Rising Summit High School sophomore Zach McBride wins Frisco Solo Series men’s virtual race
Kacey Donner wins overall race after University of Wyoming season was canceled
FRISCO — Rising Summit High School cross-country runner Zach McBride wasn’t going to let a running camp cancellation due to the pandemic stop his progress ahead of the 2020 season.
While his close friend and fellow Tigers freshman running standout Dom Remeikis is at the 21-day Team Prep USA running camp in Gunnison, McBride last week won the men’s division of the first virtual Frisco Solo Running Series race of the summer. For McBride, the men’s race win on the 6-mile course on the Frisco Peninsula Recreation Area came after his own 10-day version of the Team Prep USA camp was canceled due to COVID-19.
But heading into his sophomore year, McBride and Tigers head coach Heather Quarantillo expect a step forward for McBride after he gained the experience last year of racing at the state meet with his older, more experienced teammates. Heading into next season, McBride is running seven days a week on the Frisco Peninsula, the Flume trails in Breckenridge and on the Summit County recpath to hopefully improve his 5,000-meter time from a best of 17:15 last fall to in the neighborhood of 16 minutes this autumn.
McBride found out he’d won the virtual race when he attended Breck locals Eva and Mike Hagen’s running camp based out of the Mount Royal area of Frisco later on Friday. When he arrived at camp, Hagen looked at the Strava GPS application statistics the town of Frisco was using to put on the race, and she told McBride he was in first place with his time of 44 minutes, 40 seconds. But as the unofficial leaderboard was dynamic, he still had 2 1/2 hours of results to dodge for the win.
“It was kind of weird not having anyone around you,” McBride said about the virtual format. “I feel as if I am able to go faster when getting chased by a person. So this made this race more mental. It’s tougher to imagine a person ahead of you or directly behind you. But overall, I thought it was a good experience.”
The overall and women’s champion of the first virtual race was Kacey Donner, 22, of Fort Collins, who crossed the finish line in 42:54 on Thursday morning. Donner just weeks ago graduated from the University of Wyoming, where she ran Division I cross-country and track and field. Since Donner’s senior track-and-field season was cut short months ago due to COVID-19, the Frisco virtual race was her first competition since the pandemic hit.
Donner was keeping an eye on the Strava data through Friday afternoon before she got the email from town of Frisco Assistant Recreation Director Linsey Joyce that she’d won.
“I’m up here with some family right now, and I saw it in the newspaper and thought it’d be a fun thing to try,” Donner said. “It gives me something to try and to train for and push myself a little more. It was definitely different than anything I’d done before. But I thought it was a creative way to host this race. It was definitely difficult at times to push yourself and stay motivated with no one else with you, but it was a different kind of challenge I enjoyed.”
Donner bested a pair of Summit County locals in the women’s division, including runner-up Whitney Henceroth (47:15) and third-place finisher Nikki LaRochelle (49:35).
In the men’s race, McBride’s time of 44:40 was nearly a minute faster than runner-up Joshua Blanchard (45:34) and more than a minute faster than third-place runner Adam Feerst (45:46).
For 40-year-old Silverthorne resident Blanchard, the virtual race meant a lot as it was his first competition since COVID-19 dashed his plans to race in the Boston Marathon this spring. Blanchard qualified for the world’s most revered marathon after a strong race at the St. George Marathon in St. George, Utah.
The last races Blanchard toed the start line in were a couple of half-marathons in February. He said last week’s virtual Frisco Solo Series was just what he needed because, even if he ran the course Friday morning with few people around, it was a reminder that one is a part of a larger running community in Summit County.
“I’m always inspired by other runners, whether someone is running at their pinnacle fitness or it’s just someone who has set a goal, because we are all struggling through a race, so I did miss that,” Blanchard said. “But even just knowing that there was a spirit of competition involved and you’re running against the clock, yourself, it was really fun and kept me going.”
On Wednesday, the town of Breckenridge will host its first virtual race of the summer trail-running series while the town of Frisco will run the second race of its series next week. For more information and to sign up, visit: TownofFrisco.com/play/frisco-solo-series or BreckenridgeRecreation.com/programs/special-events-and-tournaments/summit-trail-running-series.
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