Colorado Running Festival at Copper Mountain winners each found reasons to excel |

Colorado Running Festival at Copper Mountain winners each found reasons to excel

Breeana Laughlin
Summit Daily/Breeana Laughlin

The winner of yesterday’s Colorado Running Festival duathlon race at Copper Mountain is, of course, good at running and bicycling. But he admits those are not his passions.

“I’m motivated by food,” Littleton resident Lance Risi said. “I live to eat. I like to run so I can eat what I want. I’m not getting paid for it so it’s the only other incentive.”

Duathlon participants started with a 5K loop that included a 300-foot elevation gain.

“For me, it was really hard to get going at this elevation. I struggled to get a good rhythm in the first mile,” Risi said.

After the first running leg, the athletes hopped onto their bikes and rode for three miles on a dirt road. Then they ditched their bikes and had to run another 5K trail loop with an elevation gain of 600 feet.

“I think my adrenaline pushed me through into the second run. I didn’t have time to think about it,” Risi said.

Risi just happened to be friends with the woman who finished in the No. 1 spot.

Marketa Murray, originally from Czech Republic, now lives in the Littleton. She had motivations of her own at yesterday’s duathlon.

“I wanted to beat my husband,” she said. “I beat him on the first run and he beat me on the bike, so I wanted to beat him again on the second run.”

Colorado Running Festival organizers aim to provide a unique blend of difficulty to suit beginner, intermediate and experienced runners.

The three-day festival is an expansion of the former Copper Mountain Half Marathon and 10K. Events included a twilight run on Friday and the duathlon and a marathon relay on Saturday. Today’s events include the signature half marathon and the 10K trail run.

Race owner Jeff Stoner said the Copper Mountain event is one of his favorites.

“Copper has a lot going on for families to come and hang out for the entire weekend,” he said. “You have a lot of people here from all walks of life doing a lot of different activities. It helps add to the festival.”

There are a total of eight events in the endurance trail race series, which attracts about 4,000 runners.

“We are trying to work with and build a good relationship with each of the communities and develop something people can come out and have fun with,” Stoner said.

About 350 people signed up for the Colorado Running Festival over the course of the weekend. Stoner said attendance is down about 20 percent from last year.

“It’s a little shy from what we’ve had the last couple of years, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact we re-branded the event name,” he said.

Stoner said he plans to continue to adjust and grow the Copper Mountain event.

He said he’s also working to integrate each of the races in the endurance series by developing a point championship.

“If you get people who want to compete in all eight events, those people will have the chance to win additional prizes just by competing and doing well in the events,” he said.

Organizers said they’ll allow day-of registration for today’s half marathon and 10K races, which start at 9 a.m.

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