Steamboat runners shine in Leadville

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— Since the race’s inception in 1983, the Leadville Trail 100 Run has become a benchmark among ultra endurance athletes with Hope Pass serving as the measuring stick.

Last weekend several runners from Steamboat Springs set out on the course to tackle personal goals, and three of them finished in front of the 30-hour cutoff time.

“Everyone who starts the race wants to finish before that cutoff,” local endurance runner Allen Belshaw said. “After that you can cross the finish line, but you will not get a time.”

Local runners were led by Michael Hlavacek, who completed the 100-mile course with two climbs over Hope Pass in a time of 22 hours, 45 minutes and 35 seconds. He was 31st overall, finishing 5 hours and 53 minutes behind winner Ryan Sandes of Capetown, South Africa.

Hlavacek was 11th in the competitive men’s 30-39 age division.

Steamboat’s Belshaw was 47th overall and 10th in the men’s 40-49 division with a time of 23:46:55, and John Williams finished 210th overall and 64th in the men’s 40-49 age division with a time of 28:33:16.

Belshaw, who has competed in more than 10 100-mile runs in his career, said this wasn’t his fastest time at the Leadville event, but he was pleased that he was able to overcome a rough start.

“I was feeling pretty bad for the first two-thirds of the race,” Belshaw said. “If there would have been an option to quit at Hope Pass, I would have. But I stuck it out and felt really good once I got to a lower altitude and was thinking more clearly.”

Belshaw said Hlavacek passed him about 30 miles into the race and looked very strong.

“He was running so well and I hoped that he would be able to keep that up until the end,” Belshaw said. “He did and it was a great finish.”

This was Belshaw’s third 100-mile race this season. He opened with the Western States 100 in California and then ran an endurance race in Vermont that he failed to finish. He completed in last weekend’s Leadville race and had planned to compete in the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run in a couple of weeks.

“I’m still on the fence right now,” Belshaw said. “I just haven’t decided if I will do it or not.”

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