Tiernan powers to 2nd at Leadville Trail 100 Run
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Maybe five years ago, Zeke Tiernan found himself a little down on life. So he sought a challenge, something to spice up the daily grind.
He found ultramarathons.
“I wasn’t really happy in my life at the time,” recalled Tiernan, who turns 37 on Tuesday. “I think it was one of the vehicles I used to help me kind of find some happiness. It gave me a purpose and a goal. It brought me out into some really amazing places that kind of touched my spirit, if you will.”
As a former high school and college runner, Tiernan instantly excelled at legging out big-distance hauls.
“I ended up doing pretty well at it right away, and success breeds interest, I think,” he said. “So I continued.”
And he’s still running well.
Tiernan, a 1993 Aspen High School graduate who went on to run at the University of Colorado, posted a second-place finish at last Saturday’s Leadville Trail 100 Run. He powered through the course, which features 100 miles of grueling Rocky Mountain terrain, in 16 hours, 44 minutes, 20.18 seconds.
Tiernan, who spent part of his childhood in Carbondale, also finished second in the Leadville 100 back in 2010. He placed third in 2008.
But his best time came in 2012.
“By almost two hours,” Tiernan passed along.
The Leadville 100 aside, it’s been an eventful summer for the Roaring Fork Valley runner, who lives in Basalt and teaches middle-school history at Aspen Country Day School.
In June, he ground out a sixth-place finish at the Western States 100 in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
“I was pretty pleased with that,” Tiernan said. “It was a competitive race. To get in the top 10 was good. I ran a fast time there as well. I went under 16 hours. Not many people have done that on that course.”
Tiernan credits his wife, Molly, with paving the way to his success. The two have a 21-month-old daughter, Jude.
“Molly pretty much makes the whole thing possible,” he said. “We’re both full-time teachers. She’s a counselor. I’m a teacher. To be able to spend time away from my house running, I owe quite a debt to my wife for putting up with it.”
What are some of Tiernan’s go-to training spots?
“All around the valley in the summertime,” he said. “I trained primarily in the Maroon Bells, in the Snowmass wilderness. Also in the Hunter-Fryingpan area. I have a run that goes into the Raggeds over by Marble. Everything’s primarily in the Crystal and Roaring Fork valleys.”
Tiernan will no doubt continue to utilize those spots in the coming weeks. Next on his race schedule: the Run Rabbit Run 50 in Steamboat Springs on Sept. 15.
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