"Just hold on" was a big part of Stephanie Wurtz's plan to win the final race and the overall 35th annual Winter Series for women in the long course Saturday. Other race favorites held on to win in the longest race of the series in Black Forest. Short-distance runners had to run 10K, while long-distance runners ran 20K in what can only be described as a battle against the wind. However, mild temperatures helped conditions.
James Burns, 25, of Colorado Springs won both the 10K and the overall series for men in the short course, finishing in 33 minutes and 48 seconds. "Another fun winner," said Burns of his victory.
Burns said he didn't do anything differently to prepare for this race, but he did say the course was tough, citing both the wind and the altitude as factors. Burns is using the series to prepare for races this summer, specifically the U.S. Trail Running Championships in July. This is the second year that Burns has captured the overall series title.
Sheila Geere, 50, of Colorado Springs won the short course for women and broke the course record for her age group in 43:24, based on the tracking chip. Her time beats the record by more than 6 minutes. She wins the overall race series for women in the short course.
Andy Boyle, 17, of Colorado Springs won the 20K for the men in one hour, 19 minutes and 41 seconds. Boyle was cheered to victory by his own fan section during the race. He gives credit to his running mates.
"Mr. Tyler Dimson of the academy really helped me push through, and all of the academy guys also," Boyle said.
Tyler Dimson, 20, of the Air Force Academy, came in second in 1:19:42, according to the tracking chip. Boyle is the overall winner for men in the long course for the race series.
Stephanie Wurtz of Manitou Springs won the 20K for the women in 1:29:25. Wurtz's strategy was to hold steady in the first half and then push it in the second half to compensate for the wind. Wurtz's next race is the Catalina Marathon next month in California.
The Winter Series is made up of four races in four city and county locations. Each race consists of a long and short race, with each race being longer than the previous. Runners who participated in all four short or long races are eligible for awards, which will be given out March 1 at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
This event started in 1979 under the name Black Forest Series. At first, all of the races were held in the Black Forest area. As the races grew in size, local residents began to complain about the local roads being overrun with runners every Saturday in winter. The race venues were then changed to use four locations and the Black Forest location for the last race.