Great Scot! Andrea Mudge wins Mt. Sopris Runoff |

Great Scot! Andrea Mudge wins Mt. Sopris Runoff

CARBONDALE – Andrea Mudge didn’t need a lot of incentive to participate in the annual Mt. Sopris Runoff. All she had to do was find out about the event.

The vacationing native of Edinburgh, Scotland, discovered the annual mountain run from Basalt to Carbondale on Friday.

“I asked if there were any races to do,” Mudge inquired in an outdoor shop after completing a training run around the Maroon Bells. “They said this race was on…so, I just decided to do it.”

Good choice.

With no little knowledge of the pavment to mountain, back to pavement course, Mudge ran the fastest women’s time in the 24-year history of the event, and was the No. 2 overall finisher as well.

The speedy Scot finished the 16-plus mile course race in 1 hour, 50 minutes, 7 seconds. The mark bettered Aspen’s Lisa Gonzales’ year-old women’s record time by more than nine minutes.

Mudge’s only strategy, she said, was to run hard.

“I was just going to go out and see what happens, because I haven’t raced in this high a race this year. So I didn’t know what would happen,” said Mudge.

But, Mudge admitted to one advantage.

“I’m a good climber,” she said. “So I just went on the climb and then waited to see how long I could hang on until I started feeling the altitude.”

As the race progressed, the elevation of the race tired Mudge.

“With about a mile and-a-half to go on the climb, I could feel it and I started to slow down a lot, because I was training at sea level.”

Mudge conquered the climb, and was rewarded when she hit the descent down to the finish line at Sopris Park.

“That last bit of the climb was tough,” Mudge noted. “But, the descent nice. It was a nice grading all the way down.”

And Mudge used the course’s gentle drop as a pathway to victory.

She defeated the next-fastest women’s finisher – Mary Cote by nine minutes.

Cote also had a memorable race.

Her 1:56.34 time was fifth-best among the 63 participants and was three-plus minutes faster than Gonzales’ previous event-best for women.

Mudge was one of two, first-time Mt. Sopris Runoff champions to emerge from Saturday’s race.

Charlie Wertheim claimed the men’s overall and 40-49 year-old titles, clocking in at 1:47.10.

Going in, Wertheim was concerned about the last four miles.

As the race stretched to those last four miles, Wertheim developed painful stomach cramps.

But, the Glenwood Springs resident managed to fight through his pain to finish three minutes ahead of Mudge and nearly nine minutes up on Erik Packard – the men’s second-place finisher.

After the race, Wertheim admitted concern about the last part of the race.

“Everyone always said that the last four miles on the pavement is the worst. I was sort expecting that,” said Wertheim. “The weather was fine, but the cramps kind of made it tough.”

Wertheim’s winning time bettered Tim Dolan, the 2002 overall winner’s mark by 4 and one-half minutes.

Packard, who finished in 1:55.17 was third overall and won the 30-39 year-old men’s race.

Despite twisting his ankle with six miles to go, Steve Gonzales posted the second best time – 1:59.32 – among 40-49 year-old men. Pablo Hanrattan was the men’s 50-59 champ.

Julie Lind’s 2:10.30 was the best time among 40-49 year-old women. Janice Kruze, who finished four minutes behind Lind, had the fastest mark for women, ages 50-59.

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