16th annual Summit Trail Running Series returns to Breck on June 14 | SummitDaily.com

16th annual Summit Trail Running Series returns to Breck on June 14

Ask young Zander Reid for the highlight of his trial-running season last summer and he'll immediately tell you about the time he beat mom on the slick, steep, super-fast downhill at Baker's Tank in Breckenridge.

"I really liked that my mom and I could run it together and I beat her," Zander said of the classic Boreas Pass to Baker's Tank route, one of six events in the annual Summit Trail Running Series. "I also like that there is a long road, where you need to have confidence in yourself to make it, and then you have the winding downhill with a lot of roots."

Ask Zander's mom, Ellen, about the moment her 10-year-old first passed her and she'll tell you it wasn't like she was trying to let him win. No, for maybe the first time ever, she was trying to catch up.

"I was thinking, 'I'll just stay behind him, take it easy,'" said Ellen, who also runs in the series with her daughter, Logan. "And then I was sprinting to try and catch up with him."

Back on trail

Kids passing adults is a common sight at the Summit Trail Running Series, where pre-teens like Alayna Szuch and her older brother, Colin, regularly finished in first or second place in the short-course races, followed closely by youngsters with Summit Nordic Ski Club, Summit Endurance Academy and other local programs.

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"I don't pay attention to the competition much," Alayna Szuch told the Summit Daily in 2015 after finishing the Bolder Boulder 10K in 39 minutes flat. "I just try to do the best I can do for me and not worry too much about other people … I ask myself if I'm a man, or a Muppet."

Words to live by for the STRS, which celebrates its 16th season on June 14 at the Morning Thunder/BEOC trail run just outside of Breckenridge Resort. The series is a favorite for runners of all ages, from 10-year-old Zander Reid and now-13-year-old Alayna Szuch to three or four stalwarts in the 70-plus division, and this season promises more of the same from a Summit institution.

But is more of the same old, same old a bad thing? Not really, said Cody Aidala, the town of Breckenridge's new sports and special events coordinator.

"One thing we were thinking with keeping the courses similar is to give people a chance to beat PRs — maybe beat what they did last year or earlier this year," said Aidala, who took over for former sports coordinator Brian Schaefer. "But we're just always thinking about finding new ways to keep people active up here."

Thunder on the mountain

Every race in the series features a short and long-course option, and the Morning Thunder premiere is no different. It's the mellowest of the summer — 4K for short, 7K for long, both with less than 500 vertical feet of climbing — and that makes it a perfect way to get back into the running groove.

"This builds community and really helps the kids build confidence and fitness," Ellen Reid said of the trail series. "It gets kids outside and active and getting to know our local trail system, so when they're older and can get out on their own, they're comfortable with it."

The STRS might be perfect for kids, but there's also plenty of love for adults, including post-race parties after every event. The first one is held at Napper Tandy's in Breckenridge, where Aidala and crew will hand out prizes for top-three finishers in each division and distance, plus drink and food specials.

Free socks and cheap burgers mean little to Zander Reid, though. He's already looking forward to the Baker's Tank 4K on July 12, when he hopes to outrun mom one more time.

"I really like how your feet are moving beneath you, like you're floating," Zander Reid said of trail running. "I just want to go out and have another fun year."

2017 Summit Trail Running Series

All events feature long and short courses and are held on Wednesdays at 6 p.m., weather depending.

June 14 — Morning Thunder/BOEC, 4K and 7K

June 28 — French Gulch, 5K and 8K

July 12 — Baker’s Tank, 4K and 9K

July 26 — Horseshoe Gulch, 6K and 14K

August 2 — Carter Park, 8K and 14K

August 16 — Flumes trails/Tom’s Baby, 7K and 11K


Morning Thunder/BOEC trail race

What: The first race for the 16th season of the Summit Trail Running Series, held on flowy, roller-coaster singletrack and dirt road at the base of Breckenridge Resort

When: Wednesday, June 14 at 6 p.m.

Where: South Gondola Lot in Breckenidge

Cost: $25 for adults, $5 for kids

Day-of registration is $27 for adults. A six-race series pass is available for $100 (18 years and older) and $25 (10-17 years old). Runners must register for the season pass by noon on June 14. To register and find out more, including course maps and previews for all races, see BreckenridgeRecreation.com.