STRS kicks off in frigid conditions
BRECKENRIDGE – The same wintery conditions that made the first race in the Nike Summit Trail Running Series (STRS) brutal for spectators and volunteers, seemed to be a welcome factor for many of Wednesday’s competitors.”The snow was nice,” said men’s long course runner-up Steve Marshall, who finished in 43 minutes flat – 88 seconds behind winner Dylan Olchin. “It was kind of surreal.”A pair of experienced adult runners, Marshall and Olchin both said it was the first time they’d ever raced amidst falling flakes.”It’s cool weather and you don’t get hot,” Olchin pointed out. “But you couldn’t see half the time.”David Wilcox (46:07) was third in the men’s long course.In seven years of the STRS, Wednesday’s race at the Flumes trail was the first ever to be accompanied by snow, according to event organizer Stacey Todd.Based on Wednesday’s large turnout (139 finishers), the frightful weather seemed to be more inspiring than it was daunting.”I thought numbers would be down, but we had around 70 day-of registrants,” said Todd, who said she will only postpone a race if it poses a legitimate safety risk. “I think there was a lot of excitement about the first race of the season.”
“It was great running weather,” said Jaime Falcon, who finished second in the women’s long course behind Granby’s Gretta Simpson. “But I was just kind of a wimp at the end – I didn’t keep up.”Falcon led the women’s field for most of the contest before succumbing to the STRS newcomer, who finished in 53:21 – a mere five seconds ahead of Falcon.”I’ve heard really good things about the series,” Simpson said. “So I signed up for the whole thing.”Jaime Brede was the third long course female with a time of 54:41.Alex Willis of Leadville was victorious in the short course (24:09), nearly a year after his STRS debut, in which he won the long course at Little French.Willis recently completed his freshman year at the University of New Mexico, where he made the varsity cross country and indoor track teams before accepting a red shirt in outdoor track. He said he hopes to become an STRS regular.”If all goes well and I feel it would benefit me, I will for sure come out,” he said.Willis was followed by Mark Boyd (27:20) and Tyler Reinking (29:35), one of roughly eight Summit High School harriers in Wednesday’s field. In the women’s short course, April Thomas of Colorado State University strode to victory with a time of 27:12. Vail’s Lynda Andros (28:54) was second and Summit local Julia Bishop was third (30.34).
Andros, who won the last four women’s long courses last year, said she will likely return to that level in the near future.”It’s hard getting back into it,” Andros said. “I’ve been focusing more on 5K road racing lately, but I don’t think I could ever give up trail racing because it’s so much fun.”Even in inclement weather. “It’s what you want when you come out for a trail race,” Andros said. “You want to have some kind of weather, you want it to be unpredictable. It makes you stronger and makes the other (races) seem easier.”The STRS will continue June 27 at Baker’s Tank, which was originally slated as the venue for Wednesday’s season opener before excessive snow was discovered on the course. Top finishers at the FlumesMen’s Long Course
1. Dylan Olchin – 41:322. Steve Marshall – 43:003. David Wilcox – 46:07Women’s Long Course1. Gretta Simpson – 53:212. Jaime Falcon – 53:263. Jaime Brede – 54:41Men’s Short Course1. Alex Willis – 24:09
2. Mark Boyd – 27:203. Tyler Reinking – 29:35Women’s Short Course1. April Thomas – 27:122. Lynda Andros – 28:543. Julia Bishop – 30:34Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
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