Grand Junction teenager wins Boogie’s Buddy Race in Aspen

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Jared Leblow of Grand Junction charges to the finish line at Rio Grande Park on Monday morning to win the 2016 Boogie's Buddy Race. The senior at Grand Junction Central High School led from start to finish, completing the 5-mile course in 28 minutes, 41 seconds.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times |

The Boogie’s Buddy Race in Aspen smells like teen spirit.

Seventeen-year-old Jared Leblow of Grand Junction won the 30th annual Fourth of July 5-mile race Monday morning, christening a revised course with a record finish.

Leblow, who will be a senior at Grand Junction Central High School this fall, pulled away from an elite field — including college runners and a former professional cyclist — to win in 28 minutes, 41 seconds, finishing at the new race headquarters at Rio Grande Park.

A few minutes later (33:03), Kylee Schuler of Carbondale won the women’s division of the Boogie’s Buddy Run for the second consecutive year.

Just a year ago, then 17-year-old Jack Stovitz of Southern California won the Boogie’s Buddy Race as the spirited teen runners started to establish a monopoly on winning in Aspen.

“I haven’t run a 5-mile race before; there were more hills than I expected on the course,” said Leblow. “I’ve been doing about 70 miles a week (in training); that’s helped.”

Leblow had company for the first half of the race, which started for the first time at Rio Grande Park. Formerly the race started and finished in downtown Aspen in front of Boogie’s Diner.

As the course entered the third mile, Leblow and Sean Van Horn of Carbondale ran together for a stretch.

“When the first big uphill came, that’s when I started to pull away,” said Leblow, who was the Colorado Class 5A state high school cross country champion last fall.

“He dropped me like a rock on the hill,” said Van Horn, manager of Independence Run and Hike in Carbondale.

Once he attacked the hill, the Central High senior raced back through the West End and up Rio Grande Trail to the finish line in the park.

“I’m hoping to go to BYU and run there,” said Leblow, who has the interest of a number of colleges and universities.

But first, he’ll be back to defend his state championship in cross country.

“I love cross country,” said Leblow, who is the son of Ted and Elizabeth Leblow.

And running, obviously, runs in the Leblow family: Father Ted finished sixth on Saturday.

Van Horn, who directs the annual Mount Sopris Runoff race (July 30), finished second to the future BYU runner.

Charlie King, a runner at Georgetown University, finished third Saturday. He won the Aspen Food and Wine 5K earlier this summer.

Part-time Aspenite Lance Armstrong, the former six-time winner of the Tour de France, finished fourth. Cale Mitchell was fifth with Ted Leblow sixth.

“That was a suffer-fest,” Armstrong said in the finish area. “They threw in that Power Plant (up and down) this year.”

He referred to the course addition this year that included the steep up-and-down at Power Plant Road.

Stovitz, the 2015 winner and a two-time winner of the Aspen Food and Wine 5K, finished seventh this year. He’ll attend Harvard where he will run in the fall.

In the women’s race, Schuler broke to the lead and ran solo this year, winning the division and finishing 10th overall. Last year, she and running pal Kate Phillips ran together just like they did as training partners.

“It was a little closer race last year,” said Schuler, a former runner at the University of Richmond and at Metropolitan State University in Denver.

She said that as she continues her conversion from road racing to trail running she’s been battling a troublesome hip.

“But I seem to be able to do the faster stuff OK,” said Schuler, 30. She added that the slight uphill finish this year was difficult after having a downhill finish last summer.

“But it’s like a cross country finish out here on the grass,” she said.

Erika Odlaug was second among the women in 34:57.

Ashley Connolly, Aspen author and former college volleyball player, finished third among the women in 35:16

The Boogie’s Buddy Run in 2016 was sponsored by Dancing Bear Aspen. A total of 594 runners completed the 5-mile run. Additional runners and walkers participated in the 1-mile fun run.

Results and timing were handled by Hallucination Sports. Online results will be available at and at