Results from the 2015 Summit Trail Running Series in Breckenridge
Special to the Daily
With September now here, summer is once again bidding a final farewell to Summit County and warm-weather races.
The Summit Trail Running Series held its sixth and final race of the season on Saturday, Aug. 26. Held on Tom’s Baby and the Flumes trails near the Breckenridge Golf Course, race No. 6 offered a new set of challenges not seen in the Trail Series so far. Although relatively flat compared to other series stops, the highly-technical trail was the biggest challenge.
“It’s a really rocky course, even the flat parts,” competitor Mark Martin-Williams said. “You look around (and), you see a lot of people with bloody knees after this race.”
Rocks often appeared on sudden, steep undulations, creating sections of trail that looked more like stone staircases than a dirt path.
“I was getting so tired that I wasn’t lifting, so I was stumbling on a lot of rocks,” runner Hannah Maly explained. “That end part is pretty technical, and I saw someone go down, so that was a little scary.”
These rock gardens were at their worst through the final portion of the course, with a handful of boulder-strewn twists and turns in the final mile. Thankfully, most got through unscathed, with some even emitting a whoop or holler as they passed by.
In the 7K short course race, Alayna Szuch snagged her third overall short-course win of the series with a blazing-fast time of 36:48.
On the 11K long course, Casey Schwenk got his first men’s overall win of the season at 51:15, while past series champion April Thomas took first for the women with a time of 52:57.
Champs of all ages
Following the race, everyone gathered at Breckenridge Golf Course for a celebration banquet, where prizes and awards were given out for the top series performances.
One of the most impressive was 69-year-old Elliot Henry, who ran the long course in every series race this year and was the men’s 60-plus long course overall winner. Although he was often the only runner in his age group, Elliot was not discouraged, taking pride in the fact that he was out running when many of his peers no longer can.
“Each year, I get a little bit slower, but I’m still doing it, so that’s the main thing,” he said. “As long as I’m just hanging in there, I’m happy. My parents have good genes, I think.”
On the other side of the age spectrum, the series also saw higher youth participation than even before. Bringing more kids to the series has been a perfect recipe for breeding dedicated runners in Summit, according to series organizer Brian Schaefer.
“Kids are going to be the future of the trail running series, and it was amazing to see the kids that have extreme talent for running in this county … Some of these kids were beating adults, which is just awesome to see,” said Schaefer. “You’re going to see names like Alayna Szuch and Max Bonenburger … for many years to come.
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