Sunday, June 29, 2008

USATF 10k Trail Championships - Steamboat, Colorado

It took incredible climbing skills to win this year’s USA Trail Championships and no one exhibited more prowess on the hills than Jonathan Severy, 26, Aspen, CO, who raced to victory over the grueling 13.2 km course in just under one hour (59:51) besting second-place finisher Clint Wells, 33, Superior, CO, by nearly one minute. “Clint took the race out and led up the first climb (a 500+ foot ascent with more than 20% vertical gain which the open men had to run three times). He’s one of the smartest runners I know and I knew he’d be the one to watch. I passed him after the first descent (about ½ mile into the race), and kept the lead,” said Severy. Severy spends much of the year in Winooski, VT, where he just finished his first year in medical school at the University of Vermont. “At medical school I don’t have much time so I go out and run one hour as hard as I can. There are hills around my apartment, but nothing like the mountains in Colorado. I really liked the hill (on this course). I just figured I would go one pace no matter what and today that pace was faster than everyone else,” said Severy who seemed as excited about his upcoming wedding to Natalie Florence (whom he met while an undergraduate at CU Boulder) in two weeks as he was about his win. “I’m getting hitched and going to Spain!" Wells, who finished second in last weekend’s USA Mountain Running Championships – the all-uphill Mount Washington Road Race – said the course today was easier than Mount Washington, but, “I just didn’t have the power up the hill.”

Rounding out the top five were Matthew Russell, 25, Boulder, CO, timed in 1:02:24, Jason Delaney, 28, Golden, CO, in 1:02:53, and Jared Scott, 25, Flagstaff, AZ, in 1:03:35. Andy Ames, 45, Boulder, CO finished in seventh place to win the masters division in 1:04:36. “I felt OK and just tried to keep it going. I tried to get any lead I could going up and I felt if I could hold off Bernie (Boettcher) the first lap (there were three laps of 4.4 km each) I could do it again. He’s a great downhill runner so it wasn’t a given,” said Ames who held off Boettcher, 45, Silt, CO, for the master’s crown. “I definitely struggled on the ups,” said Boettcher, who is known to carry a small digital camera when he races, “and I really cruised the downs. I loved the course – it was a real trail challenge. It was probably the hardest trail race I’ve ever done. The World Masters (Keswick, England 2005) might have been a bit tougher – the descents were steeper.” Ames added, “Right now I can’t think of a harder one.”

Another master’s runner led the women’s race from start to finish. 40-year-old Laura Haefeli, Del Norte, CO, showed no signs of fatigue from her record-setting master’s performance at Mount Washington last weekend. Haefeli finished in 45:16 over the two-loop 8.8 km women’s course. Of the course Haefeli responded, “Crazy! It was Great. The hill was pretty severe. Even in Europe I’ve never run anything that steep for that long. I was thinking on my run, ‘I need to be the Bernie Boettcher of the downhill.’ Then if I could just be ½ of that, it would be great. I was ahead on the uphill – he (Boettcher) came blowing by me on the first downhill.” “I’m pleased with my time and finish,” said Haefeli, who hopes to include the World Mountain Running Trophy in her plans this September. “I’m planning to race the Berry Picker (a Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team selection race) next month in the hopes of making the team.” Haefeli is the only woman to win an individual medal at the World Trophy. Last year in Ovronnaz, Switzerland she finished in bronze medal position to lead the U.S. women to their second consecutive gold medal team finish.

In second place, Megan Kimmel, 28, Silverton, CO, posted a time of 45:54. “I haven’t done a race like this since high school,” said Kimmel, “I thought it was great. The uphills were definitely brutal. Living at elevation (9300 feet) is definitely an advantage. I look forward to racing more of these shorter and faster courses.” Kimmel also plans to race the Berry Picker as do third and fourth place finishers Brandy Erholtz, 30, Bailey, CO, and Rachael Cuellar, 26, Albuquerque, NM who ran times of 46:41 and 46:55 respectively. Erholtz already earned her spot on the 2008 team with her win at Mount Washington (which was a team selection race) and plans to use the Berry Picker as a tune-up for Switzerland which is again hosting the World Trophy, and Cuellar was on the 2006 and 2007 gold medal teams. About the course, Cuellar said, “It was pretty intense. It makes me realize I have to do a lot more uphill running before the selection race.”

In fifth place, newcomer to the trail scene Gina Lucrezi, 25, Colorado Springs, CO, was pleased with her finish in 48:28. Lucrezi recently finished her Masters Degree in Sport Management at East Stoudsburg University and moved from her home state of Pennsylvania to Colorado in January. First for the junior men was Paul Petersen, 16, Broomfiled, CO, who poasted a 44:34 finish time over the same two-loop course as the women. Kerry Sheader, 18, Grand Junction, CO, was second in 50:54, and Taylor Fletcher, 18, Steamboat Springs, rounded out the top three.

This was the second year in a row, the renowned ski town of Steamboat Springs, CO hosted the USA Trail Championships presented this year by SmartWool and Vasque. The course moved from the ski resort to Howelsen Hill and boasted an 11 percent average grade starting at 6,705 feet elevation and topping out at 7,230 feet. The route included single track, wide dirt paths, switchbacks and plenty of ascending and descending. It was the fifth installment of this trail championship event with Vail, CO, hosting in 2004, 2005, and 2006. Through the support of race sponsors, $5000 was awarded to the top finishers. The prize money breakdown was: $900 for first, $700 for second, $400 for third, $200 for fourth, $150 for fifth, $100 for sixth, and $50 for seventh. In to prize money, the top finisher in each age group received a pair of Vasque trail running shoes. In addition, each competitor received a Merino wool performance shirt from SmartWool.

********** USATF MALE OVERALL RESULTS ***********
1- Jonathan Severy, 26, Aspen, 59:51
2- Clint Wells, 33, Superior, 1:00:48
3 – Matthew Russell, 25, Boulder, 1:02:24
4- Jason Delaney, 28, Golden, 1:02:53
5- Jared Scott, 25, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:03:12
6 – Drew Casselberry, Incline Village, NV, 1:03:35
7 – Andy Ames, 45, Boulder, 1:04:36
8- Bernie Boettcher, 45, Silt, 1:05:13
9- Rickey Gates, 27, Boulder, CO, 1:05:37
10 – Ryan Padilla, 30, Boulder, 1:05:39

********** USATF FEMALE OVERALL RESULTS ***********
1- Laura Haefeli, 40, 45:16
2 – Megan Kimmel, 28, Silverton, 45:54
3 – Brandy Erholtz, 30, Bailey, 46:41
4- Rachel Cuellar, 26, Albuquerque, 46:55
5 – Gina Lucrezi, 25, Colorado Springs, 48:28
6 – Shannon Platero-Roach, Gallup, NM, 48:33
7- Jeanne Hennessy, 30, Eagle, CO, 48:36
8 – Stacey Chamberlain, 37, Boulder, 48:59
9 – Mary Houchin, 30, Henderson, NV, 49:10
10 – Michele Suszek, 26, Westminster 49:57

Complete results are at:

Read the Running Times story at:

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