Roberto Mandje helps a young participant across the finish line Saturday at the 2012 Spirit Challenge. Mandje was in town between training for the 1,500-meter event at the 2012 London Olympics.

Photo by Luke Graham

Roberto Mandje helps a young participant across the finish line Saturday at the 2012 Spirit Challenge. Mandje was in town between training for the 1,500-meter event at the 2012 London Olympics.

Steamboat Springs Running Series gets started

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Steamboat Today reader Maryedith Davies submitted this photo from Saturday's Spirit Challenge, which opened the 2012 Steamboat Springs Running Series. Do you have a photo to share? Send it to share@SteamboatToday.com.

— Roberto Mandje was heard muttering it was a religious experience.

Religious in that he was praying for the finish line to approach Saturday during the opening event of the 2012 Steamboat Springs Running Series.

It mostly was a joke for Mandje, who had the buzz of the crowd at the Spirit Challenge.

Mandje, who competes for Equatorial Guinea, made the trip to Steamboat to do the race in between training for the 2012 London Olympics.

He competed in the 2004 games in the 1,500-meter event and missed the 2008 games because of injury.

But for Mandje, who trains and lives in Boulder, Saturday’s race served several purposes. It gave him a chance to tour and meet with his sponsor Point6.

It also gave him a chance to get away from the city, train at altitude and get in a good workout.

He won the men’s 5-kilometer race in 17 minutes, 3 seconds.

Eddie Rogers was second in 18:33, and Scott Powers was third in 19:10.

“It was difficult,” said Mandje, who runs a 13:30 5K at sea level and on a track. “At this elevation, anything would be hard. But given the hills, I ran well within myself. I got a good workout in” Saturday.

Mandje still is trying to qualify for the London Olympics. In 2004, he qualified in the 1,500-meter run and 3,000 steeplechase events.

He said his sole focus this year is the 1,500. He will travel to Canada in two weeks to try and qualify. He’ll compete several times there, in the United States and in Africa in hopes of making the Olympics.

He must run a 3:38 to qualify. Although he hasn’t matched that number yet, he said he has been within several seconds and is confident he’ll make it.

“It’s definitely feasible,” he said. “That’s part of the Olympic journey. You don’t roll out of bed and become an Olympian. It’s going to be a good journey. It’s a race against the clock.”

Per usual, the first Running Series event brought out good numbers to beat the clock.

On the women’s side, the 5-kilometer finish had a very similar look to a cross-country ski race.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Emily Hannah was first in 20:33 while teammate Mary O’Connell was second in 21:39 and Cara Piske was third in 23:01.

In the men’s 10-kilometer race, Asher Rohde, fresh off competing in the high school regional track meet, won with a time of 36:27. Harry Niedl was second in 38:55, and Josh Smullin was third in 38:50.

On the women’s side, Marietta Roberts won with a time of 48:45, Shannon Forbes was second in 52:12 and Karin Kagan was third in 52:20.

“To be honest with you, I felt (the altitude) the first two miles,” said Roberts, who moved to Steamboat eight days ago from Tallahassee, Fla. “Then I got my breathing patterns. Then they got level. Once I maintained that, I could accelerate.”

The race was a benefit for the Yampa Valley Autism Program. This year, one in 88 children will receive a diagnosis on the autism spectrum and its related disabilities.

“Our program is so grateful to the Running Series,” said Lu Etta Loeber, Yampa Valley Autism Program director. “The funds we receive from them will provide many, many hours of therapy.”

The next Running Series event is Saturday’s Hayden Cog Run.

To register, visit www.runningseries.com. To find out more about the Yampa Valley Autism Program, visit www.yampavalleyautism.org.

