Photo finish at Lead King Loop race
MARBLE – The order of the day was mountains – and more mountains. Running up them, and trying to navigate your way down them. There were mountains everywhere.Throw in loads of breathtaking scenery, and you have the 2007 version of the Lead King Loop 25K trail run and the 12.5K quarry climb.There was also a pretty exciting finish between local mountain man Bernie Boettcher and 22-year-old John Gaudette of Denver.With less than a quarter mile to go, Gaudette pulled up alongside Boettcher entering the streets of Marble and made a hard push to the finish line.Gaudette broke the tape at 1 hour, 56 minutes, and 37 seconds in the 25K (15.5 miles), edging Boettcher by a mere 3 seconds.At the end, Boettcher, who is Gaudette’s senior by 23 years, knew he had given his all on this day and was very complimentary of the winner.”He came up on me when we reached the pavement out by the lake,” said Boettcher. “He just had an extra gear that last 50 yards that I didn’t have. My hat’s off to him. He ran a great race.”The battle for third place turned out to be a 3-second differential also as Will Critchley ran a 2:10:54 to nip Longmont’s Kraig Koski, who came in at 2:10:57.The women’s race was won by Suzanne Richman of Snowmass Village. Richman’s time of 2:33:06 was not only good enough to top the rest of the women, but place her 14th overall in the talented 41-runner field.Shawn Carstensen-Hays of Grand Junction and Sue Jacobsen of Carbondale rounded out the top three with times of 2:41:26 and 2:42:52, respectively.In the 12.5K (7.75 miles) quarry climb, Brian Johnson of Aspen made the finish not nearly as nail-biting as the day’s longer race by running away from the field in 56:39 to record the victory.Johnson is no stranger to trail races, as he has been staying sharp throughout the summer with mountain events in Vail and Aspen.Even with the impressive win, Johnson said he didn’t feel at his best for this one.”I feel fortunate to win today,” said Johnson. “I was sick most of the week with a sinus and ear infection. My boy was sick, and I got it.”Carl Bruggerman placed second among the men with a 58:37, and Carbondale’s Brad Palmer was third with a time of 1:01:23.For the ladies, Claire Critchley, who is originally from Edmonton, Canada, recorded a time of 1:08:59 to place her on top of the podium.Critchley, who is doing an internship in Carbondale, managed the first seven miles of the trail course well. It was the finishing stretch on the paved roads of Marble that she had trouble with.”It was very beautiful out there. The hard part was when we got back on the pavement,” said Critchley, who is studying physiotherapy at a personal rehabilitation center in Carbondale.Silt’s Jeanne Blatter turned in her usual steady performance, running in second place with a time of 1:09:42. Mary Geiger was a swift 1:10:56 in third.Lightning and rain sent folks scurrying from the post-race raffle ceremony, but all participants seemed pleased with race director Craig Macek’s mountain runs, and were already vowing to return for another go at it next year.”No one got lost, and everyone left with a raffle prize and a smile,” said Macek.
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