Howelsen Hill Trail Run sees repeat winner in 8-mile race |

Howelsen Hill Trail Run sees repeat winner in 8-mile race

Wisconsin's Jacob Bransky
Austin Colbert

— Paul Moth made it clear after Saturday’s Howelsen Hill Trail Run that he hates running on pavement. He ran cross country and track in both high school and college, but since then, he has kept his running exclusively to Mother Nature’s natural expressway.

“I just like being in the mountains and away from big, gigantic crowds and the road marathons,” said Moth, who works for DigitalGlobe in Longmont, a satellite imagery company. “Ever since college, I’ve just been doing trail runs throughout the summers. Just for fun to keep in shape. Nothing too serious, but I try to be a little competitive.”

Moth likes to travel around the state looking for races in small, mountain towns, including Saturday’s Running Series race in Steamboat Springs. He joined his family in Steamboat this weekend, where his father was showing off his yellow 1969 Mercury Cougar during the Mustang Roundup.

In the meantime, Moth was busy winning Saturday’s feature race at Howelsen Hill, the 8-miler around Emerald Mountain, a feat he’s now done two years in a row. In 2014, he won the 8-mile race in 51 minutes, 15 seconds, a touch faster than this year’s time of 52:35.

“I won last year as well. I was a little faster, but that’s all right. It’s warmer out and it’s fine,” Moth said with good humor about his slower time. “It’s always nice to win. It’s not like it’s the Olympics or anything, but it’s nice to win. It’s a fun course.”

The race at Howelsen is the only Running Series event in which Moth takes part. He has plans to be in Aspen next week for a trail marathon.

“(I) just kind of pick random cities throughout Colorado to go run,” Moth said. “This is kind of the pre-cursor to some bigger races down the road. It’s a good warm up.”

Finishing second in the 8-mile race Saturday was Steamboat’s Watkins Fulk-Gray, with a time of 54:57. Fulk-Gray is proving to be a serious contender for the overall Running Series title, as he has factored into each of the four races so far this summer. Taking third in the 8-mile race was Daniel Goding, with a time of 55:09.

Winning the women’s 8-mile race was Steamboat’s Penelope Freedman. She finished the course in 1 hour, 5 minutes and 42 seconds, taking 11th overall. Freedman entered Saturday’s race leading the overall Running Series standings; she has been the top female in three of the four races this summer.

Freedman, who owns Kenchuto Bliss, which specializes in raw foods and organic energy bars for athletes, is originally from Cape Town, South Africa, but has lived in Steamboat nearly three years. She took part in the Running Series part-time a year ago, but has dedicated herself to winning the overall title this summer.

“I’ve competed my whole life, but I took a big break when I was snowboarding. I took like eight years off running, and I’m just starting to get back into it now,” said Freedman, who was first drawn to Steamboat because of its winter sports. “I’m just enjoying all the trail running. Had a lot of opportunity to run this winter because the snow wasn’t very good, so (I) did lots of mountain running and snow biking — just got super strong over the winter.”

Finishing second in the women’s 8-mile was Candy Granger in 1:07:58, which was 14th overall. The sister duo of Kelly and Wylie Masterson finished third and fourth, each with a time of 1:09:35.

Saturday’s 4-mile race, which is not included in the overall Running Series standings, was won by Jacob Bransky in 27:22. Bransky, a soon-to-be high school senior from Wisconsin, was in town this weekend visiting his aunt and wanted to find a mountain race to compete in.

“I heard about it last week when I was looking for a race to do in Colorado, and a trail run seemed like an awesome race to do,” said Bransky, who runs cross country and track for his high school. “I wasn’t expecting it. I thought one of the eight-milers was going to run the four-mile, and they were maybe 100 feet ahead of me. Then I popped over mile run, I think it’s called, and nobody was in front of me.”

Tyler Terranova was second in the 4-mile race in 27:43, and Wyatt Gebhardt took third in 27:46. Elizabeth Hope won the women’s 4-mile race in 36:46, taking 14th overall.

Next up for the Running Series is the July 4 Mountain Madness, which includes both a half marathon and 10-kilometer race.

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

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


The Routt to Adventure: Backcountry skiing at Bluebird

I have been skiing about 15 years now, learning to Nordic ski in gym class in elementary school and grew up Alpine skiing at Okemo Mountain in my home state of Vermont. I’m by no means a daredevil but I am comfortable on Alpine skis and my ability to get around in them.

See more