckenridge local Kate Lapides (4:38:17). Martha Lunsky (sixth, 4:49:15) and Jaime Falcon (eighth, 4:54:53) gave Summit two more top-10 locals, and Breck’s Anne Chapman finished 11th (5:01:36).

According to Barlow, who ran the marathon for the first time on Sunday, there are plenty of reasons the race is nationally revered and it’s not just because of the blizzard that pummeled last year’s race. “It’s pretty relentless. I don’t know how you can match it for beauty, as well,” Barlow said, noting it’s sometimes hard to focus on the task at hand running the race when there’s so much eye-filling splendor everywhere you look. The “Tenmile” half-marathon doesn’t go all the way to Frisco on top of the Tenmile Range, like the marathon does, but Sunday it still featured its share of intrigue. Both the men’s and women’s race leaders ventured off course on the downhill homestretch, paving the way for others to claim victory.Boulder’s Andy Ames, a two-time Crest marathon runner-up, would’ve won the men’s half-marathon, but instead Lakewood’s John Bonnett took top honors in 2:04:07 by outsprinting Mark Vessely (2:04:08), also of Lakewood, and Kentucky’s Steve Kral (2:04:18). Bonnett, 23, is a forensics consultant for the Colorado Supreme Court.On the women’s side, U.S. Mountain Running Team veteran Anita Ortiz of Eagle was winning by a healthy margin before a wrong turn on the descent allowed CSU student and Buena Vista native Jennah Keidel to win in 2:06:31.

Ortiz, who wanted to run the marathon but decided instead to save energy for the mountain running world championships later this month in New Zealand, estimated she lost four or five minutes due to her blunder, which “totally bums me out.” Still, she conceded after taking second in 2:07:44, “I pretty much take a wrong turn every race.”Summit’s Monica Wilson and Jill Walker finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the women’s half-marathon.Breck runners Patrick Neel (39:03) and Meghan Newlin (52:37) swept the 5-mile race to kick off the day. Kyle Ahern, another from Breck, finished third in the men’s 5-mile overall standings (41:56).Finish line: In all, nearly 400 runners competed in one of Sunday’s three races, the proceeds from which benefit the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. … The half-marathon, with a field of 183, attracted the most. … A more comprehensive results list will be printed in the Summit Daily News later this week.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or

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