First-place female finisher Kerrie Bruxvoort, of Broomfield, crosses the finish line of the Continental Divide Trail Run on Saturday.

Photo by Matt Stensland

First-place female finisher Kerrie Bruxvoort, of Broomfield, crosses the finish line of the Continental Divide Trail Run on Saturday.

Continental Divide run draws crowd to Steamboat Springs

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Steamboat Springs runner Eddie Rogers nears the finish line of the Continental Divide Trail Run on Saturday.

2013 Steamboat Springs Running Series schedule

— The common topic across town as the calendar creeps up on September remains the changing of the seasons.

There are signs all around. The start of school and prep sports always indicate it's on the way. The changing of the leaves at about 8,000 feet are a sure sign. Sweatshirts in the morning and evening signal the changing temperature.

For runners, Saturday’s Continental Divide Trail Run gave another reminder that summer slowly is fading away.

The grueling race that begins at Fish Creek Falls had a distinct Nordic skiing feel to it. The top three finishers were accomplished cross-country skiers. Although each admitted to wanting a longer summer, the idea of skiing trails wasn’t far off.

Boulder’s Nathan Schultz was the top guy, finishing the 15.5-mile trail run in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 53 seconds.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country coach Josh Smullin was second in 2:05:53, and runner and cross-country skier Harry Niedl was third in 2:08:40.

For Schultz, who runs the Boulder Nordic Shop, this was an event he had listed on his calendar as part of a relaxed running team with which he competes.

Knowing the course — it went up the rocky and steep Fish Creek Falls trail before turning onto Mountain View trail and eventually coming over the top of Steamboat Ski Area and ending at the top of the gondola — Schultz figured he would do well.

“It all depends on who shows up,” he said. “This morning, it was pretty obvious I had a shot.”

With long ascents up steep hills, the cross-country skiers had the advantage. The course climbs a total of 4,800 feet and descends 3,200 feet.

“It’s the uphill,” Smullin said. “It takes the running out of it. We get to use our lungs.”

On the women’s side, Broomfield’s Kerrie Bruxvoort set the course record, finishing in 2:15:36. Sarah Pizzo was second in 2:16:11, and Steamboat’s Hannah Williams was third in 2:23:52.

Bruxvoort, who was second in the 50-mile Run Rabbit Run last year, used the race as a training run. She and Pizzo were close to the top of the mountain before Bruxvoort took the lead on the descent.

“I’d like to improve my time in the Run Rabbit Run,” she said. “Of course, I’d like to win, but I just want to improve my time.”

The next Running Series event is the Sept. 1 10K at 10,000 Feet.

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

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