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100 miles of joy and pain

Hundreds tackle Run, Rabbit Run ultra-marathon

Fort Collins runner Reese Ruland runs near the end of the Run
Joel Reichenberger

2015 Run, Rabbit Run results

Men’s hare division

1 Jason Schlarb, 18:0518

2 Bob Shebest, 19:13:34

3 Andrew Skurka, 20:12:50

Women’s hare division

1 Emma Roca, 21:42:46

2 Emily Richards 22:00:20

3 Kerrie Bruxvoort 22:54:45

Men’s tortoise division

1 Ryan Lassen, 22:50:35

2 Michael Bigelow, 24:40:27

3 Adrian Stanciu, 25:00:00

Women’s tortoise division

1 Jenny Fox, 27:34:18

2 Gina Harcrow, 29:05:12

3 Rachael St. Claire, 29:12;54

Men’s 50-mile

1 Timmy Parr, 7:43:20

2 Gabe Small, 7:54:12

3 Paul Landry, 8:16:40

Women’s 50-mile

1 Mary Mahoney, 9:05:08

2 Amanda Morgenstern, 9:18:31

3 Lindsay Swan, 9:59:22

— As he made his way down Mount Werner in Steamboat Springs early Saturday morning, running through the dark, Jason Schlarb hadn’t seen a competitor all day, not since he’d used the technically challenging, rocky Fish Creek Falls trail to distance his main competitor Friday evening, 12 hours and nearly 60 miles earlier.

2015 Run, Rabbit Run results

Men’s hare division

1 Jason Schlarb, 18:0518



2 Bob Shebest, 19:13:34

3 Andrew Skurka, 20:12:50



Women’s hare division

1 Emma Roca, 21:42:46

2 Emily Richards 22:00:20

3 Kerrie Bruxvoort 22:54:45

Men’s tortoise division

1 Ryan Lassen, 22:50:35

2 Michael Bigelow, 24:40:27

3 Adrian Stanciu, 25:00:00

Women’s tortoise division

1 Jenny Fox, 27:34:18

2 Gina Harcrow, 29:05:12

3 Rachael St. Claire, 29:12;54

Men’s 50-mile

1 Timmy Parr, 7:43:20

2 Gabe Small, 7:54:12

3 Paul Landry, 8:16:40

Women’s 50-mile

1 Mary Mahoney, 9:05:08

2 Amanda Morgenstern, 9:18:31

3 Lindsay Swan, 9:59:22

He couldn’t help but worry, however, seeing a potential competitor’s bobbing headlamp in every light he saw, even in the stars, as they winked on the horizon through the aspen trees.

But, the light that hung above Steamboat Ski Area in the wee hours Saturday morning was the planet Venus, bright and steady, and it lit the way for a bright and steady star on the trail as Schlarb finished alone to win the annual Run, Rabbit Run 100-mile ultra marathon for the second time in three years.

“As a professional athlete in a sport that’s niche, (the $12,000 prize) a good motivator, and you couple that with amazing trails, amazing fall colors and a competitive race, and yeah, I love being here,” he said.

Schlarb survived a grueling early pace that caused many top competitors to withdraw, then coasted — comparatively, anyway — through the last 30 miles to finish the race in 18 hours, 5 minutes and 18 seconds, slower than his course-record time in 2013, 17:15:20, but it was plenty fast enough. Bob Shebest was second in 19:13:34 and Andrew Skurka third at 20:12:50.

Schlarb said when he runs 100 miles, his legs hurt so much he can’t sleep, but Saturday, he had plenty to sooth his aches. The prize money will go to a down payment on a log cabin he and his wife are buying near Durango.

Worth the trip

Schlarb led the way for 550 competitors who spent Friday and Saturday laboring through Steamboat Springs’ most epic annual race.

Both the 100-mile version, in its fourth year, and the 50 miler, nine years old, were maxed out, and stories of pain and triumph rang through the resort base area as runners completed their monstrous treks.

For women’s champ Emma Roca, the victory is a sweet check on a bucket list.

A Spanish runner, she said she circled Run, Rabbit Run because she’d heard great things about the scenery, the trail, the crew and the prize purse.

Taking the lead in her race wasn’t particularly dramatic. She passed the two women who’d been in front of her without realizing it, then ran as fast as she could when she learned her position.

For her, $12,000 — her share of the largest prize purse in trail ultra marathon racing — will pay for, first and foremost, the plane ticket it took to travel from Europe to win the race.

“This is very important for me. This is one of the big races I wanted to run in the U.S.A.,” she said. “They told me about how the area is, that it’s great, that the race is really nice.”

Good friends, good run

Runners from near and far, from Switzerland to Japan — nearly a dozen countries in all — gave the event their best shot.

Really, give it their best shot is all they could do.

Fred Abramowitz, the race’s director, who opted to participate in the event for the first time, came within a whisker of making it, withdrawing only Saturday at the top of Mount Werner, six miles from the finish line.

He was certainly not alone, as nearly half those who started the 100-mile race withdrew at some point, most not nearly as far along as Abramowitz was. Of 293 starters, 156 finished..

Those who did make it did so with plenty of help.

Jenny Fox, one of Steamboat’s top finishers, said that’s what made the difference for her. She’d already finished the 50-mile version twice, and tried to ramp up this summer to prepare for the 100, running a 100-kilometer race and several more 50s.

She had a dedicated crew of helpers Friday and Saturday, and they were with her when, in the final mile of the race, she passed a competitor to win the women’s tortoise division.

“I was so lucky to have awesome pacers,” she said. “We had a blast, and that really helped me get through it.

“It’s awesome being from Steamboat and finishing it. That made it great.”

Among Steamboaters, Devon Olson, in the hare division, and Travis Mattern, Michael Ehrlich and Donnie Haubert, in the tortoise division, all also finished the 100 miler.

In the 50-mile race, Timmy Parr, of Leadville, won the race in 7:43:20, ahead of Gabe Small and Paul Landry.

Mary Mahoney won the women’s 50 in 9:05:08. Amanda Morgenstern was second and Lindsay Swan third.

Dillon Gotshall was the fastest local finisher in 9:44:22, just ahead of Allen Belshaw, in at 9:47:53.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9


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