Steamboat runner wins Rocky Raccoon 100-mile race in Texas |

Steamboat runner wins Rocky Raccoon 100-mile race in Texas

Steamboat Springs resident Devon Olson closes in on a first-place finish of the 2016 Howelsen Hill Trail Run. (File photo/Austin Colbert)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs resident and ultrarunner Devon Olson isn’t used to running on flat land. The Run Rabbit Run and Leadville 100 finisher is used to forcing his legs up slopes and down tough terrain for nearly 18 hours.

Earlier this month, he competed in the Rocky Raccoon 100-mile race in Texas, which had a very flat course. But Olson blazed through it, leading from the very beginning, winning with a time of 14 hours and 25 minutes.

“Honestly, it went swimmingly well. Every time in 100 miles, it’s definitely kind of crazy because it is,” Olson said. “I went out pretty fast. It was five, 20-mile laps. I went pretty hot for the first two. I remember I came in the first lap in about two hours and 30 minutes, and I was like, oh boy, going a little bit quick here. But that was kind of the goal.”

The goal was to see just how fast he could run 100 miles. He finished third at Leadville in 2019 with a time of 17 hours and 57 minutes. He took fourth at Run Rabbit Run in 2017 with a time of 19 hours and 40 minutes.

The Texas race was a whole other breed. The race featured hardly any elevation gain in comparison to the Colorado races and took place at around 360 feet above sea level, a far cry from Leadville at 10,000 feet. Olson is used to walking or speed-walking portions of previous races, but this one, he guesses he ran 99.9% of, aside from stopping at aid stations.

From the start of the race, Olson was in front.

“I just went for it right from the gun,” he said. “I didn’t see anybody from the time we started to the time we finished.”

Olson did remember spotting a few headlamps for the first 10-kilometers after the early-morning start, but soon after, was all alone.

Steamboat Springs resident Devon Olson took third in the Leadville 100 trail run Aug. 17, 2019. (Courtesy Devon Olson)

While the race was easy, at least relative to other ultra races, the recovery was no different.

“It takes a couple days before you’re walking OK again,” Olson said. “It’s a pretty painful experience every single time, but that’s kind of what you sign up for, I suppose.”

Olson, 32, and his girlfriend, Ilene Bloom, traveled down and competed in the race together. Bloom was the 210th person to finish in a little over 28 hours. The race was the first that Olson had ever run in the middle of winter. Since he didn’t purchase a pass to Steamboat Resort this year, he thought training for a race would be a good motivator to stay active in the winter.

Now he’s looking forward to spending more time in skis rather than sneakers over the next few weeks. Come spring, he’ll start training for the San Juan Solstice 50-mile race. That is what he’s calling his “B” race. His “A” race, or main focus, is the Run Rabbit Run race in Steamboat that is scheduled for September.

“I’ll probably fill in the blanks with some shorter races, but I haven’t really gotten to that yet,” he said. “I’ve been trying to not think so much about running too much lately.”

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