Women’s Strawberry Shortcut 5K title stays in the family
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Amy Rollins was more than happy to take advantage of the advantage she was given in the Strawberry Shortcut 5K race on Sunday morning.
“Megan Lizotte is my sister,” said Rollins, a 2007 graduate of Basalt High School. “But she’s not here today and isn’t going to be here until tomorrow, so today was my day.”
Rollins, the former Amy Lund who ran track and field at Concordia University in Irvine, California, was the top female in a field with a winning time of 20 minutes, 4 seconds. It’s the first time in the 38-year history of the shortcut that Rollins, who lives in Carbondale, had won the race.
And the way that she saw it, she owed a lot of that to her sister’s absence.
“I think I’ve run this race close to 10 times,” said the 26-year-old Rollins, a former track and field state placer for the Longhorns. “We used to run this race all the time when we were kids growing up.”
Rollins is one of two Roaring Fork Valley residents who came across the finish line first in their respective races. The other was 29-year-old Kylee Schuler of Carbondale, who won Sunday morning’s 10K in 39:11.
Rollins, who earlier this week prevailed in the women’s race at the fourth-annual Food and Win Classic 5K in Aspen, has some pretty stellar sibling competition in Lizotte. She ran in college for Division II University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and, after that, was a two-time qualifier for the Olympic Marathon Trials. More recently, Lizotte pulled a rare double victory in the shortcut’s 10K and 5K race.
Now, Lizotte’s 5K title safely rests in the hands of her younger sister.
“Yeah,” Rollins said with a laugh, jokingly adding: “It’s an exciting day for me when she doesn’t show up.”
Rollins was also the ninth overall finisher in a field of 315 runners. Managing a second-place finish in the women’s 5K was 37-year-old Sharma Phillips, who at one point on the course passed Rollins before crossing the finish line in 20:30. Finishing third in the women’s race — 20th overall — was 22-year-old Sarah Treese.
Unlike Rollins, who grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley, Schuler is a transplant from Pennsylvania who moved to the area close to a year ago. She finished the 10K race in 39:11, which was a good enough time to crack the overall Top 5.
Schuler, a former Division I track and cross country runner at the University of Richmond (Virginia), also ran for a season at Division II Metro State University in Denver. There, her time of 35:45.04 in the 10K earned her the school record in the event.
Though her time on Sunday wasn’t close to a school record, it was partially, she said, because the turnaround section of the course near the Cardiff Bridge, along with the headwind runners faced running south on the Rio Grande Bike Trail, tended to halt momentum some. She’s also begun a transition into trail running and is heading up a group called the Maroon Belles Trail Club.
Schuler, also, was glad Lizotte didn’t run.
“She probably would have kicked my ass,” she said, laughing.
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