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In a field of 900

Hola and Carlson top half marathon

— Kelly Carlson felt a little anxious before Sunday’s 13-mile half marathon race.

“I was a nervous wreck. I thought I was going to throw up,” said the 2005 half marathon female champion. “There’s a certain pressure to win.”

Despite Carlson’s strict self-imposed standards, running seven minutes slower than her winning time in 2000, the 41-year-old Lafayette resident again ran away with the fastest female half marathon time, finishing at one hour, twenty-nine minutes and 34 seconds.

“This is the culmination of my spring training,” Carlson said. “I just ran within myself. I didn’t care about my time, I just wanted to win.”

Littleton’s Tim Hola also demonstrated a winner’s instinct in his first place overall finish in the field of 900 competitors with a time of 1:17:10.

“I wanted to enjoy the course, soak in everyone’s energy and run fast. I had no mishaps,” Hola said.

The win was Hola’s first race in Steamboat. The 31-year-old triathlete, seasoned from running the half marathon sections of Half Ironman races, said he was using the race as preparation for his leg of next week’s 12-hour Xstream Adventure Race near Durango.

Hola was still quick to point out the difficulties of the challenging course that followed the second half of the marathon course, from Moon Hill down Routt County Road 129 to the front of the Routt County Courthouse.

“It’s a deceiving course,” Hola said. “Every nuance of the course you feel in your feet, you start to notice the slightest incline.”

Another Littleton runner, Todd Carson, finished second with a time of 1:20:36, followed closely by Steven Sellars, a 45-year-old from Superior who finished third at 1:21:19.

Chris McDonald, finishing in ninth place at 1:28:32, was the half-marathon’s top finisher from Routt County.