Oak Creek runner Randall Purintun approaches the finish line during the Emerald Mountain Trail Run on Saturday.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Oak Creek runner Randall Purintun approaches the finish line during the Emerald Mountain Trail Run on Saturday.

Running Series wraps up successful points season with trail run

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2011 Running Series schedule

— Michael O’Donnell reached into his swag bag after a half-marathon in Boulder and found a list of various Colorado races.

He then scoured the list and came across the Steamboat Springs Running Series.

After just moving to Castle Pines from the Bay Area in May, O’Donnell thought, “Why not make the three-hour drive up Saturday morning and check the series out?”

“I thought it would be cool,” said O’Donnell, who has made it to Vail for several races. “But this course — this race and course were great. It was really well-marked. I’m definitely going to come back and do some of the races in the series next year.”

That, in essence, is what’s happened with the Running Series.

photo

Tammy Jacques comes down the hill during the Emerald Mountain Trail Run on Saturday.

Saturday’s Emerald Mountain Trail Run — a seven-mile jaunt — marked the most runners the event has seen.

Eleven of the 12 events in this year’s series saw record-breaking numbers.

“What I recognized more on a number of the races was the people from out of town,” said Deb Freeman, who for the second time was crowned the women’s overall champion. “We locals run the trails and know how gorgeous the trails are. There were several races where I was on the trail and you’d see it through new eyes. People would be remarking on the trails and the views.”

The number of people has been staggering at times. Runners from out of the county, out of the state and even out of the country came out to races this year.

“It seemed like a lot of people came out of the woodwork,” said Nicholas Sunseri, who blew away the men’s field to win his first overall title. “There were a lot of people I didn’t know.”

Series Director Cara Marrs said there isn’t any one reason but rather several reasons why the series has taken off.

Former race Director John Chapman began the process of widening the scope of the series. But when Chapman resigned after the 2007 season and briefly assisted in 2008, there was some doubt about the future of the series.

Marrs said she felt no trepidation about taking over the series in 2009. She said she hoped she could grow it.

Word of mouth became the series’ biggest ally. But the advent of an easy-to-use website for registration, killer sponsorship, low costs and top-end prizes have pushed the series over the top.

“I think we hoped,” Marrs said. “But I don’t think we really thought too much. I think it was thinking, ‘OK, we’re going to do this, and we have some things in place to hopefully grow it.’ But to see what it’s done — it’s been really awesome.”

For the record number of participants, Saturday’s weather couldn’t have been much better.

Sunseri continued to do what he has done all year, breezing the course in 50 minutes, 11 seconds to win the men’s division.

Adam Loomis was second in 56:04, and Harry Niedl was third in 57:37. On the women’s side, Tammy Jacques was first in 1:03:37. Kristin Stemp was second in 1:12:47, and Veronica Vantuno was third in 1:13:30.

There is one more race on the calendar, the 50-mile Run Rabbit Run ultramarathon Saturday. The race doesn’t count toward the Running Series’ overall points.

Results

Women

Tammy Jacques 1:03:37

Kristin Stemp 1:12:47

Veronica Vantuno 1:13:30

Shannon Forbes 1:15:42

Genevieve Kalmes 1:16:03

Annah Borak 1:17:22

Allison Harris 1:19:00

Roxanne Gerstell 1:19:48

Jennifer Kerr 1:23:00

Deb Freeman 1:25:02

Jill Henwood 1:25:12

Summer Laws 1:26:16

Lisa Barbour 1:28:08

Shannon Casson 1:33:59

Meg Halford 1:34:27

Allison Reynolds 1:34:27

Pamela Wooster 1:37:28

Cheryl Rondeau 1:38:18

Michelle Marian 1:40:26

Maggie Griffin 1:40:55

Sabrina Romo 1:42:40

Lauri Dodge 1:43:20

Bonnie Herter 2:01:43

Men

Nicholas Sunseri 0:50:11

Adam Loomis 0:56:04

Harry Niedl 0:57:37

Randall Purintun 1:01:46

Eddie Rogers 1:02:24

Alan Belshaw 1:04:18

Justin Barker 1:05:04

Walter Magill 1:05:10

Bart Kounovsky 1:05:33

Ken Rogers 1:09:16

Michael O’Donnell 1:09:32

Avrom Feinberg 1:09:48

Derek Mcclung 1:10:28

Dave Carley 1:11:01

Erik Graab 1:12:17

Dan Tallon 1:12:50

Rob Lutz 1:13:00

Brian Elliott 1:13:09

Mack Maschmeier 1:14:40

Joe Bixler 1:16:35

James Morton 1:18:23

Tom Nelson 1:18:49

Edward Mclaughlin 1:22:18

Greg Liewer 1:23:14

Gary Bates 1:23:32

Andy Fraser 1:24:16

Dave Nagel 1:24:32

Glenn Davis 1:25:36

Kathy Elliott 1:27:30

Richard Williams 1:28:13

Don Platt 1:28:47

Jack Rosenthal 1:38:30

Peter Rosenthal 1:39:13

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

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