Spirit Challenge attracts elementary walkers, world-class runners | SteamboatToday.com

Spirit Challenge attracts elementary walkers, world-class runners

Seven-year-old Carson Russell leads a small pack of mixed 5K and 10K runners at the joint start of the 22nd annual Spirit Challenge race, Saturday at the Steamboat Springs Middle School.
Dave Shively


5K run results

Charlie Stoddard, 0:20:47

Gary Gianetti, 0:22:59

Joel Rae, 0:23:22

Richard Sterling, 0:23:35

Lisa Adams, 0:24:51

Chris Adams, 0:24:52

Chris Bellows, 0:25:03

Dave Nagel, 0:25:52

Don Schwartz, 0:26:39

Lisa Gamber, 0:26:53

Alyssa Macomber, 0:28:05

Linda Casner, 0:28:49

Barbara Black, 0:29:28

Thomas Rauch, 0:30:20

Cathy Johnson, 0:30:21

Sean McConville, 0:30:33

Ashley Pulis, 0:30:34

Jody Feeley, 0:32:33

Erik Feeley, 0:32:34

Dax Mattox, 0:33:08

Marci Mattox, 0:33:19

Jeanne Macomber, 0:34:18

Dorthy Bradley, 0:34:26

Sandi Martin, 0:35:28

Kaley Fisher, 0:35:44

Matt Isaack, 0:35:52

Carson Russell, 0:37:15

Mallory Hoots, 0:38:14

Donna Hoots, 0:38:17

Diane Carter, 0:42:39

Jack Carter, 0:42:40

Patrice Lorenzen, 0:44:31

Kira Lorenzen, 0:44:32

10K run results

Bernie Boettcher, 0:36:59

Allen Belshaw, 0:38:21

Andy Picking, 0:41:16

Walter Magill, 0:44:51

Scott Rankin, 0:48:18

Brad Barkey, 0:48:49

Tom Welson, 0:51:36

Jill Boyd, 0:52:17

Don Platt, 0:52:50

Chrissy Plotner, 0:53:59

Heather Overstake, 0:59:07

Karen Goodman, 0:59:07

Gena Fisher, 1:00:53

Sarah Kosti, 1:01:05

David Kraus, 1:03:19

Debbie Dedrick, 1:03:49

Mary Marrery, 1:04:49

Jennifer Scott, 1:05:58

Raeann Cook Stearns, 1:07:02

— When asked what his favorite part was about completing 20 laps around the Steamboat Springs Middle School track Saturday, Hayden 5-year-old Garrett Salazar took a moment to catch his breath and then revealed the obvious answer.

“The running,” he said.

Some things never change. This rang true for the broad range of ages and abilities at the 22nd annual Spirit Challenge, from the hundreds of Routt County kindergartners through sixth-graders in the walk-a-thon to the 52 runners in the 5K and 10K races.

Charlie Stoddard eyed the walk-a-thon participants, remembering the days when he used to complete laps for donated pledge dollars. But the 16-year-old Junior Olympic Nordic Combined national champion was busy with the 5K, which he won for the second consecutive year in a time of 20 minutes, 47 seconds.

For other racers, the running bug didn’t bite until much later into adult life. Take Bernie Boettcher. The 44-year-old New Jersey native was kicked off his high school track team and didn’t decide to get “serious” about racing until five years ago. Since then, the Silt-based semi-professional runner has participated in 244 races in 244 weeks around the globe, won four masters national snowshoe championships and earned a USA Track & Field Masters “Mountain Runner of the Year” award as well as an alternate spot on the U.S. Mountain Running Team.

Boettcher scorched the paved 10K course out and back on Routt County Road 36 in a time of 36:59.

“The guy is world-class,” said Allen Belshaw, who finished behind Boettcher in second as the top local finisher. “He just got back from the Boston Marathon and the Spring Desert Ultra, where he won the 10-mile. I hung with him for the first two miles and then he put the hammer down.”

Boettcher said he plans to participate in a few running series events in order to “get a lay of the town,” to be ready for what he sees as his biggest race of the season – the USATF 10K Trail National Championships, June 30 on Mount Werner.

“I’d like to do as well as I can, but there’s going to be so many younger guys there. If I can make the top 10 again, I’d be thrilled,” said Boettcher, pleasantly surprised with Saturday’s solid field of 10K runners. “In Steamboat, you never know what you’re going to get. It has such a reputation as a super-athletic town and it’s so near to Boulder that, sometimes, someone comes along for one of the races. It’s a neat place to have an event for runners.”

Many of the 10K racers reveled in the cool weather that gave way to brief moments of sunshine at the finish.

“I was worried this morning, but this is perfect for running,” said Chrissy Plotner, who was the second-place female finisher in the 10K behind Jill Boyd’s winning time of 52:17. Heather Overstake and Karen Goodman tied for third. On the men’s side, Andy Picking took third, fourth, fifth and sixth place, completing the race with two dogs in tow and his daughter in a stroller.

Lisa Adams won the women’s 5K in 24:51, Lisa Gamber took second and Alyssa Macomber took third. Gary Gianetti took second in the men’s 5K and Joel Rae took third.

Strawberry Park Elementary School fourth-grader Nathan DePuy took top walk-a-thon honors with 35 laps. But for fundraising coordinator Nancy Engelken, the whole of the walk-a-thon achievement was bigger than the individual laps.

“It’s amazing, the overwhelming response we got from businesses and the turnout in spite of the weather,” Engelken said, noting more than 70 businesses donated funds totaling nearly $10,000 to support the Legacy Education Foundation.

See page 2C or check http://www.runningseries.com for fully posted results.

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