Kelly Stamp was never a runner.
She was -- and is -- a mother, so when a coach from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club approached Stamp about participating in the 24th annual Steamboat Marathon, Stamp's mind said "no way."
"But I said, 'Sure, I would run the marathon.'"
Sunday, dressed in orange from fingernails to designer Nike shoes, Stamp ran her first marathon in memory of daughter Ashley, who died in a December skiing accident in Vail at the age of 13.
But since Kelly Stamp began formal training in mid-January, just a month after Ashley's death, she said she has never been alone. When Ashley put her mind to something, she accomplished it. That's why Kelly Stamp decided to run the marathon.
If she was going to run, she was going to challenge herself. It is how Ashley would have wanted it.
"Every time I work out, I feel Ashley with me, so I work out a lot," Kelly Stamp said. "She helped me through it. I know it. (Sunday) was emotional, but I knew it would be."
As Kelly Stamp and family friend Jessica Hendryx approached the Steamboat Springs Airport, about four miles from the finish, they cramped up and had to walk down the hill near the airport. They didn't think they would be able to run anymore.
"She kicked it in," Kelly Stamp said and pointed to her shoes.
"Ashley designed these shoes before she passed away," said Aaron Stamp, Ashley's father.
The shoes are bright orange with white stripes. Originally, they were supposed to have the word "Speedy" sewed on because Ashley was an exceptional Alpine ski racer. Instead, when the Stamps had Nike make the shoes, they ordered the word "Ashley."
Orange was the unofficial color Sunday. A runner wearing an orange T-shirt, orange wristband, orange headband, orange shorts or even orange shoes was in each race. More than a dozen friends and family, including Samantha Stamp, Ashley's sister, ran across the finish line of the Steamboat Marathon, Half Marathon or 10-kilometer race, an event Ashley would have loved.
"She always did well running during dry-land (training)," Carolyn Chotvacs, 15, said. "Every time I see a tiger or the color orange, I think of her."
Hig Roberts, 14, had never run a scheduled 10K before.
"I was thinking about the times we've had while I was running," Roberts said.
On Sunday, race director Paul Sachs said he couldn't remember more perfect weather for the Steamboat Marathon, Half Marathon or 10K. One day after Routt County residents awoke to snow and freezing temperatures, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Temperatures barely topped 70 degrees.
On days when Kelly Stamp needed to train, she remembers the sun coming out. On Sunday, when a field of nearly 1,600 people needed the sun, it was there, as well.
"Ashley brought it," Kelly Stamp said.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org