Hogback Hustle ends with close finish in New Castle
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
NEW CASTLE, Colorado ” Saturday’s annual Hogback Hustle 5-kilometer foot race more than lived up to its name.
Bolting down Main Street in New Castle toward the finish line in front of Burning Mountain Park, Charlie Wertheim and Jordan Chavez matched each other’s every step.
A final push by Wertheim, a longtime fixture of the local racing scene and Post Independent copy editor, delivered the slimmest of victories over the young challenger in what was easily the closest Hogback Hustle ever, according to New Castle Recreation’s Bryan Vashus.
“Nothing like racing a 14-year-old,” joked a winded Wertheim after a final sprint that spanned several blocks along Main Street. He finished in 17 minutes, 57 seconds, less than a second ahead of Chavez, who was credited with a time of 17:58.
After hanging with Wertheim the first half of the course, which was mostly uphill, Chavez knew he had a shot.
“It was one of the closer ones,” said Chavez, who is about to enter his freshman year at Southlake Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas (a suburb of Dallas). “I was trying to get a [personal record]. I decided I’d try to stay with him once the course went downhill.”
Chavez, originally from Glenwood Springs, returns to Colorado each summer. This summer, he’s made the most of the chance to train at a high altitude to prepare for the upcoming cross country and track and field seasons.
Finishing third overall and atop the women’s standings for a second straight year was Basalt’s Megan Lund, who clocked in at 18:55 in one of the shortest races she’s done in a while. Lund recently competed in the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Boston.
“I haven’t been doing much speed work or shorter distances,” she noted.
It also didn’t help that she had recently returned from a family vacation in Hawaii ” at sea level.
Still, a credit to her abilities, the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs alum took the women’s crown by a relatively wide margin. Chiara Del Piccolo took second (20:28) and Tobie Rippy third (22:35).
The Hogback Hustle course routed a field of 136 runners from the New Castle Family Fitness Center parking lot down Castle Valley Boulevard to Seventh Street, and then down Main Street to the finish at Burning Mountain Park.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.