Steamboat Springs There was a moment of confusion Sunday morning immediately after the conclusion of the Mountain Madness half marathon, a 13-mile race that launched dozens of competitors out of Steamboat Springs for a race along the Yampa River.
A runner was listed as the race's winner, something that came as a bit of a surprise to Todd Trapp, the Moffat County High School cross-country coach who is in the midst of a dominating Steamboat Springs Running Series season.
"There was someone in front of me?" he asked afterward, his disbelief palpable. "No. No, there wasn't anyone in front of us."
The confusion proved nothing more than a mistake, as the other runner - initially with a time 1 minute, 20 seconds faster than Trapp's - likely missed a turn or short cut a section. In any case, Trapp clearly led halfway through and those at the front agreed - he tore it up.
Trapp commanded the race nearly from the start, leading its 45 participants out of Steamboat on River Road, then up a climb south of town on Aspen Ridge Road.
His final time of 1 hour, 15 minutes, 40 seconds was plenty good enough to win. It was more than two minutes ahead of second-place Mark DeWine.
"I tried to stay really relaxed through the first part of the race because they said there was a big climb," said Trapp. Just this summer, he already has won the Cog Run, finished second overall in the Steamboat Marathon, and was one of the top local finishers at last weekend's U.S. Trail Running National Championships. "The climb wasn't too bad. It was long and gradual. After last week's race, I have a new definition for a tough climb.
Cool weather mercifully greeted the nearly 100 racers of Sunday's series event, which was the first event since June's Hayden Cog Run to count for Running Series points. That's what helped lead to some of the best times in the 30-year history of the Mountain Madness races, coordinator John Chapman said.
In addition to the 45 runners of the half marathon, droves more showed up to compete in a 10-kilometer event.
"It went great. We had two people lose their way a little bit, but we always have one or two people who at the end of a half marathon, don't see a marking," Chapman said. "The weather was ideal and actually contributed to the fast times, then the rain held off until after the ceremony. It was just ideal."
Angie Mangiardi won the women's half marathon, finishing at 1:38:50, nearly seven minutes ahead of Missy Krause.
"It was good - nice and cool. It was perfect weather," Mangiardi said. "The climb wasn't too bad. There were a lot of good, fast people in front of me to help. That's the fastest half marathon I've ever run."
Meanwhile, Steamboat Springs High School student John Cutter dominated the 10K, finishing at 39:58:23 ahead of Charlie Stoddard, Cutter's cross-country teammate and training partner this summer.
"We were really just going for a workout," Cutter said. "We're getting ready for cross country and trying to get in our mileage. We have big plans for this season and want to do really well at state."
Chapman said one of Sunday's highlights was the number of locals that showed up to participate in the race. Not everyone who took to the road was used to life at high altitude, however.
George Cuddy traveled to Steamboat from Massachusetts for a week of hiking, kayaking and relaxing with a friend living in town through the summer for business. He's a regular in the Boston Marathon but realized early on he was ill-prepared for a race half as long at elevations more than 6,000 feet higher than home.
"I do the Boston Marathon every year and do a lot of endurance runs, but it was a lot different up here," Cuddy said. "This was my first run in the mountains. That hill, that was tough."
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