Schwartz sets new women’s 10K record, Caroline Cretti second |

Schwartz sets new women’s 10K record, Caroline Cretti second

Kristen Schwartz admitted that starting ahead of most of the runners in Sunday’s annual Strawberry Shortcut 10-kilometer run took some adjustment.

“It was a little rough because it left some of us all by ourselves,” Schwartz said of the 30-second lead she and the other top flight division runners had ahead of the rest of the 10K field.

“But when you’re ready to race. You’re ready to race,” added the Boulder resident.

And Schwartz came ready to race.

She completed the course through and around the streets of Glenwood Springs in just over 38 minutes. The time was the best in the women’s race and the fourth-best among both the men and women in the top flight.

Schwartz finished 1:50 behind Bernie Boettcher, the men’s division third-place finisher, and 68 seconds ahead of her nearest female competitor, Alison Holinka of Colorado Springs.

Kathaleen Recker of Grand Junction, the other runner in the women’s top flight race, placed third.

The winner of the women’s 10K citizen race was a familiar star for local track fans.

Caroline Cretti, 19, of Carbondale turned in a time of 39:30 for the fastest 10K in the women’s citizen field.

The victory put also put Cretti in an odd situation.

She is going to run cross-country and track in college this fall, and according to NCAA rules can’t accept the $150 prize money for her first-place citizen race finish in the 10K.

She was allowed, however, to accept the $50 savings bond for having the best youth run of the event.

Running in her first 10K, Cretti said the race was interesting.

“It was long, but it was good, and the race was fun. But there’s always pressure when I run, and I really don’t know why.”

The two-time Class 3A state 1,600-meter champ might not be able to put a finger why she felt pressure prior to the start of the 10K.

But, she did mention the competition in the race was strong.

Kari Distefano, who later defended her 2001 Shortcut 5K title, was on Cretti’s heels for the entire route of the 10K. The Telluride resident finished in 39:37.

And she beat out another Roaring Fork High grad and local runner of note – Dana Boyle – for second.

Boyle, who recently competed her senior year at the University of Puget Sound took third place in 41:05.

Moments after concluding the 10K run, Distefano zipped her way through the 5K course.

Although her pace lagged behind last year’s winning time, Distefano’s 19:30 mark was close to two minutes faster than Sarah Shepard of Glenwood Springs.

Distefano said she ran in both Shortcut races to prepare for marathons in Salt Lake City and Northern California later this summer.

“I’m not really a fast runner. The longer the race, the slower I get,” Distefano said of her success level.

The 43-year-old was fast enough, however, to stave off a cache of younger competition.

Shepard, 17, graduated from GSHS last month. The third- and fourth-place finishers were even younger.

Rifle residents Katrina and Sharaya Selsor are 13 and 11 years old, respectively.

The sisters’ times were almost identical. Katrina clocked in at 22:50.62, Sharaya at 22:50.83.

In fact, the only female runner older than Distefano to finish among the women’s 5K top 10 was Helen McQueeney, 50, of Carbondale. She won that division in 23:53.

According to race officials, more than 800 runners participated in this year’s Strawberry Shortcut races.

Along with the 10K and 5K runs, a 1-mile family fun run/walk was held. That event started and concluded at the Grand Avenue Bridge.

Proceeds from this year’s event are earmarked for the area’s Special Olympics program and for the Coal Seam Fire victums relief fund.

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