For most runners, the steep climb up Hayden's Cog Road is a demanding jumpstart to the summer running series.
But for Tonya Chris Trucco, the women's division winner and third-place finisher overall, Saturday's run was a relaxing jaunt after finishing one of the toughest races in her life.
The 24th annual Hayden Cog Run was the first race Trucco competed in since running the U.S. Olympic Marathon trials April 3.
Since 1997, the Boulder woman had dreamed of competing in the Olympic marathon trials. She qualified for that goal during the St. George, Utah, marathon in 2002. And for the past year, she has been in constant training mode.
She came into the Olympic trials, held in Saint Louis, ranked 139th out of 150, and worked her way up to a 73rd-place finish in a time of 2:53.
"It was just a thrill," Trucco said, noting that with the exception of the top 30 runners, most of the women were not professional runners, but women with children and jobs.
On Saturday, more than a month later, Trucco found herself in Hayden hoping to get in a quick workout in between a trip from Boulder to Jackson, Wyo. What she found was an 8.4-mile race, half of which entails climbing up a steep hill on Routt County Road 76.
Trucco crossed the finish line with a time of 56 minutes, 34 seconds.
Rounding out the top of the women's field, Nora McKay took second place with a time of 1:09.06, and Barbara Jones finished third with a time of 1:09.10.
They were among the 26 people to participate in the Hayden Cog Run. Another 47 people participated in concurrent 10K and 5K races.
For the men, the first- and second-place finishers were just two seconds apart. Andrew Picking and Bill Goldsmith were together for most of the race. Picking led the charge on the way up the Cog, Goldsmith caught up to him halfway down the hill and they stayed even for the rest of the race.
About 400 yards away from the finish line, they decided to end the race with a sprint. Picking won two seconds ahead with a time of 53.40.
"I haven't been doing a lot of sprint workouts," Goldsmith said. "I guess I'll have to try to work on those."
Picking and Goldsmith are familiar faces in the running series. Goldsmith said this year he is more focused on training for triathlons with a goal to compete in an Ironman competition at the end of the summer.
Charlie Stoddard, at 13 the youngest runner in the Cog Race, finished third with a time of 58.45.
The Hayden Cog Run is the second run in the Steamboat Springs Running Series. The next race is the Hot Springs Short Cut race Saturday.
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