Ultra runner tops Howelsen trail race | SteamboatToday.com

Ultra runner tops Howelsen trail race

Runners take off from Olympian Hall for the start of Saturday's Howelsen Hill Trail Run in Steamboat Springs. Local athlete Devon Olson won the overall eight-mile race.
Austin Colbert

2016 Howelsen Hill Trail Run results

8-mile men

  1. Devon Olson, 58:02
  2. Stephen Pretak, 59:04
  3. John Glennon, 1:00:42

8-mile women

  1. Penelope Freedman, 1:09:13
  2. Pearson Alspach, 1:10:50
  3. Heather Gollnick, 1:13:44

4-mile men

  1. Ben Kelley, 25:23
  2. Jimmy Colfer, 29:11
  3. Justin Barker, 29:32

4-mile women

  1. Tabor Scholl, 26:02
  2. Stephanie Scholl, 34:04
  3. Alyssa Correale, 36:04

— Eight miles is barely a warm up for Steamboat Springs runner Devon Olson. It’s enough to get the heart rate up and the muscles loose, but otherwise, it hardly registers on the scale he’s used to.

“It kind of just came up this week,” Olson said. “To my coach, who lives in Colorado Springs, I was like, ‘Hey, can I do this 8-mile race?’ And he was, ‘Yeah, that will be your workout for the week.’ So, I got my speed workout in for the week.”

Olson, primarily an ultra runner originally from Pennsylvania, moved to Steamboat two years ago this July. Like many, he was seeking to train in the mountains and join a community of like-minded individuals, which, until recently, had included his roommate, Avery Collins, who now lives in Breckenridge.

“It’s a cool little community. It’s not huge or anything, but it’s super close-knit,” Olson said of running in the Yampa Valley. “That’s what keeps me in Steamboat, honestly, is just how awesome it is here and how great the people are. The whole Running Series in general is well-executed.”

Olson won the main event of Saturday’s Howelsen Hill Trail Run — the fourth Steamboat Springs Running Series event of the summer and the first trail race — an 8.7-mile loop around Emerald Mountain. Normally a long-distance runner, the relatively short course allowed Olson to push the RPMs beyond his usual.

“I just wanted to see if I could run fast, because I’m mainly quantity over quality,” Olson said. “Today was nice, just to let it all out there.”

Olson won the race in 58 minutes, 2 seconds. Taking second was Stephen Pretak in 59:04, and John Glennon captured third with a time of 1 hour, 42 seconds.

Next for Olson is the Speedgoat 50K in Utah. His feature event of the summer will be the Eastern States 100 in August, held in his home state of Pennsylvania.

“It’s a big 100-miler in the middle of Appalachia, essentially. So it’s super, super beautiful,” Olson said. “This will be the third year, and I raced the inaugural year there, and I was third. So I really want to go back there and get that.”

Taking the women’s 8-mile field Saturday at Howelsen was defending Running Series champion Penelope Freedman in 1:09:13. Pearson Alspach was second in 1:10:50, and Heather Gollnick was third in 1:13:44.

The highlight of Freedman’s summer isn’t so much racing, but coaching. She’s been invited to help coach a Nike camp in New Hampshire in August and has been coaching the Old Town Hot Springs triathlon team in the meantime.

“It’s challenging, but I enjoy it a lot, and I love watching people progress,” Freedman said. “This is all kind of a new experience for me, as well. I’m just learning as I go. It’s a teaching experience as much for them as it is for me.”

Saturday also featured a 4-mile race, won by South Routt’s Ben Kelley. Kelley, who just completed his sophomore year at Soroco High School in Oak Creek, won the Class 2A state championship in the 800-meter race only a month ago.

“I haven’t stopped training since track,” said Kelley, who is also one of the state’s best high school cross country runners in the fall. “It’s nice to finally get a race that’s kind of casual. A lot of my races in track are pretty stressful. But this is just kind of relaxing. It’s fun.”

Kelley won the race in 25:23. In second place was Jimmy Colfer in 29:11, and third was Justin Barker in 29:32.

Winning the 4-mile women’s race for the third time in four years was Kremmling’s Tabor Scholl. She took second, overall, in 26:02. Stephanie Scholl was second among women in 34:04, and third place went to Alyssa Correale in 36:04.

The next Running Series race will be the July 2 Mountain Madness half marathon and 10K. To register for the race, visit runningseries.com.

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

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