Training partners Layne and Richardson conquer Power of Four; Aziz leads men
For the Aspen Times
Runners stormed up Aspen Mountain in the early hours of Saturday morning, their eyes set on climbing steep trails, maneuvering over tree roots or rocks, and scrambling up the peaks of all four of the Aspen ski areas.
The Audi Power of Four trail run is a unique race as participants are tasked with running 50 kilometers, or a little over 30 miles. This is a challenging feat on flat ground, but add that the race is on wooded trails that take runners to the top of Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, and the race seems insurmountable.
But race participants proved it was possible as they all streamed across the finish line on Fanny Hill in the early afternoon hours on Saturday after climbing and descending over 9,000 feet. Many had joyous expressions on their faces to see the end of the race after spending the past several hours alone, their only companion the trail beneath their feet.
The night before the Power of Four trail race was to start, last year’s winner, as well as the winner of last week’s Snowmass 50-mile mountain bike race, local Olympian Simi Hamilton announced he was pulling out of the race due to a foot injury.
“A bit heartbroken to not be racing tomorrow’s Power of Four trail run race … Turns out when you put a nail through your foot your running abilities take a bit of a temporary hit,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram.
With the absence of Hamilton, the doors opened for a new Power of Four champion. That champion became Snowmass local Jonathan Aziz, who finished the race in 5 hours, 21 minutes and 27 seconds, only three minutes behind Hamilton’s time from last year.
Aziz was quick to point out he never really felt good during the race but that he got it done.
“It was really tough. Probably started off a bit too fast and was by myself for most of the race until I made contact with the 25k racers,” Aziz said. “I was initially dreading having to pass by the 25k racers, but they actually gave me a boost as I passed them. A lot of them were super encouraging. Overall I think the race went super well.”
Aziz was followed by Aspen’s Jeffrey Colt a little over 20 minutes later; he finished in 5:47:40. To round out the podium, Dillon’s Austin Chirico joyfully crossed the finish line with his shirt caked in mud in 6:09:30.
Kristin Layne was the first woman to cross the finish line in the 50k race, taking third overall in 6:02. Layne, who has lived in Aspen since 2006 and is a mother of two, exceeded her own expectations in many ways.
Not only did she cross the finish line 10 minutes before she predicted she would — much to the slight disappointment of her husband, who missed her finish — but Layne also didn’t come into the race expecting to win.
“Tiehack was a rough one today,” she said. “It was in the sun and it was really hard to get up after climbing so much. I didn’t expect to win as there are a lot of fast girls. I had it in my mind to win, but just came in seeing how it would go.”
Following Layne was one of the fast trail runners she referred to in Tara Richardson, who finished four minutes behind Layne in 6:06:24. Richardson and Layne are actually training partners, as Richardson lives nearby in Snowmass Village. It should come as no surprise that the pair were the first women to finish the race.
“I train with Richardson fairly often,” Layne said. “We have a lot of fun running together. We train early in the morning and sometimes again in the afternoon, logging lots of miles on the mountain trails in the area.”
Ashley Hunter-Arnold from Asheville, Tennessee, snatched the final podium spot in 6:18:29.
The race series also offered a race at the 25k distance, billed as the Power of Two, where participants conquer both Buttermilk and Snowmass, leaving out Aspen Mountain and Highlands.
Power of Four podiums
Men: 1. Jonathan Aziz, 5:21:27 — 2. Jeffrey Colt, 5:47:40 — 3. Austin Chirico, 6:09:30
Women: 1. Kristin Layne, 6:02:00 — 2. Tara Richardson, 6:06:24 — 3. Ashley Hunter-Arnold, 6:18:29
Power of Two podiums
Men: 1. Timmy Parr, 1:49:32 — 2. Jacob Dewey, 1:51:05 — 3. Bradley Kuper-Smith, 2:25:38
Women: 1. Lauren Warkentin, 2:23:27 — 2. Julia Rowland, 2:27:04 — 3. Leah Veldhuisen, 2:27:25
Men: 1. Andrew Rumph, 44:36 — 2. Benjamin Mackoff, 49:24 — 3. Andrew Reid, 53:06
Women: 1. Lindsay Douglas, 56:35 — 2. Nicole Lapka, 56:39 — 3. Rachel Zavala, 58:30
Gunnison’s Timmy Parr won the men’s 25k race in 1:49:32.41. In second was Gunnison’s Jacob Dewey (1:51:05.62) and in third was San Francisco’s Bradley Kuper-Smith in 2:25:38.47.
Lauren Warkentin from Edwards was the first woman to finish the 25K race, crossing in 2:23:27 for third overall. Aspen’s Julia Rowland (2:27:04) and Leah Veldhuisen (2:27:25) of Snowmass rounded out the 25k awards podium.
In the men’s 10k race, Aspen’s Andrew Rumph finished first in 44:36.38. In second was Benjamin Mackoff of Snowmass in 49:24.79, and in third was Nashville’s Andrew Reid in 53:06.30.
Lindsay Douglas won the women’s 10k race in 56:35.37, good for fifth overall. In close second was Evergreen’s Nicole Lapka (56:39.77) and in third was Denver’s Rachel Zavala (58:30.42).
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