Race Highlights

Race Highlights


TWO STARS ARE BORN

The Run, Rabbit, Run 50 and 100 Endurance Runs Presented by Altra, in addition to attracting some of our best established ultra runners (Geoff Roes, Timmy Olsen, Nikki Kimball, Rob Krar, Emma Roca, Karl Meltzer, Lizzie Hawker...) has also served as the coming out party for future ultra stars (Jason Schlarb and Michele Yates, to name a few) and this year will likely be no exception as two very fast rabbits who have hopped beneath the radar - Alex Nichols and Courtney Dauwalter, both 31, and both of Colorado - took home ultra trail running’s richest prize, $12,000 smackeroos, for winning the Fifth Annual Run, Rabbit, Run 100 Mile Endurance Run. Both will be heard from again.

Yup, September 16, 2016 was another glorious day in bunny-land with Steamboat’s spectacular fall colors in dazzling array, as a full field of Tortoises and Hares set off on their merry way, with a stellar field hip-hopping through the mountains. Nichols, Sage Canaday, Dustin Simoens, Jesse Haynes, Tommy Rivers Puzey, Bob Shebest, Germany’s Marco Sturm and Dan Metzger led the field early, but by mile 30 Nichols had assumed command and the blistering early pace began to take its toll. Carnage was rampant. Alex ended up winning by over an hour in 17:57. Mark Hammond of Utah stayed well for second in 19:19 and Kyle Curtin took third in 19:27. They took home $5,000 and $3,500, respectively. Ever patient Jeff Browning of Oregon was fourth in 19:36 and took home the Masters money, for a total also of $3,500. On the women’s side Courtney was at or near the lead from the outset, ultimately leaving a top notch field including Nikki Kimball, Amanda Basham, Alissa St. Laurent, Nicole Kalogeropoulus (formerly Studer), Anita Ortiz and Denise Bourassa in her wake. She also won by over an hour in 21:23 (8th overall). Canada’s St. Laurent ($5,000) also held well for second in 22:28 and Texas’ Kalogeropoulos ($3,500) was third in 23:10. Becky Kirschenmann was fourth and top Masters in 24:36 and also won $3,500. Prize money for both men and women went seven deep.

The Run, Rabbit, Run features separate starts for Hares and Tortoises with the Tortoises getting a four-hour head start. In the Tortoise division, Colorado's Kevin Sturmer ran a Hare-like 22:12 while Bailey Eppard, just 21, ran 26:40 to take the Tortoise wins. Josh Golden (24:55) and Sheri Nagaru (28:55) were top Masters. Drew Meyer of Texas at age 69 was our oldest finisher in 34:55. All women finishers over 50 and all men finishers over 60 get free entry into next year’s race.

In the 50 miler Timmy Parr continued his fabulous summers of racing and defended his title, running 7:26 for the win, while Doney Blair ran 9:18 to capture the distaff title. Second and third places were Dillon Gotshall and our very own Amber Sachs, and 17 year old Patrick McIlroy and Christy Vecchio. Ryan Van Ness (8:52 and 4th overall) was top male Masters while Kristi Anderson at 53 was top over 40 female in a terrific 10:29. Our oldest finisher was Dave Hensleigh, 69, of Illinois. He’s the guy that brought the Tarahumaras to Steamboat and America five years ago.

Richard Iverson of New Mexico and Steamboat’s Mike Hlavacek earned their five-hundred mile buckles. Next year’s races are scheduled for September 8 and 9, 2017. Entries will open January 8, 2017. See you next year!

There was a bit of a chill and a drizzle in the air on Friday morning at 8 am, September 18, as runners began that long, steep ascent up to Mount Werner in this year's 4th Annual Run, Rabbit, Run 100 Mile Endurance Run Presented by Altra, but by the time the Hares hopped off four hours later it was sunny and bright with temperatures in the mid 60s and nary a cloud in the sky. It was a great day to be a rabbit, and a turtle, too. Our resident Pooka, Harvey, was all smiles.

