‘An emotional run’ Spring Creek winners run in memory of lost loved ones
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — ‘Always with you,’ read Cinthy Carson’s shirt. It was blue, darker in some places where sweat soaked through. Below the words was a white tree with branches and roots intertwining to form a circle.
On her back, she wore a purple hydration pack with three pins on it that said, “Be Happy,” “Be Daring for Erika” and “Live Life Bravely for Erika.”
Six months ago, Carson’s daughter, Erika, passed away. On Saturday, July 27, Carson ran the Spring Creek Memorial Trail Run in memory of her daughter. With a time of one hour, 32 minutes and 41 seconds, she won the women’s division of the 9.5 mile run.
Carson hails from Laramie, Wyo., but has been competing in every race of the Steamboat Springs Running Series. The 52-year-old admitted the Spring Creek trail was more difficult than she expected, but held onto the memory of her daughter to keep moving.
“I just imagined that her hand was on my back and she’s pushing me up the hill,” Carson said.
Kevin Fonger, 40, who won the men’s division of the 9.5 mile race in 1:21:09, also thought of a late friend while running.
Two years ago, Fonger ran the Spring Creek race alongside Dan Hohs. In October 2017, Hohs died of a snakebite while hiking the Mount Galbraith trail in Golden.
“This was kind of an emotional run for me,” Fonger said. “It is every year because I ran with a guy two years ago, Dan Hohs. … Him and I were just running the race a few years ago. We were chatting and competing against each other the entire time. He was a good friend of mine. Every time I run this race, it’s emotionally-charged. I just think of him and I just go for it.”
The long race began at the Spring Creek gazebo and navigated partially up the Spring Creek Trail before veering onto private property. Runners kept pushing uphill to Buffalo Pass where they headed to Dry Lake Campground before turning back down the Spring Creek Trail to the finish line.
“There were lots of downed trees. It was kind of like an obstacle course,” Fonger said. “That’s a ton of fun. Jumping on to Buff Pass road, it was a little bit grueling, then you bomb the downhill. It’s a blast.”
He said another highlight of the morning was spotting the bones of what he presumed to be an elk along the private property section of the course.
“I just love to show the kids how fun running can be,” said Fonger, who coaches middle school cross country at Steamboat Springs. “I hope to get as many kids out as possible.”
Winning the 5K race was Hayden native and Moffat County cross country runner Wyatt Mortenson. The 16-year-old won the event last year with a course-best time of 18:03. This year, he beat that by running the route in 17:48.
“High elevation, lots and lots of hills, so it was a great race,” Moretenson said. “It’s definitely one of the hardest 5Ks you’ll do.”
Moretenson sailed through the finish line nearly 90 seconds before anyone else. The stretch leading into the finish is dry dirt and downhill, so runners are moving quick all the way past the line. Most of the course is dirt, so hauling downhill was a little hazardous.
“You just go as hard as you can,” Mortenson said. “If you fall, you fall. It is what it is. Just watch where you put your feet and go.”
Ginger Johnston, Won the women’s 5K race with a time of 22:27.
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