Local connections strong among Steamboat Marathon winners | SteamboatToday.com
Austin Colbert

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Local connections strong among Steamboat Marathon winners

Littleton's Jim Rebenack was the overall marathon champion

— Growing up, Katie Kissane spent the winters with her mother in Vermont before returning to Steamboat Springs, her only home until she was 5 years old, for the summers.

Now 33 and a resident of Windsor, Kissane still frequents Steamboat as much as she can, a place that will always be close to her heart.

"It's one of my favorite places to be," said Kissane, a registered dietician and nutritionist. "It's about time I probably come up and do this race. It was a beautiful course. Most of the time I was just looking around at all the scenery and that kind of kept my mind occupied."

Mostly a triathlete, Kissane hadn't run a marathon in four years, and never in Steamboat. This changed Sunday during the 35th annual Steamboat Marathon, Kissane finally getting the chance to spread her wings in the Yampa Valley.

And, as it turned out, she can fly with the best of them. Kissane was the first woman to cross the finish line Sunday — and sixth overall — winning the full marathon in 3 hours, 10 minutes, 40 seconds, nearly 17 minutes ahead of the second-place woman, Highlands Ranch resident Julie Powell.

Third place went to Steamboat runner Andrea Wilhelm, the 2014 Steamboat Marathon women's champion, in 3:31:34, four minutes behind Powell.

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"A lot of people around here know my family, so I thought it would be kind of cool to come in No. 1," Kissane said. "It means a lot. I didn't really know what to expect going in, because I've been training hard. I kind of had a more conservative time in mind, because I ran a few other marathons at sea level and I wasn't expecting a whole lot. But I ended up feeling really good."

As a bonus, Kissane's time is 25 minutes inside the qualifying standard she needs to compete in the 2017 Boston Marathon, something she considers a bucket list race.

Littleton firefighter wins men's marathon

Jim Rebenack may live in Littleton and work as a firefighter in Boulder County, but he has deep roots in the mountains on the Western Slope. A former Craig resident whose wife grew up in Steamboat Springs, the Yampa Valley is basically a second home to them.

It was his wife, Jenny, who wanted to make the trip west to compete in Sunday's Steamboat half marathon, of which she finished 74th overall (24th among women) in a field of nearly a thousand. Instead of only watching, Jim Rebenack decided to jump in and race the full marathon, which he felt he had a chance to succeed in.

"I kind of was shooting for a certain time and with the history and the past times of winning, I knew I'd be in the top," Jim Rebenack said. "I was feeling good at the start. I was planning on going out and hitting the hills kind of hard. Just trying to keep it comfortable, but pushing it. Then, trying to hold on to that."

Jim Rebenack, 32, who prefers long-distance trail running, had only competed in one road marathon before Sunday, and that was seven years ago. But, as a lifelong athlete with a career that requires elite fitness, hopping into Sunday's marathon wasn't as crazy as it sounds.

What did surprise was the blistering pace he set. Jim Rebenack won the 35th running of the race in 2:40:25, a pace of 6:08. He outran Chicago's Nic Aubert, who finished second in 2:51.09, and Australia's Richard Banks, the third-place finisher in 2:53:02.

"I try to never look back and just pretend like the person is running on your heels," Jim Rebenack said. "I kept hearing the cowbells when I came through, so I thought somebody was just a couple hundred yards off my tail. I was kind of surprised when I found they were a little ways back."

Jim Rebenack's next big race will be the Pikes Peak Marathon in August.

Four Steamboat locals finished in the top 10 of Sunday's marathon, led by Allen Belshaw's fourth-place time of 3:09:12. In fifth was Avery Collins (3:10:16), in seventh Charlie MacArthur (3:12:23) and in eighth Donnie Haubert (3:14:46).

Boulder pro tops half marathon field

Sam Long is a professional triathlete, the sort that rarely wastes his time with events that only require running. Steamboat is his exception, however, Sunday's half marathon part of some rest and relaxation he was partaking in during the weekend.

