Kelly Carlson doesn't need a crystal ball to predict her future. She has 4-year-old daughter Jaden.
Before races, Carlson sometimes asks her daughter, "Do you think Mommy is going to win?" Sometimes Jaden says "yes." Sometimes Jaden says "no."
"And she's right," Carlson said with a laugh, while Jaden ran circles around her mother.
On Saturday, Jaden predicted her mother would win the Steamboat Half Marathon, and Carlson did just that, finishing the 13-mile race in 1 hour, 27 minutes, 53 seconds.
Not to take anything away from Jaden's ability to predict the future, but it wasn't a dangerous pick.
Carlson won the women's half marathon in 2000 and was the champion in the full marathon in 2002 and 2003. Last year, Carlson couldn't compete because of an injury, but the Lafayette woman, who runs with the Boulder Running Company, was pleased to be back in Steamboat Springs on Sunday.
"I wanted to win," Carlson said. "This race means a lot to me. Steamboat is special."
Carlson thought about entering the marathon to see what might happen but didn't think she had enough training to do so. Instead, she began her quest for a fourth title near Moon Hill and was the leader pretty much from the start.
The same could be said for Brad Pace, the men's half marathon winner, who said he took the lead a half-mile in. In three previous trips to compete, Pace has finished third twice and was second once.
On Sunday, the Fort Collins resident finally got the title he wanted in 1:18:20.
"I was running a race absolutely, but I was just wanting to be under a six-minute pace (per mile), " Pace said. "This is one of my favorite races. This is my second home. We own a place up here, and I have a season ski pass here. What a beautiful place."
Because Pace frequents Steamboat, he has his hand-picked training spots. Pace enjoys running on Routt County Road 44 and doing circuit work with his friends off Clubhouse Drive.
Steamboat's Nate Anderson, a veteran runner and regular top-five finisher, was fourth overall in the men's race in 1:21:29.
Unlike Carlson, Pace or Anderson, Steamboat's Jack Burger is not a familiar face in the half marathon field: partly because Sunday was his first half marathon and partly because he is 12.
"I just wanted to finish," he said. "At mile nine, I sort of tired out, but I kept going."
Burger finished in 1:40:46, which was 71st overall but second in the 19-and-under division. Burger typically competes in 10-kilometer or 5K races, and he got his training runs in an unconventional fashion -- helping teach his younger twin sisters how to ride their bicycles on the Yampa River Core Trail.
"I want to do another one," Burger said.
In the women's half marathon, Fort Collins' Kim Jones placed second in 1:33:02, and Colorado Springs' Amanda Ewing was third in 1:33:33. Darby Dale-Burger, Jack's mother, was the top Routt County finisher in 1:38:49.
For the men, Boulder's Scott Glenn was second in 1:20:32, and Centennial's Randy Rodman was third in 1:20.47.
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