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Trail’s end

Running series grows, awards top runners

2006 overall winners

Overall Male
Andy Picking, age group 30-39, 181 points
J.J. Huie, 20-29, 140
Scott Kempers, 30-39, 95
Overall Female
Sarah Walker, 20-29, 111
Linda Casner, 50-59, 52
Jenna Gruben, 20-29, 44
Overall Age Group Winners
Kyle Steitz, under 19, 48
J.J. Huie, 20-29, 140
Andy Picking, 30-39, 181
Shawn Scholl, 40-49, 74
Linda Casner (tie), 50-59, 52
Mark McCaulley (tie), 50-59, 52
Tom Nelson, 60+, 72

— Looking back at the races of the 2006 Steamboat Springs Running Series, Linda Casner chooses to block out memories of physical exhaustion.

Instead, the 54-year-old Steamboat resident focuses on the aesthetics of running beneath the famous Rabbit Ears geologic formation during the 10K at 10,000 Feet or soaking in the Strawberry Park Hot Springs after the Hot Springs Short Cut run in June.

“They’re wonderful,” Casner said about the series’ races. “They gave me a stimulus to run and practice in beautiful places.”



Considering the races a perfect excuse to get outside and run, Casner said she was stunned to find out Wednesday that she was the top local female overall winner. She finished behind overall winner Sarah Walker, a Greeley resident who won six of the seven scored races she entered, and just ahead of Steamboat’s Jenna Gruben.

Of the series’ 14 events, the series committee counted points from 11 of the races for the season point rankings, awarding the top three male and female runners overall as well as the winners of each age category.



On the men’s side, despite being the only running series entrant to participate in every scored event of the season, Steamboat’s Andy Picking could never manage to get that first-place finish. From the Hot Springs Short Cut to the Kremmling Road Kill, J.J. Huie repeatedly edged out Picking at the finish line. But with the points tallied, Picking’s impressive collection of podium finishes were enough to beat Huie for the top overall runner, crowned “King of the Trails” by series director John Chapman.

“It’s nice being recognized, but running is only a part of it,” Picking said. “I’m more in it for the community and social aspect of the races.”

Huie finished second, and Steamboat’s Scott Kempers finished third.

Chapman was pleased with the series’ growth, citing an attendance increase in 13 of 14 races and a 58 percent jump in runner participation, which totaled 3,758 during the season.

“This was a record year in number of participants and number of events,” Chapman said, attributing the growth to aggressive fundraising and marketing campaigns to lure visiting Front Range runners.

In only its second year, the Wild West Relay increased from 60 to 94 teams, while the Howelsen Hill 8 Miler drew more than 60 participants in its first year.

Walter Magill, director of the Howelsen race, attributed the appeal of the series to the group of running series regulars. Although Chapman hopes to continue to increase the number of participants, Magill sees the future success of the series depending on a younger generation of local participants.

Visit http://www.runningseries.com for complete race results. Top series winners can claim their prizes at Christy Sports, 1835 Central Place Plaza.

– To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253 or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com


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