Runners leave the starting line during the Steamboat Springs Running Series' 25th annual Spirit Challenge on Saturday.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Runners leave the starting line during the Steamboat Springs Running Series' 25th annual Spirit Challenge on Saturday.

1st Running Series event sees more than 90 competitors

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Steamboat Springs resident Derek Leidigh nears the finish line to finish first in Saturday 5-kilometer race.

— Don’t like the weather?

Wait about five minutes, or in the case of the Spirit Challenge, a year.

On a picture perfect Saturday — last year runners braved slush, wind and snow — the 2011 Steamboat Springs Running Series kicked off with more than 90 runners competing in 5- and 10-kilometer races.

The setting was about all runners could ask for. No clouds, no wind, endless blue sky and a good course to get those legs back in running shape after a prolonged winter.

The 5-kilometer race went around the Steamboat Springs Middle School by Butcherknife Creek Trail, and the 10-kilometer went toward Strawberry Park before returning.

“That might have been fun but not for six miles,” Glen Light said about last year’s weather. He didn’t race in 2010 but was the first 10-kilometer finisher Saturday.

Light, like most of Saturday’s participants, was running in his first race of the year.

Ah, that first race. It’s something that has to happen for runners. The rust and uneasiness of that first race is mentally and physically taxing.

But getting it out of the way Saturday was perfect for most runners.

“For a running race like this, the first one is always a huge question mark on how you feel,” Light said. “It’s a pounding. My hamstrings are wasted now.”

Light finished the race in 38 minutes and 43 seconds. Josh Smullin was second in 39:36, and Arthur Johnson was third in 41:09.

Pam Palmquist led the women’s 10-kilometer finishing

in 52:11. Chris DeGrandis was second in 57:23, and Kathy Elliott was third in 57:51.

“This is my first race of the year, and I just had two kids, so I’m getting back into it,” Palmquist said. “But I’m feeling great. I was not expecting (to win).”

Even last years men’s overall Running Series champion Derek Leidigh wasn’t immune to the trials of a first race.

Leidigh, who won the men’s 5-kilometer in 19:55, said he wasn’t sure what to expect after the long winter.

“That first race you don’t really know where you’re at race wise,” he said. “It’s ‘Is this too fast or to slow?’”

Harry Niedl was second in 20:40, and Randall Purintun was third in 21:33. Mary O’Connell won the women’s 5-kilometer in 22:29. Emily Hannah was second in 22:30, and Lisa Adams was third in 23:23.

The race also served as a fundraiser for the Legacy Education Foundation, which gives grants to teachers in Routt County public schools for projects that promote student involvement in community leadership or support the community overall.

Projects such as planting trees in Hayden, community cleanups, the greenhouse in South Routt, literacy carnivals and a student photography project have been funded through the group. Since its inception in 1986, the foundation has funded close to $200,000 in projects.

“This is the only fundraiser we have,” said Marsha Martin, a fund adviser for the group. “Every penny we net from this event goes to grants to teachers in Routt County.”

The next Running Series event is the June 5 Steamboat Marathon.

10K results

Men

  1. Glen Light 38:43
  2. Josh Smullin 39:36
  3. Arthur Johnson 41:09
  4. Allen Belshaw 41:38
  5. Steve Palmquist 45:09
  6. Dale Walker 45:11
  7. Todd Miller 45:18
  8. Dave Terranova 48:40
  9. Tom Nelson 50:01
  10. William Bedell 52:01
  11. Rob Mosher 53:20
  12. Arrom Feinberg 53:22
  13. Michael Gould 53:47
  14. Don Platt 53:50
  15. LJ Barr 54:15
  16. James Leveroise 54:15
  17. Brian Elliot 55:08
  18. Dave Nagel 55:26
  19. Damon Butler 58:20
  20. Jason Scholes 59:54
  21. Richard William 1:05:18
  22. Michael Flynn 1:16:35

Women

  1. Pam Palmquist 52:11
  2. Chris Degrandis 57:23
  3. Kathy Elliott 57:51
  4. Lindsay Dietz 58:14
  5. Amber Ferguson 1:01:04
  6. Kathryn Layman 1:03:45
  7. Victoria Sandage 1:03:54
  8. Kathy McKinstry 1:04:36
  9. Cyndi Knox 1:07:07
  10. Sarah Eames 1:07:09
  11. Karen Schneider 1:07:11
  12. Maria Coldwell 1:11:28
  13. Dorothy Bradley 1:15:53
  14. Mandy Whitton 1:21:01

5K results

Men

  1. Derek Leidigh 19:55
  2. Harry Niedl 20:40
  3. Randall Purintun 21:33
  4. Tanner Heil 22:21
  5. Chris Adams 23:08
  6. Bennett Gamber 23:21
  7. Derek McClug 23:47
  8. Tyler Terranova 25:44
  9. Wyatt Gebhart 25:45
  10. Jay Wilson 26:13
  11. Joshua Welch 26:18
  12. Mark Walker 27:04
  13. Kyle Kagan 31:05
  14. Matt Newport 31:48
  15. Wade Gebhart 32:20
  16. Will Dennis 43:24
  17. Tyler Jacobs 45:23
  18. Steve Phaies 47:52
  19. Colin Kagan 54:01

Women

  1. Mary O’Connell 22:29
  2. Emily Hannah 22:30
  3. Lisa Adams 23:23
  4. Cara Piske 24:37
  5. Haley Piske 25:41
  6. Abby Habbermehl 25:43
  7. Summer Laws 25:57
  8. Madison Keeffe 26:17
  9. Deb Freeman 26:44
  10. Cara Marrs 27:00
  11. Hadley Nylen 27:33
  12. Kristen Allen 28:15
  13. Mandy Leep 28:34
  14. Mallory Richey 28:47
  15. Melanie McDaniels 29:43
  16. Katie Brodie 29:44
  17. Gretchen Burkholder 29:48
  18. Helen Bruellman 30:10
  19. Jennifer Colderazzo 30:31
  20. Dory McNeill 30:32
  21. Linda Casner 30:39
  22. Georgie Weber 31:06
  23. Chloe Harstein 32:44
  24. Heather Park 32:51
  25. Millie Flanigan 32:52
  26. Leigh Papierski 33:32
  27. Deb Durbin 36:29
  28. Valerie Kamzalow 36:29
  29. Kayanna Klimper 37:26
  30. Paige Durbin 37:27
  31. Terri Sullivan 37:34
  32. Karra Juergens 37:59
  33. Gail Martinez 39:01
  34. Lesle Lumpkin 39:16
  35. Jessica Austin 39:19
  36. Emily Dennis 43:24
  37. Gretchen Jacobs 45:22
  38. Fatasha Fareed 47:33
  39. Bethany Deblasis 47:59

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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