Runner Joy Stearns conquers Cog in husband’s memory |

Runner Joy Stearns conquers Cog in husband’s memory

Joy Stearns powers her way up the Cog Road on Saturday during Hayden's annual Cog Run. Stearns ran the race to fulfill a promise she made to her husband, Brett Stearns, last year before he died clearing hazardous trees in Craig.
Joel Reichenberger

— Joy Stearns couldn't run last year's Cog Run in Hayden, even after her husband, Brett Stearns, organized dozens of his friends and co-workers from firefighting outfits in Craig to do it.

She promised him she'd run it in 2010, and, in his memory, she did.

Brett Stearns died several weeks after he charged up the Cog Road in the 2009 race, during hazardous tree removal near Craig.

"I promised him then, 'I'll run with you.' Since he's not here and able to do it, I wanted to do it to keep up my promise," Joy Stearns said after Saturday's Cog Run in Hayden. "It was hard, but it was nice because I knew he was with me."

The race started under ominous clouds, and before Stearns reached the top of the 8.4-mile out-and-back course, it was raining and hailing.

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She made it, though, chugging up the steep road and later crossing the finish line with the same smile on her face.

She was third, finishing in 1 hour, 10 minutes and 45 seconds.

"We did a run for him back in the beginning of May, and it was snowing, but we knew he was behind it because he wouldn't just let anyone do it. Only the determined could get through the race," Stearns said. "He really liked to challenge himself and see what he could do."

Stearns said the other Craig firefighters who helped fill last year's race had to miss this year because of the lightning in the area and the potential for forest fires. Still, 51 runners took part Saturday, running in the Cog and 10- and 5-kilometer races.

Steamboat's Scott Brane won the men's Cog in 52:29. He broke free early in his first attempt on the course and took off, even though he didn't know what to expect. The strategy worked, and he kept a safe gap on second-place Derek Leidigh throughout the race.

Leidigh was second at 55:11, and Allen Belshaw finished third in 57:57.

"It's tortuous on the way up and fun on the way down," Brane said. "I didn't know much about the course, just that it was a long, steep uphill. I didn't even know where the top was, so I was just going, 'Please let it be close.'"

Mary Schuette won the women's race in 1:07:14, ahead of Kristen Moore at 1:09:37 and Stearns.

"It was awesome," Schuette said. "The rain was great because it cooled you down. Last year, it was 90 degrees and really hot, so this year the rain felt great."

Cliff Penick was the top men's racer in the 10-kilometer race, ahead of Eric Gautreaux in second and George Hawn in third. Shayna Cooke won the women's race. Emily Conjura was second and Erin Graden third.

Savannah Williams topped the women's 5K. Elizabeth Tucker was second, and Michelle Tucker was third.

Jay Willson won the men's side. Erik Belshaw was second, and Terrill Graden was third.

"Those were probably the worst weather conditions I've run in," Stearns said. "But that's good. That means only the tough come out."

Cog Run results




  1. Scott Brane: 52:29
  2. Derek Leidigh: 55:11
  3. Allen Belshaw: 57:57
  4. Joseph Robinson: 1:04:52
  5. Dave Terranova: 1:05:33
  6. James Morton: 1:05:46
  7. Alex Moore: 1:06:46
  8. Tom Nelson: 1:09:02
  9. Scott Rankin: 1:11:30
  10. Dick Curtis: 1:17:19
  11. Kevin Lind: 1:23:30
  12. Alex Wilson: 1:25:42
  13. Tyler Jacobs: 1:25:44
  14. Don Platt: 1:29:42


  1. Mary Schuette: 1:07:14
  2. Kristen Moore: 1:09:37
  3. Joy Stearns: 1:10:45
  4. Cara Marrs: 1:13:01
  5. Amy Volk: 1:14:04
  6. Denise Heil : :18:16
  7. Deb Freeman: 1:20:39
  8. Amy Wilson: 1:38:33
  9. Dianne Carter: 1:39:29

10-kilometer race


  1. Cliff Penick: 50:10
  2. Eric Gautreaux: 50:39
  3. George Hawn: 1:29:29


  1. Shayna Cooke: 50:26
  2. Emily Conjura: 55:21
  3. Erin Graden: 56:50
  4. Linda Casner: 57:55
  5. Angela Vanoveren: 1:01:55
  6. Shamree Rencher: 1:11:27
  7. Sharla Griffiths: 1:15:00

5K race


  1. Jay Willson: 22:00
  2. Erik Belshaw: 34:46
  3. Terrill Graden: 36:00


  1. Savannah Williams: 24:03
  2. Elizabeth Tucker: 25:35
  3. Michelle Tucker: 26:48
  4. Tarrah Patch: 27:15
  5. Isis Beckett: 28:02
  6. Susan Siggson: 29:02
  7. Kate Znamenacek: 29:19
  8. Julie Noyes: 31:07
  9. Laura Lancaster: 31:25
  10. Dawn Obrecht: 34:57
  11. Christine Shelton: 35:14
  12. Andoni Cameron: 41:14
  13. Annika Belshaw: 47:46
  14. Cathy Johnson: 47:46