"The pace makes the race," the old saw goes, and that proved true, as one of the deepest 100 mile fields in the nation set off on a record setting pace, vying for the winner's $12,000 purse. On the men's side, course record holder and 2013 champion Jason Schlarb, Germany's Marco Sturm, 20 year old phenom Jared Hazen, Colorado's super consistent Nick Clark, and former USATF National 100 Mile Champ David James were all in the early mix, with multiple-time Western States winner (and Western States course record holder) Timothy Olsen, last year's Run, Rabbit, Run second place finisher Josh Arthur, Wisconsin's Brian Condon, California's San Diego 100 winner Bob Shebest, and Arizona's Jacob Puzey all in hot pursuit. By darkness, of those aforementioned all but Schlarb, Sturm and Shebest had dropped, and Andrew Skurka had moved into contention. But Schlarb, sharp, rested and fit after a year racing in Europe, proved best, winning by over an hour in 18:05, with Shebest and Skurka second and third. They won $12,000, $6,000 (Shebest getting the $1,000 masters' premium) and $3,500, respectively. Prize money went seven deep.

The women's field was even more contentious, as on paper any one of a dozen seemed capable of pulling off the win. Our 2013 winner and that year's Ultra Runner of the Year and Run, Rabbit, Run course record holder Michele Yates took the women off on a blistering pace, with Nevada's Emily Richards, last year's winner and second place finishers Nikki Kimball and Kerrie Bruxvoort, last year's Leadville 100 winner Spain's Emma Roca and Oregon speedster Amanda Basham close behind. Colorado's Cassie Scallon, Montana's Becky Wheeler, Canada's Karen Holland and Oregon's Becky Kirschenmann were all in the hunt as well. The brisk early pace took its toll, as Yates, Kimball, Scallon, Basham and Wheeler all dropped, and in the end it was a patient Roca, followed by Richards, Bruxvoort, Holland and Kirschenmann. Emma ran 21:42 and was 7th overall. As in the men's race, prize money went seven deep, with Roca getting a cool $13,000 (she also won the $1,000 master's premium). That tied last year's winner Nikki Kimball's for the largest trail ultra prize money ever awarded. Couldn't have happened to a nicer gal.

The Run, Rabbit, Run features separate starts for Hares and Tortoises with the Tortoises getting a four-hour head start. In the Tortoise division, Colorado's Ryan Lassen ran a Hare-like 22:50 while Steamboat's own Jenny Fox ran 27:34 to take the wins. Michael Bigelow and Gina Harcrow were top masters. In the 50 miler Timmy Parr continued his fabulous summer of racing, running 7:43 for the win, while Mary Mahoney ran 9:05 to capture the distaff title. Paul Landry was top male Masters while Cindy Stonesmith (at age 51!) was top over 40. Bill Watson, age 69, was our oldest finisher (39:05) and announced this was to be his last 100. What a great ending to a great career, but we hope he changes his mind and comes back next year.

The Run, Rabbit, Run 100, only in its fourth year, has already established itself as one of the premier ultra events in the world. Runners from 40 states and 11 countries competed, both as highly competitive Hares running for the highest purse of any offered in ultra running ($50,000 this year), as well as the more human-like Tortoises, while the 50 miler in it’s ninth year has a well-deserved reputation as one of the top ultras in the country. That the races are also charity events, with 2/3 of the proceeds going to the prize money and about 1/3 going to the various charities the race supports, is a testimony to our sponsors and the great community of Steamboat Springs, Colorado and the support they give the race. Thank you Altra, Smartwool, HoneyStinger and Wyndham!

