Steamboat Springs Only a few broke free and truly finished by themselves.
Far more came in groups, big and small, slow and fast. They came in a steady flow, streaming down from the high country north of Steamboat Springs like melted snow, and one by one, more than 2,000 runners crossed the finish line, marking another wildly successful year for the Steamboat Marathon.
“I come every year, five years in a row now,” said Tom Hurt, who crossed the finish not alone, but holding hands with his two grandchildren, 6-year-old Cadance and 4-year-old Baylor. “It’s just so beautiful. It’s a great race.”
Among the few who did separate from large packs were a trio of men who battled for the full marathon championship.
Dan Edstrom, of Denver, broke away in the end, flying through the final two miles of the exhausting course to become the first man not named Jason Saitta to win the race in the past six years.
Saitta, winner of nine of the previous 10 marathons, missed Sunday’s event, but Edstrom didn’t have an easy job replacing him. Both he and Moffat County High School cross-country and track coach Todd Trapp were trying to track down Gabriel Small, a Lafayette distance runner tackling his first marathon.
The 26.2-mile marathon course runs from Hahn’s Peak Village to the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat Springs, dropping 1,400 feet in elevation during that span. Small took advantage of that early in the race, breaking free from everyone else four miles in and zooming to a large lead.
He paid for it later.
“I got on that first big downhill and just opened up my stride,” Small said. “People have always told me in marathons you really start to hurt at 20 miles, and I really did. In those last few hills right before town I thought I might have to withdraw.”
Edstrom surged ahead of Trapp then pushed on to win, finishing in 2 hours, 47 minutes and 37 seconds.
“I thought we were racing for second, but at every rest stop, they’d tell us where (Small) was at and we thought we were getting closer,” Edstrom said. “Finally, I saw him and caught up at about mile 24.
“That’s the first race I’ve won. I’ll definitely be tempted to come back to defend it.”
Trapp was second in 2:50:02, and Small finished third at 2:52:28.
“I have two seconds and a third now,” Trapp said. “It was a race I thought I could win, but I’m not in great shape yet for this season.”
Denver’s Amy Schneider won the women’s race, pulling away from her competition midway through the course and cruising to a big victory.
She even thumped most of the men, finishing sixth overall and easily first among women with a time of 3:15:16.
“You never know how you’re going to do for sure, but I thought I would do pretty well,” Schneider said. “I always try to save some energy for the last part. That helps a lot.”
Kimberly Eytel was second at 3:30:38, and Anita Fromm third at 3:31:56.
Really hard, really good
Steamboat runner Stephen Moxey won the men’s half marathon just before moving away after spending two years in town.
He ran the race with a blue “Run for Jenna” jersey to remember avid local runner Jenna Gruben, who died last winter in a car accident while returning from a running race in Utah. It helped provide motivation when the hills got big and the miles stacked up.
He finished in 1:15:48.
“Jenna was the first running person I really met when I moved here, so I figured I could run this race for her,” Moxey said. “She would have definitely been out here today.”
Luke Crespin, of Littleton, was second at 1:19:54, and Scott Brane, of Steamboat, was third in 1:20:59.
Carrie Zografos, of Lakewood, won the women’s half in 1:29:17. Marissa Parris, of Longmont, was second at 1:32:04 and Molly Smith, of Denver, was third in 1:32:16.
Boulder’s Justin Gindlesperger won the 10K in 34:41. He was followed by Steamboat’s Glen Light in 38:25 and Steamboat’s Charles Rohde in 38:38.
Stephenie Scholl, of Kremmling, was the top 10K female finisher, running the course in 44:27. Shannon Bridgeman, of Loveland, was second in 44:42, and Kim McConnell, of Erie, was third in 44:44.
Many other runners recorded times they were thrilled with, but many were just happy to soak up a day that was perhaps a bit warm for a long run, but beautiful nonetheless.
“It was a great race,” said half-marathoner Rebecca Wiggins, who traveled from Denver for the run. “It was really hard, but really good.”
Click here for complete marathon results
Click here for complete half-marathon results
Click here for complete 10K results