Steamboat Springs Distance runner Will Zimmerer made his way around a deserted track at Steamboat Springs High School late Monday afternoon.
The normally bustling area had been reduced to the lone runner and a family of three playing a game of pickup soccer on the green grass of the athletic field the result of spring break week at the high school.
"I didn't expect a lot of people to show up for a 6:30 p.m. practice," Zimmerer said. "It's a bad time and a lot of the other runners have other things going on."
But for Zimmerer, the optional practice was a chance to improve his times and stay on track for his ultimate goal of staying in top shape for football season. In addition to being a distance runner, Zimmerer also plays left guard for the Sailors football team in the fall.
"There is no reason not to come out and train," Zimmerer said. "There is no reason not to work hard."
Track coach Lonn Clementson hadn't expected a lot of runners to show up for the late afternoon practice. The team has already elected to skip a meet in Glenwood Springs this weekend.
"I'm kind of disappointed," Zimmerer said. "I've never run there, but I hear it is a real fast track."
At 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, Zimmerer is an unlikely candidate for the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. But that hasn't stopped him from training and competing at meets this season.
"I don't know why I decided to be a distance runner," Zimmerer said. "Track is something that I do for fun and I just like to mess around with some different stuff."
So far, Zimmerer hasn't broken into the top of the results at any of the team's meets. But Clementson said that hasn't dampened Zimmerer's effort or his work ethic.
"He is one of the hardest workers we have on our team," Clementson said. "He's always the first one at practice and the last one to leave."
Unfortunately, Zimmerer wasn't one of the Sailors busting into the top 10 at last weekend's meet in Grand Junction.
Top finishes there included Jeremy Hays, who was first in the boys 800-meter run, and Ian Ramsay, who took sixth in the same event.
The boys 1,600-meter relay team of Shea Hurley, Patrick McMahon, Ramsay and Hays also placed sixth.
Lennae Jenkins led the Steamboat girls with a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash and eighth in the 800.
Jenny Stanford, who is coming off an injury, placed sixth in the high jump, and Jessica Flores was seventh in the 110-meter high hurdles.
While attendance will be limited this week while many of the Sailor runners and jumpers enjoy spring break, Zimmerer and the rest of his teammates will be back in full swing at the start of next week. The team's next meet will be held in Rifle April 27.