"I really like the area," said Long, a Boulder native. "It's my only straight running race of the whole year, just because I love this race."

Long, 20, won Sunday's half marathon in 1:14:56, nearly two minutes ahead of new Steamboat implant Gabe Small. Loveland's Daniel Goding was third in 1:21:03, and Steamboat's Josh Smullin fourth in 1:23:43.

Long, a student at the University of Colorado, also won the Steamboat half marathon in 2014, the only other time he has competed in the region.

In the women's half marathon field, the top spot belonged to New York's Lesley Maio, 35, who finished eighth overall in 1:30:36. Maio, a native of Colorado, ran the Steamboat half marathon once before, when she was in high school.

Two decades later, she returned with her husband, seventh-place finisher Josh Maio, and a strong cheering section.

"My parents picked a weekend that there happened to be a race, coincidentally, and then suggested, strongly, that we sign up for it," said Lesley Maio, whose parents live in Centennial. "It was a lot of fun. I ran with my husband the whole race, until the last two miles. I told him if there was anyone he had to gun for the last two miles to just leave me, and he did. He left me."

Steamboat's Pearson Alspach was second among women in the half marathon in 1:31:39 and third was Lafayette's Jenna Allais in 1:32:32.

Carlson returns to win 10K race

Fort Collins resident Erick Carlson is disappointed to possibly be losing his part-time Steamboat resident status. The 31-year-old will graduate with his Ph.D. from Colorado State University in December, and decided to put his Rabbit Ears condo up for sale. He originally bought it as an investment in 2013.

Until then, Steamboat remains somewhat of a second home for Carlson, who also won the Turkey Trot race in November at Steamboat Springs High School.

He made the journey to Steamboat this weekend simply to enjoy the town's outdoor activities with his friends, before deciding the day before to compete in Sunday's 10-kilometer portion of the Steamboat Marathon.

Carlson ended up winning the 10K in 36 minutes, 52 seconds, edging Steamboat's Watkins Fulk-Gray by 84 seconds. Taking third was Denver's Davis Miller (38:53) and fourth Steamboat's Tyler Terranova (39:56).

The top female finisher was Santa Monica, California's Lindsay Covington, 42, a Boulder native who competed in Steamboat once before, almost a decade ago.

Covington finished ninth overall in 42:43.

"A friend of mine kind of planted a seed and I thought it was time to revisit Steamboat," Covington said. "It's definitely different (than the beach), but this is kind of my church up here. I love the mountain running."

Steamboat's Heather Gollnick was the second 10K female finisher in 44:11, good for 17th overall. Longmont's Erica Ruge was third in 46:20.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

35th annual Steamboat Marathon results

Full Marathon

Men

  1. Jim Rebenack, Littleton, 2:40:25
  2. Nic Aubert, Chicago, 2:51:09
  3. Richard Banks, Australia, 2:53:02

Women

  1. Katie Kissane, Windsor, 3:10:40
  2. Julie Powell, Highlands Ranch, 3:27:38
  3. Andrea Wilhelm, Steamboat Springs, 3:31:34

Half Marathon

Men

  1. Sam Long, Boulder, 1:14:56
  2. Gabe Small, Steamboat, 1:16:49
  3. Daniel Goding, Loveland, 1:21:03

Women

  1. Lesley Maio, New York, 1:30:36
  2. Pearson Alspach, Steamboat, 1:31:39
  3. Jenna Allais, Lafayette, 1:32:32

10-kilometer race

Men

  1. Erick Carlson, Fort Collins, 36:52
  2. Watkins Fulk-Gray, Steamboat, 38:16
  3. Davis Miller, Denver, 38:53

Women

  1. Lindsay Covington, Santa Monica, 42:43
  2. Heather Gollnick, Steamboat, 44:11
  3. Erica Ruge, Longmont, 46:20