Over the past two decades no one not named Ann Trason has amassed a more impressive ultra-running resume than Montana’s Nikki Kimball: three-time Ultra Runner of the Year, three-time winner of the Western States 100 - over the course of her career she’s won virtually every significant trail ultra marathon in the world. And so it was only fitting that Kimball, now 43, should cap her career with a win in the third running of the Run, Rabbit, Run 100 Mile Endurance Run Presented by Altra – and with it the richest purse ever offered in ultra trail running, a cool $13,000 (she won $12,000 for first place plus $1,000 as top master). Even our resident Pooka Harvey, as tough an old rabbit as ever there was, got a bit teary-eyed as Kimball, a bit teary-eyed herself, crossed the finish line and got her mandatory hug. It was a stirring moment. She ran 21:14:36. On the men’s side Arizona’s Rob Krar, 2013 Ultra Runner of the Year and recent winner of both the Western States 100 and the Leadville 100, both in near record time, made his case for a repeat of Ultra Runner of the Year honors, winning in 17:40:05. His Western, Leadville, and Run, Rabbit Run wins were all the second fastest times run on the respective courses. He earned $12,000. That’s the second richest purse ever offered in trail ultra running. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Race day began on a near cloudless day with temperatures in the mid-sixties and Kimball, facing a stout women’s field that included, among other top runners, recent Western States 100 winner and pre-race favorite Oregon’s Stephanie Howe, three-time and defending Hardrock 100 winner Colorado’s Darcy Piceu, last year’s Run, Rabbit, Run 50 Mile champ Kerrie Bruxvoort, two-time Leadville 100 winner Lynette Clemons, and former Wasatch 100 and this year’s Quadrock 50 Mile winner Becky Wheeler, bided her time in the early going, as Howe opened up a comfortable lead. By mile 42 Howe was running close behind the lead pack of men and was nearly 45 minutes ahead of the chasing group of women, which consisted of Piceu, Kimball and Bruxvoort. By mile 70, Howe had slowed – she ultimately withdrew with knee pain – and Kimball, ginger braids a flying, pulled away. She won by over an hour. Kerrie Bruxvoort was second, and a fast-closing Darcy Piceu was third. They ran, 22:49:02 and 22:52:40, and earned $4,000 and $3,000, respectively. Only five women Hares were able to complete the tough course under the 30 hour time limit, and all five women were awarded prize money.

The men’s race featured a spirited early duel involving Colorado’s Nick Clark, Krar, former University of Colorado stand out and multiple Run, Rabbit, Run 50 Mile winner Zeke Tiernan, Texas’ Paul Terranova, last year’s fourth place finisher and upcoming star Josh Arthur, and last year’s third place finisher and multiple 100 mile winner legendary Jeff Browning of Oregon, as well as Brendan Trimboli, Jason Ostrom, and 19 year-old sensation Jared Hazen. Half way up the steep Fish Creek Falls Trail at about mile 50, it was down to Krar, Arthur, Browning, Clark and Terranova. Krar eventually pulled away on the descent from Summit Lake at about mile 56, opening up nearly an hour lead. His time was 19:40:05. Josh Arthur was second, and Browning third. They ran 18:33 :05 and 19:06:43 and earned $4,000 and $3,000. Browning was top male masters and thus earned an additional $1,000. Prize money for the men was awarded seven deep. The race marked a significant landmark for Krar, who pronounced the Run, Rabbit, Run the first race he’d ever puked in. Welcome to ultra running, Rob. Harvey was so proud to be part of this important milestone.

The Run, Rabbit, Run features separate starts for Hares and Tortoises, with Tortoises – otherwise known as the “not freakishly genetically gifted” getting a four hour head start. In our Tortoise division, Colorado’s Scott Klopfenstein ran a Hare-like 22:35:05 to win the men’s division, while Katie Noelck, also of Colorado, also ran a Hare-like 27:29:36 to win the women’s division. Scott, 43, was also the top master. The top female master was Cindy Stonesmith, 50, who ran 28:11:44, and who was also our oldest female finisher. Four men over 60 finished: Bill Howard and Al Catalano of Massachusetts, Craig Wilson of Maine, and Canada’s Charles Oatman. They earned a free entry into next year’s race, as did Stonesmith, our oldest woman finisher.

In the 50 miler, Gibb Kentz, 34, improved by over an hour over his last year’s time to win in 7:46:54, while Britt Dick, 28, won the distaff division in 9:08:30. Top masters were Todd Gangelhoff, 42, and Steamboat’s own Marianne Osteen, 54, who ran 9:08:20 and 11:16:15, respectively.

The Run, Rabbit, Run 100, only in its third year, has already established itself as one of the premier ultra events in the world, both for highly competitive Hares who are running for the highest purse of any offered in ultra running ($50,000 this year), as well as for the more human-like Tortoises, while the 50 miler, now in it’s eighth year, already has a well-deserved reputation as one of the top ultras in the country. That the races are also charity events, with 2/3 of the proceeds going to the prize money and about 1/3 going to the various charities the race supports, is a testimony to the great community of Steamboat Springs, Colorado and the support it gives the race.

