Tough Spring Creek race wows crowd in Steamboat |

Tough Spring Creek race wows crowd in Steamboat

Callie Bradley, right, and Matt Eggen sprint down one of the final stretches of Saturday's Spring Creek Memorial Run in Steamboat Springs. Bradley won the women's side of the 9-mile race, finishing in 1 hour, 15 minutes and 38 seconds.
Joel Reichenberger

— The course for the 9-mile race at the annual Spring Creek Memorial run takes nearly all first-timers by surprise, even if they’ve read descriptions.

There’s really nothing else on the Steamboat Springs Running Series annual calendar quite like the Spring Creek test, and on Saturday morning, the course accounted for all the post-race buzz, with runners quizzing one another about how exactly they handled the logs, the weeds and, of course, the ultra-steep climb up and away from the well-established and popular Spring Creek hiking trail.

“It was more like an obstacle course than a running trail,” one heaving racer said to friends at the finish line.

For the men’s 9-mile winner, experience paid off. Harry Niedl, a former season-long series champ who’s on track to capture that title again, used what he knew from previous years to save his energy for the tough, backwoods slog. There, he managed to run while nearly all others temporarily gave in to a walk. He gapped his competition, cruised on the downhill section of the course and won convincingly, finishing in 1 hour, 9 minutes and 23 seconds.

“It’s like two different races,” Niedl said, comparing the steep, rocky and rooty first half with the long downhill that is the second half of the race. “The first part is about how strong you are, how much you trained. The second part, the downhill, is about how fast you are, how quickly you can run.

“It definitely helped that I’d done it before. I knew I’d have to jump over a lot of trees and stuff. Some of the tourists didn’t have any idea.”

Niedl’s approach certainly impressed Chris Zirkle, who was second. A stand-out track athlete at Hayden High School, Zirkle was twice a state champion at the Colorado High School state track meet and now is preparing for his second year running cross-country and track at Garden City Community College in Kansas. He’s not a regular on the Running Series circuit but said he’d run Spring Creek before.

“I was only on the regular trail, though,” he said. “It was really tough. We took off slow, and I was thinking, ‘Wow this is a slow pace.’ Then we got a mile in, and we hit the huge hills, and I understood why we were running that pace. (Niedl) ran a really smart race.”

Zirkle finished in 1:11:22 just ahead of Doug Agne, who was third at 1:11:57.

Callie Bradley laid down a scorching time on the women’s side, sprinting hard for the final few hundred yards and crossing in 1:15:38. Kelly Heaney was second at 1:18:33, and Sarah Piano was third in 1:18:58.

Wyatt Villa was tops among the men in the 5-kilometer race, finishing in 23:24, ahead of Derrick Haner in second at 23:54 and Jason Henderson in third at 24:05. Rebecca Hession won among the women, finishing at 25:35. Maggi Congdon was second in 24:35, and Valerie Powell was third at 25:44.

The event drew more than 100 runners on an athletically packed weekend in Steamboat Springs.

“This race always has a great feel to it,” Director Cara Marrs said. “It’s hard, but it has a great vibe. People like it.”


9-mile race


Ages 19 and younger

Cassidy Fox 1:40:48

Skylar Wier 1:41:35

Ages 20 to 29

Callie Bradley 1:15:38

Emily Stout 1:26:59

Reall Colbenson 1:28:25

Angela Sherwood 1:49:26

Ages 30 to 39

Kelly Heaney 1:18:33

Sarah Piano 1:18:58

Teri Cady 1:21:04

Jenny Fox 1:24:40

Danica Novgorodoff 1:28:54

Amanda Grimes 1:28:57

Jill Lacourse 1:29:08

Abbey Manley 1:30:30

Jessica Stevenson 1:30:31

Merryl Tydings 1:31:52

Nicole Peterson 1:35:19

Meridith MacFarlane 1:37:56

Heidi Mueller 1:41:17

Kristen Feiges 1:46:33

Vanessa McKracken 1:48:49

Lindy Barrett 1:49:25

Michelle Geib 1:50:20

Maureen Bomberski 1:58:26

Ages 40 to 49

Lisa Adams 1:29:10

Ann Barbier 1:29:17

Kris Anderson 1:30:38

Alicia Novak 1:41:00

Bronwyn Rittner 1:44:36

Jena Dooles 1:46:37

Lisa Sadler 1:50:15

Summer Muir 1:50:44

Anna Leavitt 1:52:55

Joanne Allsberry 1:53:18

Melissa Debow 2:06:08

Amy Winston 2:21:55

Elsa Cruz 2:45:13


Ages 19 and younger

Chris Zirkle 1:11:22

Alex Jaffery 1:22:07

Ages 20 to 29

Matt Eggen 1:15:54

Kevin McGarity 1:24:49

Mathew Bailey 1:33:48

Sean Spiegelman 2:08;59

Ages 30 to 39

Harry Niedl 1:09:23

Randall Purinton 1:17:29

Justin Barker 1:19:15

Ryan Spaustat 1:35:51

Ages 40 to 49

Doug Agne 1:11:57

Billy Dalzell 1:18:16

Walt Magill 1:19:52

Michael Voss 1:25:17

Avrom Feinberg 1:28:19

Barry Miller 1:29:08

David Nagel 1:32:13

Carl Spangler 1:33:59

Brian Elliott 1:34:32

Tony Requist 1:36:01

Robert Felinczak 1:37:15

John Crowther 2:02:26

Stevan Debow 2:06:09

Ages 50 to 59

Rick Schuette 1:21:52

Paul Hughes 1:29:36

Eric Quartetti 1:43:02

Jerry Speigelman 2:09:02

Ages 60 to 69

Tom Nelson 1:30:51

5-kilometer race


Ages 19 and younger

Maggi Congdon 0:24:35

Amber Garrity 0:43:04

Ages 20 to 29

Valerie Powell 0:25:44

Samantha Haner 0:30:19

Kelsey Comeau 0:30:38

Kelly Ascher 0:30:39

Corinna Gray 0:30:56

Jenna Bicego 0:32:32

Carly Thompson 0:34:13

Erin Thomas 0:34:24

Gretchen Bicego 0:37:22

Ages 30 to 39

Rebecca Hession 0:23:35

Meghan Alexander 0:29:17

Stacey Schrodt 0:30:49

Mara Rhodes 0:30:54

Carrie George 0:31:07

Gretchen Henderson 0:34:18

Olivia Murray 0:37:09

Ages 40 to 49

Celeste Hoffman 0:26:15

Cara Marrs 0:26:17

Clay Garrity 0:35:26

Lisa Gess 0:38:14

Christina Schwartz 0:44:39

Ages 50 to 59

Christine Boose 0:26:25

Lisa Mackey 0:30:04

Charlotte Russeth 1:00:30

Ages 60 to 69

Jen Ahlgren 0:40:57


Ages 19 and younger

Wyatt Villa 0:23:24

Ben Kelley 0:27:24

Michael VonWaldner 0:43:30

Ages 30 to 39

Derrick Haner 0:23:54

Jason Henderson 0:24:05

Ages 40 to 49

William Gregory 0:27:28

Mike Polucci 0:38:00

Ages 50 to 59

Jon Greenwood 0:26:18

George Haner 0:30:31

A Luke 0:31:23

Richard Russeth 0:38:30

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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