PHOTOS: Summit County youth overcome wet conditions, dominates French Gulch trail race
As cars started to stream into the B&B trailhead parking lot off French Gulch Road in Breckenridge, thunder started to boom and rain started to steadily pour down from the sky.
While many people peeled out of the parking lot after a jaunt on their bike, others exited the warmth of the interior of their cars in order to compete in the second of six scheduled Summit Trail Running Series races on Wednesday, May 31.
Part of the town of Breckenridge Recreation Department, the Summit Trail Running Series and the Summit Mountain Challenge strives to get people together in the community to challenge their fitness on local trails via trail running or mountain biking.
After hosting the first race in the series in Dillon on May 17, the French Gulch race consisted of both a short course and a long course on the trail system surrounding the B&B trailhead.
The French Gulch short course race was advertised as a 3.43-mile race with over 459 feet of elevation gain, while the long course race was marked for 5.34 miles with 652 feet of total elevation gain.
The short course race ended up being marked short of the prescribed mileage with the race being closer to 2.5 miles with 350 feet of elevation gain.
At the front of the short course race field were several standout Summit High School and Summit Middle School distance runners who were willing to brave the cold rain and slippery course.
Leading the pack was incoming sophomore Cain Steinweg, who completed the course in 18 minutes, 17 seconds in order to win his second 2023 Summit Trail Running Series race.
Steinweg was followed by his new Summit High School cross-country teammates Jay McDonald and Lukas Remeikis, who tied for second place with a time of 18:40.
The Peak School graduate and University of Utah commit Nina Schamberger was the next athlete to cross the finish line. Schamberger showed off her aerobic engine from Nordic skiing by completing the short course in 19:17, earning fourth place.
Elliot Drumwright, 11, placed fifth (20:17); Malachi Love, 14, took sixth (20:23); Cooper Levi, 13, placed seventh (20:55); and Shane Nelson, 47, placed eighth (21:09).
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To the surprise of onlookers and fellow competitors, young talent continued to punch top-15 finishes in the short course. Danny Butler placed ninth (21:11), John McDonald placed 11th (21:18), Bodhi Adnan took 12th (22:47) and Adaline Avery finished in 13th (23:19).
The long course race was also dominated by Summit County locals. Breckenridge resident Joshua Ernst began the race in the front pack of runners and was able to eventually emerge from the forest in first place.
Ernst finished in a time of 33:00, 45 seconds ahead of second-place runner Dominic Baker.
Breckenridge resident Alicia Vargo took third and was the first female runner to cross the finish line with a time of 34:16. Frisco resident and ski mountaineering athlete Arthur Whitehead finished in fourth (34:30), while Mark Martin-Williams finished in fifth (35:42).
Aria Paxton placed 11th (39:44) and Jennifer Schappert finished in 15th (40:520.
The next Summit Trail Running Series race will take place June 14 at the Gold Run Road trailhead in Breckenridge. The next Summit Mountain Challenge mountain bike race — Country Boy Contest — will take place next week on Wednesday, June 7.
To sign up for either race, visit BreckenridgeRecreation.com.
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