Tiernan, Coté win Sopris Runoff titles
CARBONDALE – Sprinting across the finish line like it was the 100-meter dash, Zeke Tiernan hardly looked phased by the 16.5-mile Mount Sopris Runoff on Saturday.The race, which started at the 7-Eleven in Basalt, climbed 1,500 feet before descending 1,800 feet and finishing at Sopris Park in Carbondale, was easily won by Tiernan. The 31-year-old Aspen resident cruised through the course in 1 hour, 42 minutes and 56 seconds – almost seven minutes ahead of runner-up Joel Stonington. “I love that race. It’s really pretty on the way up, you’ve got a great view of Sopris,” said Tiernan, who has won the race four times. “It’s very difficult on both sides because it is just a sustained eight miles up and the first several miles on the downhill – that’s the hardest part for me today because I have been training a lot and my legs are tired and it hurt.”
The race, which is one of the longest in the valley, is like a warm-up lap for Tiernan, who on Tuesday went for a 28-mile leisurely stroll through Maroon Bells. It’s all part of his training for a 50-mile trail run in Steamboat.”That’s why I have been running long runs,” he said. “This is long, but not that long.”The Runoff also served as training ground for the race’s female winner, Mary Coté, who won her third title in the race with a time of 1:58:25. Coté, a Basalt resident, is getting ready to run a marathon in Utah in October.”This is a good test. (The marathon) is similar to this course, it doesn’t have uphill like this course, but it has a lot of downhill,” she said. “I love running this race to see where my fitness is.”
After finishing the race, Coté said she was pleased with how she held up.”I am almost where I want to be,” she said. “Just a little more speed work.”With heavy rainstorms on Friday night, parts of the race where muddy along Sopris Creek Road and Prince Creek Road. That wasn’t a bad thing however, as Coté said it acted like a cushion.”The mud was actually perfect because it wasn’t muddy enough that it was actually slippery, it was sturdy, it didn’t splash up and it was soft,” she said.
More than 40 participants finished the race, and many of the runners teamed up in pairs to help keep motivation and focus during the long course. Drew Anderson of Durango picked an usual running buddy – her 15-month-old son, Avan. She pushed him in a stroller the whole way. It’s not a rare feat for Anderson, who frequently runs with her son.”That was our longest. We have done 13 (miles) before. The hills were really hard,” said Anderson, who has competed in the race four times. “I have done this without him so I was like ‘I don’t remember this hill, I don’t remember this hill either.'”The duo crossed the finish line in 2:46:12 to finish 29th overall and eighth out of 14 women in the race. Drew said Avan was a good sport for the duration.”He slept the first hour and a half and then talked the rest of the way,” she said. “It was kind of my pep talk.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.