New to Colorado Springs for just about six months now, Jared Hazen enjoyed the awe of the scenery before him as he ran alongside creeks, up rocky ridges and down tramped-over dirt paths - totaling about 40 miles of terrain in the process.
That, however, was just for his pre-race warm-up Friday.
His real feat came Saturday. The 18-year-old never gave up his lead and blew away the field at the fourth running of the Cheyenne Mountain Trail Race 50K, finishing with a time of 4 hours, 7 minutes and 55 seconds.
After two 25-kilometer loops around the single-track course, a course that featured a suffocating elevation gain of 2,400 feet, Hazen trotted in with ease before he was followed by John Fitzgerald (4:23:44) and Seth Kelly (4:27:30) a while later.
Golden resident Hillary Allen (4:27:53), who crushed the course record by more than 27 minutes in the women's field, crossed just moments after that.
"I was focused out there for most of it and tried to do everything to keep my pace up," Hazen said. "Once it is race time, I want to win. I like winning races. So, I try to stay as focused as I can throughout it. Training is the time I can think about some dream I had the night before - or something like that."
Speaking of training, Hazen said he runs for 3? hours on average, five or six days a week, and has racked up more than 5,000 miles since moving from Pennsylvania to the Colorado Springs area in November.
He has also run two 100-mile races in the past year, winning one and taking third place in the other.
"I don't why, I just love running," he said.
The race by Epic Endurance Events also featured a 25K race and a 25K-relay race at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which hosted about 350 participants.
First to come in on the day was Peter Maksimow (1:46:03). The 35-year-old broke away from Travis May (1:54:16), 31, in the early miles, and beat his own course record by two seconds en route to his third win in the past four years in the 25K race.
"I just got back from running the (Boston Athletic Association) 5K, over the Boston Marathon weekend, and that gets you going a little faster," said Maksimow, who did not run in the Cheyenne Mountain Trial Race last year due to injury. "There was some Kenyan woman who beat me pretty good."
Shawnie Mulligan (2:11:21), meanwhile, won the women's 25K a day after she had the sudden impulse to sign up for the event.
"I don't know why it hit me to sign up yesterday, but I'm very glad I did," she said. "It was a beautiful day and a great run for all of us."