Records shatter at Steamboat’s Spring Creek Memorial run
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Jennifer Lichter, 22, was just looking for a fun run on her last day of vacation.
On Thursday, Lichter had gone for a brisk run on Spring Creek trail, where she met an ultra-marathon pacer who told her about a race coming up.
But it slipped her mind until Friday night, when she was looking up trails for a Saturday morning run.
“I told my mom last night that I was going to go on a run this morning, and she was like, ‘Why don’t you do that race that woman was talking about?’” Lichter said. “And I was like, ‘What race?’
“So, I went on the Steamboat running events calendar and I like the longer distance stuff, so I just went on and was like, ‘You know, I’ll go tomorrow at 7:15 and register, hopefully they have room for me. If not I’ll just do it for fun, so I showed up.”
On Saturday, runners snacked on their post-race sandwiches at the Steamboat Springs Running Series Spring Creek Memorial run, watching their friends and families’ times appear on a TV screen.
Lichter’s name popped up as the first female finisher of the 9.5-mile route with the time of one hour, 11 minutes and 27 seconds. The running community in Steamboat is tight-knit, especially in the running series, so they wouldn’t recognize the Lacrosse, Wisconsin native’s name with the record-breaking time on the board.
Lichter was the talk of the race.
“Did you see that one girl’s time?”
“Yeah, she blew everyone out of the water.”
Cara Marrs, the Steamboat Springs Running Series director laughed, “I didn’t know I’d be giving out $200 today, but here we are. She really put up an elite time.”
Lichter’s time beat the women’s course record of 1:14.32 held previously by Emily Harrison. Anyone who broke the course record would receive $100, and Lichter was the second person today to break the record in the 9.5-mile race.
Steamboat resident Darren Thomas, 24, cruised to the finish with a time of 1:00:57, breaking his own record from last year of 1:04:36.
“I’m training for the Pikes Peak Marathon in three weeks,” Thomas said. “So this is a really good, hard training run for it.”
For both, the cool 50-degree weather was perfect for the race. The temperature didn’t fluctuate much as it sprinkled during their finish.
Lichter, a runner for the women’s track and field team at the University of Toledo in Ohio, enjoys trail running, but admits that the race was humbling since she isn’t used to racing on mountainous terrain.
“I was like just start out like you normally do, this is going to be fun for me,” Lichter said. “If I feel good, I’ll push it. It wasn’t until the 2-mile mark until I started getting up, up, up and there were fallen trees everywhere.”
Thomas was used to the elevation change. He’s been running up and down mountains as a part of his training for the marathon. The fallen trees were still tough obstacles, but he’s tall enough to jump over them.
“It’s kind of fun, but it kind of sucks in a race, because you’re like … dying.” Thomas said.
But Lichter is much shorter, so she had to take a different approach.
“I had to like legit climb or crawl under some because they were to my chest,” Lichter said. “I couldn’t run over them and I was definitely breathing hard at some points.”
But she said there’s something about that runner’s high and seeing people like Thomas ahead of her that got her through the race, and even better, a record.
“They mentioned on the website the record was was 1:14,” Lichter said. “But I came in just to do a run.”
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