Joanne Schell runs up the steep slopes of Steamboat Ski Area on Saturday in the Mount Werner Classic in Steamboat Springs. The race attracted about 125 runners to two events, a 12-mile run and a 5-mile run.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Joanne Schell runs up the steep slopes of Steamboat Ski Area on Saturday in the Mount Werner Classic in Steamboat Springs. The race attracted about 125 runners to two events, a 12-mile run and a 5-mile run.

Racers flock to challenging Mount Werner Classic course

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Full race results

The course was long, steep and brutal. At least that was the conclusion reached by Erik Truedson and his sister, Kim Truedson, as they stood atop Thunderhead peak Saturday after running in the Mount Werner Classic.

But they had little trouble identifying the race’s more positive aspects.

“It’s not like another course or running on a track,” said Erik Truedson, a collegiate runner at the University of Minnesota.

The backdrop behind him proved as much, with the views stretching dozens of miles in each direction across the green Yampa Valley.

“It’s not like other courses because you can really see what you accomplished,” he said.

A record field of 125 runners tackled the day’s two different races, the 5-mile run, which took athletes — none faster than the Truedson siblings — up to the top of the gondola, and a 12-mile run, which went to the top of Storm Peak, then back down to the gondola.

Nick Sunseri grabbed control of the season-long Steamboat Springs Running Series points contest by winning his fourth race of the summer, taking the 12-miler by a wide margin. He finished in 1 hour, 41 minutes and 19 seconds. Bill Goldsmith was second at 1:49:13, and Harald Niedl was third in 1:49:45.

Nancy Citriglia won the women’s race in 2:03:46, ahead of second-place Kelly Bedell at 2:10:34, and third-place Jenny Fox at 2:15:00.

Erik Truedson had a comfortable margin in the men’s 5-mile, finishing in 48:43. Corey Piscopo was second at 56:45, and Tanner Heil was third in 57:46.

Kim Truedson, a 17-year-old high school student from Minnesota, won the women’s 5-mile in 1:03:41. Christy Coughlin was second in 1:06:18, and Kristen Stemp was third at 1:06:49.

No matter their place, few found the race easy.

“I just wanted to survive,” Kim Truedson said. “That was a tough race. There’s no air. I was breathing so fast.”

“You can’t even compare it to a flat race,” Erik Truedson added. “It’s a whole different animal. Time was less relevant. It was more important how you felt about yourself.”

He said he felt great about himself after crossing the finish line, and in that he was again joined by plenty of others.

Debbie Riley, of Denver, and Karen Brandenburg, of Colorado Springs, picked out Saturday’s race looking both for a reason to run in Steamboat — neither ever had — and to conquer a challenge before returning to teach school this fall.

They found what they were looking for.

“It was challenging but a lot of fun,” Riley said. “This was only my second mountain race, so it was pretty challenging, but I knew it was going to be.”

They said the most difficult sections came early in the race. The best — besides crossing the finish line — came from a margarita-dispensing aid station.

“This is amazing,” Brandenburg said. “It had just the right amount of challenge and it wasn’t crowded. … It was beautiful.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@steamboatttoday.com

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