Palmer Lake was once a large lake abundant with fish, nestled against a scenic mountain backdrop, and attracting people from all over the Colorado Springs area. Now though, the lake is bare, with puddles of water in places that would have been 10 feet deep. The lake has an eerie feel to it. It was fitting, in a way, as the Creepy Crawl 5K took place Saturday with competitors, many of them costumed, running around the dried lake.
Yellow leaves littered the trail and would soon be trampled by nearly 500 runners, who were brave enough to run in the cold wind, and thin air, at an elevation of more than 7,000 feet.
Gerald Romero, who took third place with a time of 18 minutes, 26 seconds said, "We've been used to some really hot, warm-weather races (but) when there is a cold-weather race you'll feel it a little bit, it will take a while to get accustomed again for winter racing."
The mood at the starting line was jovial, with the race announcer dressed like a duck and making the runners dance to the YMCA song before the race started. There were some that were too focused on the race to dance, but for those dressed as Iron Man, Batman, or the minions from "Despicable Me", dancing was right up their alley.
Cameron Rathmell, a 15-year-old Liberty High School student, was the first to cross the finish line thanks to a little help from his family. "I just ran behind my brother for the first mile, he took all the wind and I passed him about halfway through the second mile."
After Rathmell was done drafting behind his brother, it was a smooth run, although Rathmell said that there was a strong headwind on the backside of the lake. The wind would barely slow him down as he finished in 18 minutes flat.
Taking second place was Andrew Abdella, who was 20 seconds behind Rathmell and dealing with a bit of an injury. "I was trying to pick up my workouts, and my hip got tweaked a couple weeks ago, so I was really pleased today. It didn't hurt much at all," Abdella said. "I closed the gap a little (in the second mile), but in the third mile with the wind in your face it's hard."
Sheila Geere was the first female finisher, and, along with Halcy Driskell, they were the only women with a top 10 overall time. Geere placed eighth in 20:04, and Driskell finished exactly one minute behind her.
Though Rathmell took first place, it wasn't a priority for him. The teen said: "I just wanted to run it for fun."