While much of Colorado suffered through calamitous, and sometimes tragic, flooding, not so those courageous souls who braved washed-out roads and flooded homes to join us at our 7th Annual Run, Rabbit, Run (and our second annual 100 miler). Harvey our resident pooka graced us with cool, overcast weather, with only a hint of rain (and a touch of snow high on up there), a comfortable night and no heat during the day – all of which made for perfect running conditions for both our 100 and 50 milers. In the 100 Mile Men’s Hare division, Montana’s Jason Schlarb ran a jaw-dropping 17:15 to nab our nifty $10,000 purse, winning by over an hour over the ageless Karl Meltzer of Utah, 45, who was second and top Master, with another master, Jeff Browning of Oregon, in third. He ran 18:52. In the distaff Hare division, Colorado’s Michele Yates ran wire to wire to win in 20:16 to also capture $10,000. That’s a lot of simolies. The legendary Nikki Kimball, 42, of Montana was second in 20:59 with Rhonda Claridge of Colorado, 46, in third. Once again, we offered the highest purse of any 100 mile race in the world.

On the Tortoise side Brandon Worthington, 28, ran a Hare-like 22:10, while the recently wed Margaret Ochs of Albuquerque, New Mexico, celebrated her honeymoon in style, winning in 29:44. Amy O’Connell was second female. Don Solberg was second male (and top Master) and Tina Ure, 53, top women’s Master.

The 50 miler saw Colorado’s Dane Mitchell, 32, run a sparkling 7:32, with one of our favorite volunteers, Kerrie Bruxvoort, 37, fifth overall, checking in as top woman. She ran 8:18, just a few minutes off the course record. Morgan Williams ran an 8:03 to be second man, with Steve Liechty, 43, third. He was top Masters. Mary Mahoney was second female and Rebecca Hall third. They ran 9:18 and 9:20, respectively. Julia Lewis, 47, ran 10:11 to be top Master.

Runners from 32 states and 8 foreign countries competed in this year’s event. As usual our post-race party was terrific, with great beer provided by Mahogany Grill, and all the pizza you could want. And thank you Montrail, Honeystinger, ResortQuest/Wyndham Resorts, Smartwool, Black Diamond, Coca-Cola and all the rest of our great sponsors, and thanks to the terrific folks at the Steamboat Chamber. And thanks for a great race!

Yup, our two days of events were beautiful days indeed, as the forests were a palette of autumnal golds, reds and yellows, and the sunshine was awarming the heavens and all the little creatures beneath it! Yup, you knew that somewhere Harvey was watching. The sun shone bright for our inaugural 100 milers (Tortoises and Hares) and too for our 6th 50 miler and then at night – well, there was a bit of a Colorado nip in the air. In the Hare division Harvey’s sense of humor came through as no one paid much mind to his assigning Utah’s ageless Karl Meltzer – at age 44 the winningest 100 mile runner in history – bib number 33, for indeed it was to be Karl’s 33rd win at the distance, and for once, he got to cash in some simolies for it (a cool $10,000, plus another $1,000 as top Master) as well as a trip to the Western States 100. He stalked the early leaders and pulled away late with consummate ease to win in 19:16, on a course much more difficult than anyone expected. Dylan Bowman of Aspen, Colorado, near or on the lead throughout, held for 2nd in 19:56 and collected $3,500. Oregon’s Tim Olson also contended throughout and was 3rd. He ran 20:28. He won $2,000. Not a bad day’s work.

On the distaff side Great Britain’s Lizzy Hawker (by way of Switzerland) overcame a bad early fall to win in 22:07. She too collected a cool $10,000. Rhonda Claridge of Ophir, Colorado, 45, was 2nd in 24:05 and Leila DeGraves of Evergreen, Colorado was 3rd in 24:51. They collected $3.500 and $2,000, respectively, in the richest race in 100 mile endurance run history. We hope to do better next year. On the Tortoise side Clark Sundahl of Monument, Colorado ran a terrific 24:20 to win, and Colorado Springs’ Liz Koop ran a 27:19 to capture the woman’s prize. Steve Chaffee was top men’s Master and Colleen Ihnken top women’s Master. Everyone commented on how beautiful – and difficult – the course was.

