Results from the first 2015 Summit Trail Running Series race at French Gulch | SummitDaily.com

Results from the first 2015 Summit Trail Running Series race at French Gulch

Leo Wolfson
Special to the Daily

Despite muddy conditions, the 14th annual Summit Trail Running Series started strong on June 10 at French Gulch in Breckenridge.

The initial plan was to offer both 4K and 8K options, but portions of the course were still too sloppy at race time. As a result, the 8K was shortened to a 6K — a welcome change of pace for some runners.

"I was pretty excited about it," Dani Zatkoff, of Silverthorne, said with a laugh.

Races that cater to elite runners would have likely kept the original distance, but that's not the mission of the Summit Trail Running Series.

"We wanted to make it so that even if you're not a competitive runner, you can still enjoy the events," event organizer Brian Schaefer said. "There are a variety of divisions, so even kids can get into the competitive atmosphere."

Around 170 participants showed up, which event organizers deemed a great turnout for the series opener. Of the total, 46 racers were younger than 18 years old, leading to five different kid's divisions. Event organizers say it was one of the deepest kid's fields in the past 14 years.

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"We just want to get more youth running and show them all the great trails that we have in the area," Schaefer said.

It may have been a family-friendly event, yet the race was anything but tame.

A quick elevation gain greeted runners near the start, leading participants from a dirt road onto the maze of trails that make up French Gulch. The area is a very challenging place to run, with wooded hills and sharp changes in elevation. The pitter-pat sound of feet on dirt cascaded through the trees, and exertion showed on the faces of fatigued runners, providing an interesting contrast to the tranquility of the peaceful woods.

"You don't realize how steep it is until you start running it; but, once I got used to it, I almost found the downhill portions harder," Dee Cartelli, of Breckenridge, explained.

"The hills were hard," said 10-year-old Kyle Kimball, of Dillon, one of the youngest runners at the race. "I definitely felt a little rusty."

Some participants, however, were also able to use the downhill portions to their advantage.

"If you have the right form on the downhill sections you can use them to regain energy," Robert Kanienski of, Winter Park, said. "I've gotten a lot better at hills because I've been running this race for a couple years now."

Young and old

Even with a challenging course and dozens of pre-teen runners, French Gulch brought out amazing performances from the serious-minded adult competitors, and, as the race wore on, winners started to emerge.

In the long-course event, Liam Meirow was the overall winner with a time of 25:55. For women's short distance, Ruthie Boyd won with a sizzling-fast time of 23:02.

On the youth end, 11-year old Lasse Konecy was very impressive, winning the men's 10-12 group to finish third overall on the short course. Ashlyn Lewis won the women's 10-12 with a time of 27:25.

Many attendees were families that ran together, giving it a community vibe that most races just don't have. This coming-together-in-Breckenridge mentality was heightened by the fact that many runners were previous participants who return to the series, year after year.

"I've seen a lot of the same people over the last couple years," Zatkoff said with a wry smile. "You recognize some people you start to want to beat. There was a lady with a purple hat I would always compete with, but, unfortunately, she didn't show up tonight."

The fun kept going long after the last runner crossed the finish, with a post-race celebration at Napper Tandy's in Breckenridge. There was a raffle and one free beer for all participants of legal age. All trail runs will feature a post-race party, and, at the end of the season, division winners will be honored with plaques and gear from The North Face.

"I love these races because road racing can get boring after a while," Zatkoff said between swigs of beer, "And the fact that they're on Wednesdays is great because it's something to look forward to in the middle of the week."

The series continues on June 24 with the Morning Thunder run at Breckenridge Ski Resort. See the Town of Breckenridge website to sign up for individual races or the entire series.

French Gulch trail run results

Men’s long course (6K)

1. Liam Meirow, 25:55

2. Travis Macy, 26:39

3. Olof Hedberg, 27:49

Women’s long course (6K)

1. Clare Gallagher, 30:47

2. Jen Schappert, 31:33

3. Sadie Cotton, 33:45

Men’s short course (4K)

1. Henry Trowbridge, 21:19

2. Steve Jones, 24:07

3. Lasse Konecy, 24:10

Women’s short course (4K)

1. Ruthie Boyd, 23:02

2. McKenna Ramsay, 25:17

3. Noelle Resignolo, 25:19