Steamboat Springs No matter which race J.J. Huie competes in, the result stays the same.
The Steamboat Springs runner already had won three Steamboat Springs Running Series races this year, and he added a fourth victory in exciting fashion Saturday during the 12-mile Mount Werner Classic.
Huie trailed Ryan Kirkpat-rick most of the day on the brutal uphill course, but he took advantage of the downhill portion on the last mile of the race.
"The last mile downhill stretch at the end, I kind of threw caution to the wind," Huie said. "I tried to finish as quick as I could. He was ahead of me except for maybe the last third of a mile."
With about 100 yards left in the race, Huie was only strides ahead of Kirkpatrick. Luckily for Huie, the last section featured his specialty -- downhill. Huie finished the race in one hour, 42 minutes and 31 seconds. Kirkpatrick was only two seconds behind.
Kirkpatrick, who runs cross country for Colorado State University, said he was strong going uphill but didn't want to risk an injury running downhill.
"I've got a long season ahead," he said. "I didn't want to get hurt, but I give him credit. He attacked the downhill portions."
Bernie Boettcher finished third with a time of 1:33:38 and said he was amazed at how fast Huie and Kirkpatrick ran the course.
"I was surprised how strong they were," he said. "I can usually keep up with everybody, but they were running really well today."
The race, which was the ninth of 14 in the Running Series, featured a 12-mile run and a five-mile run. Mark Iverson led the entire five-mile run, finishing in 48 minutes and six seconds.
"I knew if I could get into the trees with a gap it would be easy to get a lead," Iverson said.
Justin Walker finished second with a time of 49:39, and Jay Johnson came in third in 50:04.
On the women's side, Danielle Korb, also a cross country racer at CSU, won the 12-mile race with a time of 1:46:21. Sarah Walker finished second in 1:55:41, and Katie Hegg finished third in 1:59:48.
Lilly Johnson won the women's five-mile race in 53:05, Kathy Secteau finished second in 58:31, and Stephanie Scholl finished third in 1:01:57.
All of the competitors commended the condition and layout of the course. Johnson, a world-class runner who has placed in the top 10 of several world championships, said Saturday was an all-around perfect day for running.
"I really liked the track," she said. "It's one of my favorites. It was a good event and the weather was perfect."
More than 100 competitors took part in the event, and race director Tasha Thrasher said that in her three years putting on the race, Saturday's field was the biggest they've had. She also said about 80 percent of the participants were from outside Steamboat.
"Everything went off perfect," she said. "Nobody got lost and the course was in perfect shape."
The next running series event is the Colorado Wild West Relay, a team race from Fort Collins to Steamboat Springs on Aug. 11 and 12.