The 50 miler saw a terrific performance as Boulder’s Cameron Clayton, 24 and making his first ultra start, broke Geoff Roes’ course record with a jaw-dropping 7:09. He’ll be going to Western States and all you Western States prognosticators, watch out!. Two-time winner and defending champ Zeke Tiernan, 37, of Basalt, Colorado was 2nd in 7:48. Nick Pedatella, 27, and also of Boulder, lost and confused in the previous day’s 100 miler, made amends, stayed on course, and came back to take 3rd in the 50 in 7:57, thereby earning him a trip to Western States and the Lost Bunny award. He deserves both.

Pam Smith, 37, of Salem, Oregon, earned the win and a trip to Western States, running 8:40 and holding off late-charging Kerrie Bruxvoort, 36, of Broomfield, Colorado who ran 8:47. She too will be going to Western States, thanks to Montrail. Silke Koster of Boulder was 3rd in 9:09. Thanks, again, Montrail, for including both our events in the Montrail Ultra Cup.

Our race was graced by the presence of Arnulfo Quimares (hero of that book that many of you may have read) and Miguel Lara, making their first starts outside of their native Tarahumara lands. Thanks for coming, and they’d promised they’d be back. As usual our post-race party was terrific, with great beer provided by Pateros Creek Brewery and Mahogany Grill , and more pizza than on a New York City mile. We’ll be tinkering with our 100 miler a bit for next year to get it just right, so stay tuned. And thanks for a great race!

Every day is a beautiful day indeed, as Elwood P. Dodd said, but some days are more beautiful than others, and we might have known this was not to be one of our more beautiful ones when Harvey, our best friend and resident pooka, mysteriously failed to appear at the pre-race briefing. Harvey knew something was up, and had gone into early hibernation, for on race day, September 17, 2011, winter suddenly arrived.

Torrential rain and bitter cold. Hail, sleet, snow, graupel, and driving winds. Trails that had turned into rivers of freezing muck and mud. After four years of glorious race day weather nature exacted her revenge and greeted the 162 brave starters of the 5th Annual Run, Rabbit, Run 50 Miler with all she had. Only 115 souls survived the challenge to complete the course, thanks in large part to our terrific volunteers, many of who parted with the clothes off their backs to help the runners through, and to the generosity of fellow runners, who exchanged rain gear, jackets, gloves and hats to keep each other safe through the remote course and brutal conditions. It’s what our sport is all about, and thanks largely to that spirit of generosity, everyone made it home unscathed.

But despite the rain, hail, sleet and bunny snot there were some spectacular performances out there, led by Zeke Tiernan of Carbondale, Colorado, our inaugural 2007 Run, Rabbit, Run winner and old course record holder, who returned to win in a remarkable 7:24, barely holding off ultra super star Nicholas Clark of Fort Collins, Colorado, who stopped to tie his shoelaces with five miles to go. The two had run neck and neck through the day and it may have cost him the win. Nick ran 7:26. “Every time I see a moose in a race, I win,” Tiernan said after crossing the finish. We thought it might have been Harvey. Two-time winner and last year’s third place finisher Ryan Burch was third in 8:08. Jenny Pierce of Livingstone, Montana, space blankets flapping, won a contentious distaff race in 9:34 with Tina Lewis of Boulder, in a men’s jacket three sizes too large lent her by a fellow runner, second in 9:55. Stephanie Lynn was a few minutes back in third in 9:57:30. Top two men and women finishers earn an automatic berth into the Western States 100, thanks to our wonderful sponsor Montrail. Thank you Montrail, for again including us as part of the Montrail Ultra Cup! The ageless Charles Corfield was top Men’s Master in 8:58, and Colleen Ihnken was once again top Women’s Master in 10:49. All earned beautiful hand-crafted platters made by our volunteers.

