LEADVILLE, Colo. " Keri Nelson, 27, of Gunnison, recently made history by becoming the first woman ever to finish first in a Colorado marathon, said Ken Chlouber, president of the Leadville Trail 100. Nelson won the Leadville Trail 100 Marathon on July 5.
Near the summit of the 12,188-foot Mosquito Pass, Nelson pulled out ahead of Tim Deboom, a nationally acclaimed athlete who had been leading the race. Nelson held the lead until the end.
"That was a first for me," said Nelson, who has had her share of victories but none on this level. Nelson grew up in Gunnison and attended Western State University, where she competed in mountain bike racing. She began running competitively about four years ago, when she moved to Grand Junction.
"This was my third time running the Leadville Trail 100 Marathon, and my second finish for it," she said. She placed second in another marathon last year, and third in one the year before. She placed first in the women's division for the Leadville Trail 100 in 2006.
Nelson has also won "a few smaller" races, but this was by far her biggest victory.
"I had a really good race. I felt great, and it was a beautiful day. I've been running a lot more lately, and trying to get some high altitude training in. I went in with a really positive attitude," said Nelson.
She has been training hard, she said, and "mixing it up a lot" between running, biking and adventure racing.
Nelson's next race will be the Pikes Peak Marathon, a personal favorite of hers, which she'll be entering for the fourth year. She also plans to be back for the Leadville Trail 100 mile mountain bike race in August.