Summit Trail Running Series: Participants unfazed by weather and course mischief
The 2013 Summit Trail Running Series wrapped up Wednesday evening with its final races, 7K and 11K courses on Flumes and Tom’s Baby trails. Runners didn’t let stormy weather, a brief downpour or course tampering dampen their spirits as they crossed the finish with smiles, high-fiving one another and offering congratulations. Many didn’t even notice that someone had removed some of the course markers prior to the race.
“It was great,” said short-course winner and local triathlete Scott Archer. “I think this course is everyone’s favorite.”
A number of other participants were overheard echoing his sentiments.
“It’s one of the few in Summit County you can go fast on,” he said.
With only 642 feet of elevation gain, the final race in the series offered one of the flattest courses.
“The other ones are a lot more grueling,” Tim Richards of Breckenridge said.
Archer finished the 7K course in 36 minutes, 30 seconds. Alyana Szuch finished first for the women in 40:58.
Lucas Crespin of Steamboat Springs finished the 11K course first with a 50:12 time. It was his first time competing in this year’s series.
“I was just in town for work,” he said at the finish. “I love the mid-week series (races).”
April Thomas was the first female long-course finisher with a 57:15 time.
While it didn’t substantially affect the race, mischief struck an event for the second time this summer as race organizers reported someone had pulled course markers prior to the start of the race. Officials didn’t realize the disruption until the race was underway. But racers reported minimal confusion, in part because many were already familiar with the course.
“I think it’s lame, but whatever. A lot of people that do these races know where they’re going,” Summit County resident Teague Holme said after the race.
Series organizer Brian Schafer called the course tampering “absolutely frustrating,” pointing out that events like the Summit Trail Running Series are good for the community and often generate tourism revenue.
One racer said he had to backtrack a little, but most managed to figure out the course. Apparently only the short-course was affected by the disruption.
Schaefer credited the work of volunteers stationed at key trail intersections for minimizing confusion.
Earlier this month the organizers of the Breck Epic six-stage mountain bike race reported a similar incident during one of the stages of their race. A marshal pre-riding the course witnessed a few individuals in an SUV pulling course markers and throwing them in the woods. He was able to replace the signs in time and also take a picture of the vehicle used by the men who tampered with the course.
“It’s a really cowardly thing to do,” Archer said.
Schaefer, who works for the Breckenridge recreation department, said that in the future they will also have volunteers scout courses prior to an event.
Wednesday’s race also included what may have been the series’ most well traveled competitors as Martin Cliffe and Joanne Moore of northwestern England took part.
“We always do holidays that are active,” the British natives said.
The couple came to the states for vacation and to compete in the Pikes Peak Half Marathon, earlier this month. Staying in Boulder, they found out about Wednesday evening’s race online.
Both really enjoyed their visit and the challenge of racing at altitude. Cliffe especially enjoyed the scenery.
Moore said, “It’s the first time we’ve been to the states. People are so welcoming.”
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