A special word of thanks to Bill Fanselow, last year’s 2nd place finisher and a terrific fellow, who attempted the conditions, with near disastrous results, in shorts and tiny singlet. While the Dumb Bunny award we gave him was made partially in jest, flirting with hypothermia – as many out there were doing – is no laughing matter. Bill used the opportunity to speak to the runners at the awards ceremony of the dangers of running through the mountains unprepared. While our race date corresponds historically with some of the mildest, driest weather in Colorado, this is the Rockies of northern Colorado – the weather is unpredictable. Many experienced runners said the conditions on race day were the most brutal they had ever encountered, and many runners were unprepared. Fortunately, no one suffered any serious injury, and everyone said the beer and pizza (and hot chili) at the post race party made it all worthwhile.

After five years, we would also like to thank our runners and volunteers that have been with us for the entire time.

  • Runners – Mike Hlavacek and Ryan Burch
  • Volunteers – Richard Schneider, Hadley Nylen, Scott Blair and Deb Freeman

And Harvey promises he will be there next year.

Wow. What a day it was! Glorious, glorious sunshine, the forest a kaleidoscope of autumnal reds and golds, and bunnies, bunnies, everywhere! And boy, there were some weally, weally fast wabbits out there, as both top two men and top two women broke the course records. Geoff Roes, of Juneau, Alaska and now part time Boulder, Colorado resident (and the Rafael Nadal of ultra running), ran 7:11 to notch yet another win, edging out Bill Fanselow, 43, and coming off heart surgery (yup) who ran 7:22. Prior course record holder and two time winner Ryan Burch ran third in 7:37, while on the distaff side Joelle Vaught of Boise, Idaho, smashed the old course record by over an hour and ran 5th overall in 8:08. Helen Cospolich ran second in 9:04 and Jaclyn Greenhill, running her first ultra, ran a stellar 9:36 to take third. Bill Fanselow, Ryan Burch, Helen Cospolich and Jaclyn Greenhill have all qualified for automatic entry into the granddaddy of them all, the Western States 100. Thank you, Montrail, for making us part of your Montrail Ultra Cup. We hope we did you proud.

Donald Demetriades of Bozeman, Montan ran a terrific 8:53 to win the Men’s Masters (over 45) while Denise Kowal of Truckee, California ran 10:58 to win the Women’s Masters (over 45). Top three open and masters men and woman all received beautiful hand painted ceramic platters, as did Eric Sandstrom, the last official finisher, who finished with a smile and a thank you.

There were 162 starters and 133 official finishers. The joy of our race this year was tempered by the loss of our two time winner and volunteer coordinator Jenna Gruben – the heart and soul of our race, and newlywed wife of co-race director Matt Morrill. Our race was dedicated to her, and all profits will be donated to the Jenna Gruben-Morrill Foundation (created by her family), Partners of Routt County and the Steve Maloney Fund; charities that Jenna loved and cared about.

“Awesome!” “Spectacular!” “The most beautiful course in the West, bar none!” “Where else can you run an ultra with a rock band and a thousand people waiting at the finish?” “Where’d that darn moose come from?” Those were just some of the comments to the third annual Run, Rabbit, Run 50 miler, run on a brand new fabulous course, where Greeley’s Ryan Burch, last years winner and nearly unbeatable at 50 miles, smoked the competition and the (old course) course record in an amazing 7 hours 26 minutes. Bryan Goding of Fort Collins was 2nd in 8:05, with Marco Peinado of Leadville, 22 and running his first ultra, 3rd in 8:14. On the distaff side our very own volunteer coordinator and newlywed Jenna Gruben of Steamboat, defended her title, also in a course record 9:14. Sonja Wieck of Greenwood Village, Colorado was 2nd in 9:20 and Boulder’s Caroline Walden 3rd in 9:45. Matthew Weatherly-White of Boise, Idaho ran a terrific 8:53 to win the Men’s Masters, and Colleen Ihnken of Alma, Colorado, was 1st Women’s Masters in 10:17.

Ninety-seven of 115 starters representing 19 states and 3 countries finished within the official time limit, and once again, the weather was terrific and the post-race party (which coincided with the Steamboat Oktoberwest beer fest) great fun. And that was no moose the runners saw out there; it was just our very own pooka, Harvey.

