The winners of the short race at the second Winter Series event weren’t any different from the first. But as the Beatles sang in 1967, they each did it “with a little help from my friends.”
Air Academy High School freshman Katie Rainsberger won the women’s four-mile event in 24 minutes, 12 seconds. James Burns won the men’s equivalent with a time of 20:47.
Both had help Saturday.
Finishing second in the women’s race was 15-year-old Tabor Scholl, who trains under Rainsberger’s mother, Lisa, a former Boston Marathon winner.
“I’m from Kremmling and it’s in the below zeros every morning,” said Scholl, a West Grand High School sophomore. “I came down to spend a week with them and had some fun girl time.”
That girl time included pushing the younger Rainsberger for the first three miles before fading to finish 36 seconds behind.
“That last mile was pretty tough,” Scholl said. “Three miles was like my limit today.”
In the men’s race, Burns outsprinted Michael Weiss over the final 200 yards for the win. Both are professional triathletes and train frequently together, mostly at the pool at Cheyenne Mountain High School.
“He was stronger in the second third of the race,” Weiss said of Burns. “Then I caught up again and we battled to the finish line.”
Weiss, who is originally from Austria but has lived in Colorado Springs for four years, trained on the bicycle portion of his multisport discipline for five hours Friday.
“I rode all the way to Larkspur and back,” he said. “I froze my butt off.”
But nobody was freezing any body parts off Saturday. It was the type of Colorado January morning as suited for beach volleyball as for any winter sports.
The combination of perfect weather and the generally flat course that started at El Pomar Youth Sports Park and ran up and down the Pikes Peak Greenway, made for predictably fast times.
As with the shorter race, the winners of the eight-mile event were the same as the first Winter Series event, which was held Jan. 12 at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Although the second race was nearly a full mile longer, Tommy Manning covered the distance Saturday in 46:58, just 1:55 behind his winning time in the first.
Clare Barr won the women’s eight mile in 53:50, a second ahead of second-place Stephanie Wurtz.
With Rainsberger, Burns, Manning and Barr each having won their respective distances in the first two events, all four are leading in the Winter Series as a whole. Illustrating the bright future of running in the Pikes Peak region, each of the top seven females and 10 of the top 11 in the women’s short series are 18 or younger — including two 11-year-olds.
Most of them look up to Rainsberger, who at 14 is emerging as the bright star in Colorado Springs running. Saturday’s course presented a challenge for the Class 4A high school cross country runner-up.
“I feel like I’m stronger on the hills so with the flat courses I feel like I have to work on my speed and being able to hold the faster pace for longer,” she said.
She has to. There are a lot of friends pushing her along.
PIKES PEAK ROADRUNNERS UPCOMING EVENTS
Super Half Marathon and 5K: March 3 at downtown Colorado Springs
Winter Series III: Feb. 9 at the Baptist Road trail head
Winter Series IV: Feb. 23 at Wolford Elementary in Black Forest