Silt’s Bernie Boettcher takes Day of Infamy 8K

Jeff CaspersenPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

SUNLIGHT MOUNTAIN – Bernie Boettcher, more than two minutes ahead of the nearest competition, calmly trotted down a hill at Babbish Gulch, his bright red snowshoes flapping underneath him. With the Day of Infamy 8K snowshoe race in the bag, he stylishly leapt over the finish line, his left knee forward.The loose, powdery snow that hit the ground a night earlier did little to slow Boettcher, whose Sunday race was his 56th race of the year and 280th race in 273 weeks – some with traditional running shoes and some with snowshoes. He finished the hilly course in 45 minutes, 58 seconds.”It was tough going up,” Boettcher, who hails from Silt, said of the Babbish Gulch course, which also serves as Sunlight Mountain Resort’s cross-country system. “There was two to three inches of fresh snow, though they did pack it out a little earlier. It was still mushy and hard to get good traction.”

Charlie Wertheim of Glenwood followed Boettcher’s lead, finishing second with a time of 48:12. “You can always count on a good race if Charlie’s running it,” Boettcher said of his fellow fixture in the local racing scene. “I enjoy the competition. I hate winning by a lot. I know I can count on Charlie for that.”Third place went to Grand Junction’s Keri Nelson, who happens to be Boettcher’s teammate on La Sportiva Running Team. Nelson was easily the first female across the finish line in 49:51.She loves trail running and snowshoeing over all else in the racing world, if only for the challenge such competition poses.

“I just like getting out there in nature, getting away from it all,” she said.Both Boettcher and Nelson will race at Beaver Creek in a snowshoe race next weekend. Then it’s off to Japan with the U.S. Snowshoe team for Nelson. Glenwood Springs High School cross country coach Michael Schneiter, last year’s Day of Infamy winner, wound up taking fourth place overall this year in a time of 51:41. Next was Greg Albrecht (53:24), Brian Passenti (56:02) and Dennis Webb (59:14). In eighth place, Heidi Vosbeck was the second female across the line at 1:01.23.While Nelson and Boettcher were the 45-and-under age group winners for their respective genders, Webb topped the 46-and-up men’s division and Vosbeck the 46-and-up women’s division.Sunday marked the 16th Day of Infamy race. It was started back in 1991 to honor servicemen who lost their lives in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. This year’s race, which benefits animal shelters in Garfield and Pitkin County, boasted a field of just over 100.

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