Hilly terrain makes for difficult obstacle as Spartan makes Snowmass debut | AspenTimes.com

Hilly terrain makes for difficult obstacle as Spartan makes Snowmass debut

Spartan brought its popular brand of obstacle-course racing to Snowmass for the first time on Saturday, with the terrain itself providing more of a challenge than any of the obstacles themselves.

“It was the most difficult, for sure,” said Joe Alvarado of Centennial, who said this was his eighth Spartan race. “With that said, I’ve only done one other beast, but this one was a lot of hiking. A lot of uphill, for sure.”

Saturday was the first of two days of racing in Snowmass, with the start and finish lines centered on the festival area at Base Village. The two longest versions of the race took place Saturday in the beast (roughly 13 miles with 30 obstacles) and the ultra (30 miles with 60 obstacles).

Idaho’s Ian Hosek was the overall race winner for the beast, finishing in 1 hour, 56 minutes, 27 seconds. Ryan Kent was second (2:01:52) and Taylor Turney was third (2:03:27). Taking the women’s title for the elite beast athletes was Canada’s Amanda Nadeau in 2:25:39. Denver’s Sara Woodward was second (2:30:41) and Montana’s Kaci Monroe was third (2:34:20).

The ultra, which Alvarado said is not in his future plans, is essentially two laps of the beast with a little bit of an extra stretch added on.

“I can’t say it’s on my radar,” Alvarado said. “After I finish these beasts my legs are shot. I would have to completely train different to tackle something like that.”

Robert Killian, a former Spartan world champion, won Saturday’s ultra in 5:30:22. Taking second was New York’s Aaron Newell in 5:55:39 and third was Miguel Medina, of Durango, in 6:21:45. Aspen local Trey Barnes finished 17th overall in 7:45:56.

Rea Kolbl took the women’s ultra title in 6:49:35, which was good for ninth overall. Kolbl, who trains out of Boulder, also won the Power of Four 50k trail run from Aspen to Snowmass last month. Second among women in the ultra Saturday was Nicole McManus of California (8:11:12) and third was Ciara Slider of Utah (8:41:35).

While Spartan is obviously known for its obstacles, the general theme of the race remained the gnarly up and down of the Snowmass Ski Area course. Eric, a Colorado State University triathlete who didn’t want to give his last name, finished his first Spartan race on Saturday and found the terrain more demanding than the obstacles.

“The hills were just brutal,” he said. “They were just so steep and they never ended. You needlessly went up and came down and then went up again. No obstacles in between.”

Spartan Snowmass will conclude Sunday with the sprint races (3 miles, 20 obstacles). The elite athletes are scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m., with the elite awards scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

There also are kids races from a half mile to 2 miles in length throughout the morning.

Spectating is free for the public.