St. George a boon for locals | AspenTimes.com

St. George a boon for locals

Nate PetersonAspen, CO Colorado

Basalt local Megan Lund runs Saturday in the St. George Marathon in southwestern Utah. Lund finished second among females in the race, her first marathon. (Contributed photo)

BASALT Mary Cote doesn’t have Olympic dreams, just dreams of racing against soon-to-be Olympians.That’s why Saturday, for second time in four years, the 43-year-old mother of two from Basalt was in the southwestern Utah town of St. George pushing herself to her personal limit in search of a magic number.Two hours, 47 minutes.Just as she did in the fall of 2003, Cote finished faster than the qualifying time she needed to earn an invite to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. She did so by the thinnest margin, churning out a 6 minute, 34-second final mile to cross the finish line in 2 hours, 46 minutes, 58 seconds.”It was touch and go there for a while,” Cote said. “I saw the clock at 25.2 miles and realized I had to run somewhere close to a six-minute mile to get it. It was very difficult, but I’m very happy.”

Cote was the top female in the women’s 40-44 masters division, and became the 127th women to make the Olympic qualifying mark this year.She won’t be the only valley local heading off to Boston in April to compete against the best female distance runners in the country.Fellow Basalt resident Megan Lund also hit the qualifying mark in her first marathon, finishing second overall among the field of 2,228 women, in 2:41:59.A prep star in the valley who went on to run competitively at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Lund had her sights set on 2 hours, 44 minutes.She admittedly overestimated the mostly downwhill St. George course – which drops more than 2,500 feet from its starting elevation of 5,243 feet.Lund said the weather for the race – which winds its way through a canyon – was a bit cooler than expected, which also helped.

“I ran with gloves on until about mile 20,” she said. “It was pretty atypical weather. The night before the race, it was pretty windy and cold, and it was still pretty chilly at the start. I’d say it was between 50 and 60 degrees for the whole race.”Lund ran with her father, Ron, the cross-country coach at Basalt High School, who last did the race eight years ago. The older Lund finished in 2:45:36 – good for 61st overall among men and third in the 50-54 masters division.Bernie Boettcher of Silt won his 45-49 masters division, finishing 27th overall in 2:33:52. One of the perks of winning a division at the St. George Marathon is entry and an expenses-paid trip to the marathon in St. George’s sister city of Ibigawa, Japan, on Nov. 11.Lund said the female winner Saturday turned down the trip, so it was offered to her. Cote and Boettcher were also offered trips.”I’m going to take a little bit of time off, take the next two weeks pretty conservatively, then I’ll get ready for Japan,” Lund said.

Lund also plans to compete at the USA Track and Field Cross-Country Nationals on Dec. 8 in Masonville, Ohio.Cote said her calves were extremely tight after Sunday’s race, but the elation of hitting the Olympic trial qualifying mark certainly made the soreness easier to withstand.”For most of the last two years, I’ve just been working on my running,” said Cote, who didn’t start running competitively until 30. “I’ve been training specifically for this race for a while, so it feels really good. … I feel like I have more to give. I’m going to go and try and run my best for the time trial. I’m not going to make it to the Olympics, but I’m going to do my best.”The other valley locals to run in Saturday’s race are: Gilles Cote of Basalt (2:56:47), Sandra Henderson of Basalt (3:51:10), Bentley Henderson of Basalt (3:15:18), David Boyd of Silt (4:40:34), Jeanne Blatter of Silt (4:02:43), Carol McCurry of Carbondale (4:11:12) and Martha Heim of Glenwood Springs (3:34:16).Nate Peterson’s e-mail is npeterson@aspentimes.com.