Prizes
: All the winners and special award winners received a beautiful hand made ceramic platter designed and made by local Steamboat artists and all finishers got a nice beer mug. Bill Moyle at 70 the oldest official finisher received a special award, as did Karen Pate, running her third Run, Rabbit, Run. Once again she missed an official finish by minutes, but she was the last female runner across the line, so for her loyalty and perseverance we gave her an award too. Steamboat City Councilor Walter Magill, a good sport and an avid and tireless supporter of running who was running his first ultra, wandered (badly) off course, taking with him Jordi Caba Salva, who came all the way from Spain and was also running his first ultra. Their special effort in misdirection cried out for a special award, and we gave them each one too.

Yes, as Elwood P. Dodd said, every day is a beautiful day, but race day this year in beautiful Steamboat Springs was an especially glorious one: the start under a brisk sky studded with stars, a morning turquoise sky framing peaks capped with snow from the prior days precipitations, in the afternoon a warming sun and a few billowing clouds: it was enough to make a rabbit forget about racing and just laze around the hutch.

But race they did, and what a race it was! A contentious group of three raced bunny ear to bunny ear before Ryan Burch, 28, of Greeley, Colorado and last years fifth place finisher, edged Steamboat Springs Running Series Champ Todd Trapp, 30, for the win in 8:31, while our very own Jenna “Bunny” Gruben, 31, our Volunteer Coordinator and last year’s second place finisher, collared last years winner and course record holder Samantha Sigle, 33, of Boulder for the women’s win in 9:57 before an adoring family, all properly festooned in rabbit ears and tails.

Nicholas Clark, 34 of Fort Collins was third male, while Steamboat’s Angie Mangiardi, 31 and our loyal Smartwool representative and a tireless volunteer, was third woman. Allen Hadley of Crested Butte, 51 (just a week after running the Wasatch 100!), and Chris Poland of Broomfield, 47, were top Masters.

A total of 75 from all across the country hopped across the finish, many of them literally, within the official time limit of 15 hours, to partake in the beer and pizza that marked the finish. The aid stations were spirited, our post-race party was fun, in the end no seemed much worse for the wear, and nearly all those coherent enough to do so commented about the beauty and the difficulty of the course. Our race this year was dedicated to runner Steve Maloney, and his spirit shined over us: it was a glorious, glorious day.

Prizes
: The winners received a beautiful stained glass plaque, and all prize winners received a lovely glass paperweight. Twelve time Leadville finisher John Hobbs of Colorado Springs, at 63 the oldest and last official finisher in 14:56, received an award, and since he graciously allowed Diane Repasky, 43, of Evergreen, Colorado, to finish before him, we gave her a prize too.

June Gessner, of Salida, Colorado, though a mere 55 was the oldest female finisher. She ran a terrific 13:45 and we gave her a prize as well.

Well, there sure were some wickedly fast wabbits out there! Two time All-American runner and former University of Colorado standout Zeke Tiernan, 32, of Aspen Colorado ran 8:05 in his first attempt at an ultra to win by over 40 minutes, while Samantha Sigle, 32, and back living in Boulder after spending some time in New Zealand, also made her first 50 miler a winning one, running 9:44 (6th overall!) to win the women’s division by half an hour. Charles Corfield, 48, fresh off his third place finish at the Leadville 100 came bounding down the mountain to get second, with Steamboat’s very own Allen Belshaw, 40 (and third place last week in the Wasatch 100!) taking third. Jenna Grubin, 30, also of Steamboat and Mary Mahoney, 31, of Crested Butte, were second and third women. Elise Boeh of Woodland Park and David Goldberg of Flagstaff were the top Masters. The winners got a beautiful stained glass plaque, and all eight runners also received beautiful Smartwool sweaters. We also gave Ian Maddieson from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and at 65 the oldest runner in the race, a Smartwool sweater for his terrific performance, as he finished in 14:49.

The weather conditions were perfect, the post-race party was fun, and the runners all described the scenery as spectacular. The veteran ultra runners called the course among the most difficult they’d run. Quiet a few runners (including winner Zeke Tiernan), described seeing what they identified as “moose” and others claimed they saw “deer” or “elk” along the course, but we attribute this to extreme fatigue. There was nothing out there but large and cleverly disguised bunny rabbits.