Runners take first Cog Run wins

Matt Stensland

— A couple of newcomers walked away with top finishes Saturday during the Hayden Cog Run.

The 8.4-mile and 5-kilometer runs marked the beginning of this summer’s Steamboat Springs Running Series.

Jill Delay helped organize the race and said 107 runners participated. She thought that was a record.

“It’s exciting, especially because the weather was supposed to be bad, so we’re excited,” Delay said.

Cool weather and dry roads combined for great race conditions.

Steamboat runners Penelope Freedman and Jesse Wilkins won their divisions in the 8.4-mile race, which climbed and descended Routt County Road 76.

“I liked it,” Freedman said after crossing the finish line with a time of one hour, 58 seconds. “It was a tough course — alot of fun and great views.”

Some would think that the stretch coming down the Cog and back into town would be the easy part, but that was not the case for Freedman.

“A little more difficult coming down than going up just because I was so worn out from the uphill,” Freedman said.

Both Freedman and Wilkins are training for the June 7 Steamboat Marathon.

Wilkins moved to Steamboat in December to ski and was told he needed to stay for the summer. Coming from Wisconsin, Wilkins said he was considering running his first 100-mile race at the Sept. 18 Run Rabbit Run in Steamboat.

He said he was a fan of climbing the hills and mountains in the valley. The 750 feet of elevation gain that the Cog offered was not a problem.

“For not ever doing it before, I think I paced it right,” Wilkins said. “I didn’t hold anything back on the uphill, and I didn’t back off on the downhill.”

In the 5-kilometer race, Simon Zink was the top male finisher, and Briana Perkins was the top female.

The Running Series continues at 9 a.m. May 23 with the Spirit Challenge at Steamboat Springs Middle School. The race is a fundraiser for the Yampa Valley Autism Program. There will be 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer races, as well as a kids fun run.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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