Local trail runners who prefer the devilish variety of 50-kilometer races took part in a 50-kilometer run for the first time on their Summit County trails on Sunday, September 5.
Jeff Westcott and Breckenridge-based Maverick Sports Promotions combined their traditional 10-kilometer Breck Crest course and a 25.5-mile marathon course to manifest the 50-kilometer Breck Crest race. The entire course featured over 6,000 feet of elevation gain as only eight runners in total – six men and two women – completed the first racing challenge of its kind.
“It’s great because I usually have to travel to compete in races that have ultra distances,” said Jake Skankla, 36, of Breckenridge, who was third overall with a time of 6, 48. Minutes and 3.9 seconds. “It’s nice to have a home run and to go over the tree line – above 12,000 feet – at Breckenridge was spectacular.”
Skankla was joined on the exclusively local men’s 50K podium by race winner Paul Steinweg, 40, of Breckenridge, who finished with a time of 5: 26: 32.4, and runner-up David Skelly, 36, of Dillon who finished at 6:35:19. 9.
“Paul destroyed the course,” said one of the two 50K participants on Sunday, second Tracy Larson of Breckenridge. “He had a really impressive race. “
Steinweg chose to run the new 50K ultra after running the marathon every year for the past three years. Steinweg said he had to try the ultra option after talking for years to Breck Crest event manager Jeff Westcott of Maverick Sports Promotions about “jumping into the ultra world.”
“When I saw it on the schedule, I had to hold my end of the bargain,” Steinweg said.
Steinweg was excited about Westcott’s foray into ultramarathons because, to Steinweg’s knowledge, this is the only Breckenridge-based ultramarathon with a start and finish line in town. After Steinweg and other 50km runners left the start line at The Maggie at Peak 9, they loaded up and down the 10km Breck Crest route, including an ascent of over 1,000. feet on the brooding Burro Trail.
Steinweg said the first evil turn of the 50km course came at mile 10 as runners like him felt the adrenaline rush of crossing the finish line at The Maggie. But with the challenge only 20% complete, he and others ran on single track trails for most of their run.
“I was really excited to finish the 10K game because at that point I was in mostly familiar territory,” said Steinweg, who took the lead just half a mile from the 50K and didn’t never looked back.
Although Steinweg took a clear lead, he and other runners were far from alone in the mountains. Steinweg and fellow 50K finishers Skankla and Larson said they were particularly impressed with the quality of the event’s aid stations located in remote sections of the trail. After the 50km runners climbed and crossed the Wheeler Pass to run the west side of the Tenmile mountain range facing Copper Mountain, members of the Trail Ridge Runners group provided assistance to the runners in what they felt was in the middle of nowhere.
“I know a few guys who worked at the aid station and they must have pulled a bunch of stuff out there,” said Larson, who was second in 7:22:46.2 behind female winner Lillie Romeiser Rodgers of Laramie. , Wyoming. “Several of them walked each way to get there and to stay there all day for each runner – the first person in the marathon and the last person in the ultra is a big gap – serving people, encouraging us was encouraging and helpful.
The hardest part of the race, the runners said, was neither of the climbs and over the Tenmile Range above 12,000 feet. It was more of the home stretch, as Westcott did a great job weaving trails from the Peaks Trail in Frisco south – and up to the finish line at The Maggie to keep runners out of the way. have to run on any sidewalk.
The only thing, said Steinweg, was that it meant there was solid elevation gain over the last few miles. The race winner said it was the second in a pair of “evil twists” incorporated into the race course.
“I think Jeff took some pleasure in it when I told him how difficult it was,” said Steinweg of the finish of the race. “It was a really fun class, but difficult.”