Strong distance running tradition draws familiar faces to ‘Cut
There are longer races. There are more financially rewarding races. There are more prestigious races. Yet, for both Marco Salmen and Koby Lochhead, the Strawberry Shortcut’s 10K is the most fun event of the year.”That’s why I come back each year. This race is usually a lot of fun,” Salmen said after recording the event’s fastest time. “When I’m racing at (Duke University), I pretty much know only my teammates. When you step up to the line here, you pretty much know everyone.”
And a host of familiar names were right on Salmen’s heels as he crossed the finish line.Clocking in at 34 minutes, 43 seconds, Salmen bested his younger brother, Marco, the defending, two-time 10K champ, local distance-running legend Bernie Boettcher and 2006 Glenwood Springs High state qualifier Ryan Ward.Jay Valentine of Fruita snuck in between the Salmen brothers for second place; Marco Salmen posted a third-place mark of 36:16. Boettcher and Ward finished fourth and fifth.”It’s great,” said Salmen of testing his skills against other runners he’s seen in his youth or have heard of through the grapevine. “We were fortunate enough to grow up in a running community. There’s so many age groups that run well, it was encouraging for me (to see) the generations I grew up with.”The classes before and after me graduating in high school, had a distance running tradition. Now that everyone’s gone off to school, (this race) is kind of our way to keep that going.”
While Salmen’s been a part of the Shortcut scene since graduating from high school four years ago, Lochhead, who earned the women’s overall title by coming in at 42:53, started racing more recently.”I’ve never really run competitively. Mostly just for fun,” she said. “I’ve done a couple of half-marathons. I wanted to do well (today), but I had no expectations.”Running in her first Shortcut race, Lochhead, a 2000 GSHS grad, finished 11th overall. She agrees with Salmen, the best part of the event is seeing and catching up with folks from the past.
“I see people I haven’t seen in a while. A lot of people show up just to watch, so it’s nice,” she said.Being a newcomer to the sport, Lochhead didn’t enter the local race with a strategy. “I haven’t run many 10Ks,” she explained. “I was just hoping to run a little faster per mile than in half marathons.”Lochhead turned out to be faster than almost the entire 10K field.Her finish time was 30 seconds better than women’s overall runner-up Sue Jacobson and nearly three minutes quicker than the No. 3 female finisher, Candy Granger.
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