Spirit Challenge results

5K race

Men

Name, Time, Age

Roberto Mandje, 0:17:03, 30

Eddie Rogers, 0:18:33, 28

Scott Powers, 0:19:10, 18

Max Scrimgeour, 0:19:47, 17

Brian Tate, 0:20:11, 50

Tanner Heil, 0:20:27, 16

Nate Johnson, 0:21:32, 26

Lars Hannah, 0:21:33, 15

Paul Hughes, 0:22:01, 54

Dave Rhodes, 0:22:44, 26

Larry Brooks, 0:24:39, 72

Andrew Fraser, 0:24:45, 32

Kevin Anderson, 0:24:46, 58

Erik Rudolph, 0:26:43, 14

Richard Sterling, 0:27:40, 48

Greg Rudolph, 0:29:30, 52

Kyle Kagan, 0:31:50, 10

Eerik Belshaw, 0:35:35, 7

Walter Magill, 0:36:13, 42

Henry Magill, 0:36:13, 6

Shea Pepin, 0:39:18, 7

Reid Sias, 0:46:41, 7

Pete Andress, 0:52:19, 50

Women

Name, Time, Age

Emily Hannah, 0:20:33, 17

Mary O’Connell, 0:21:39, 18

Cara Piske, 0:23:01, 16

Haley Pisice, 0:23:33, 18

Maggi Congdon, 0:24:01, 9

Valerie Powell, 0:24:29, 25

Madison Keeffe, 0:24:46, 16

Elisha Colson, 0:25:32, 31

Kathryn Elkins, 0:25:49, 28

Gretchen Burkholder, 0:25:52, 16

Sally Carlson, 0:27:12, 26

Frannie Johnson, 0:28:17, 27

Kim Boyce, 0:28:17, 35

Robin Alt, 0:28:55, 37

Cindy Ptach, 0:29:12, 53

Lark Skov, 0:29:37, 14

Anna Burkholder, 0:29:37, 13

Georganne Weber, 0:30:01, 30

Mara Rhodes, 0:30:10, 33

Lesley Mccauley, 0:32:37, 40

Christina Milliken, 0:32:49, 34

Maryedith Davies, 0:33:27, 50

Trizanne Rowley, 0:33:38, 37

Aimee Nagel, 0:34:13, 41

Maria Parekh, 0:34:16, 50

Sherry Brown, 0:35:51, 58

Cathy Johnson, 0:36:03, 44

Annika Belshaw, 0:36:03, 9

Amber Garrity, 0:36:20, 16

Traci Smith, 0:38:08, 38

Clay Garrity, 0:38:09, 49

Deirdre Pepin, 0:39:18, 38

Amanda Hanson, 0:39:44, 24

Kari Neuman, 0:39:44, 23

BJ Heuberger, 0:40:34, 65

Stacey Pagorek, 0:46:24, 33

Suzanne Engels, 0:46:24, 30

Kaitlyn Rudolph, 0:46:41, 18

Mallory Thomas, 0:52:16, 8

Shana Thomas, 0:52:17, 39

Emma Bessey, 0:52:18, 8

Danielle Booth, 0:52:19, 26

10K race

Men

Name, Time, Age

Charles Rhode, 0:36:27, 18

Harry Niedl, 0:38:35, 37

Josh Smullin, 0:38:50, 30

Scott Cushing, 0:44:16, 49

Tanner Visnick, 0:44:18, 15

Jackson Engels, 0:48:28, 33

Tom Nelson, 0:49:44, 66

Brian Elliott, 0:49:50, 43

Avrom Feinberg, 0:49:57, 41

Scott Nielsen, 0:49:58, 34

David Nagel, 0:50:10, 43

Patrick Beattie, 0:51:24, 33

Russell Duplessis, 0:56:49, 46

Matt Roberts, 0:56:56, 39

Matt Hall, 0:57:20, 34

Women

Name, Time, Age

Marietta Roberts, 0:48:45, 40

Shannon Forbes, 0:52:10, 35

Karin Kagan, 0:52:20, 44

Jessica Stevenson, 0:52:46, 33

Talaya Thomas, 0:52:56, 35

Fran Carolld, 0:53:02, 56

Chrissy Plotner, 0:53:40, 36

Gatlynn Hicks, 0:54:56, 25

Sarah Coleman, 0:56:20, 33

Heidi Mueller, 0:56:27, 36

Nicole Gunckel, 0:57:00, 34

Rebecca Williams, 0:57:17, 28

Morgan Peterson, 0:57:28, 29

Jen Calderazzo, 0:57:33, 36

Krista Reymore, 1:00:30, 42

Pamela Wooster, 1:00:40, 49

Lindy Barrett, 1:03:04, 31

Ashley Reed, 1:03:04, 26

Jill Duplessis, 1:03:38, 40

Becky Berge, 1:08:19, 35

Robin Hall, 1:11:27, 34

Jessica Austin, 1:13:14, 31

Becky Gerze, 1:18:07, 56

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

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