Steamboat Springs runners rock Western States |

Steamboat Springs runners rock Western States

A pair of Steamboat Springs runners laid down huge performances Saturday at the Western States 100 trail-running ultra marathon race in California.

Sabrina Stanley flew to a third-place finish on the women's side, finishing the race in 20 hours, 11 minute and 41 seconds. That was quick enough to grab the biggest podium of her career.

Avery Collins, Stanley's boyfriend, had one of the best days of his career, too. He emerged from the dark to finish his 100-mile quest in a dead sprint. He took sixth place, finishing in 17:37:1.

Both Collins and Stanley drifted back in the pack early in the race, but were never far out of striking distance for a strong finish. Collins was about 15th midway through the trek, while Stanley was about 10th.

They made their moves late, and it paid off. Collins climbed as high as fourth. He shed a few spots from that, but still finished strong, flying down the final stretch, a high school track.

Ryan Sandes won the race in 16:19:37, and Alex Nichols and Mark Hammond made up the men's podium, finishing at 16:48:23 and 16:52:57. Collins was just barely out of fourth. Jeff Browning finished in that spot in 17:32:06, only seven minutes faster than Collins. Christopher Denucci placed fifth, just one minute ahead, at 17:36:11.

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Cat Bradley emerged atop the women’s race in 19:21:30. Magdalena Boulet was second at 19:49:15, and Stanley took third 22 minutes farther back.

Both Collins and Stanley stood out, not only for their speed, but for their youth. At 27, Stanley was the youngest in the women’s top-10 finishers. Collins, 25, was also the youngest in the men’s top 10.

Steamboat was also represented in the race by longtime Steamboat Springs Running Series director Cara Marrs.

After starting early Saturday morning, Marrs pushed on into the night and reached the 70-mile marker. There, she finally withdrew, however. She was far from alone on what proved to be a brutal year on the always brutal course, which stretches from Squaw Valley California 100.2 miles to Auburn, California. A third of the field, 121 racers, dropped before finishing, the highest rate in the legendary race since 2009.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9