Wright, Ward win America’s Uphill titles | AspenTimes.com
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Wright, Ward win America’s Uphill titles

Aspen Times Staff Report

In the early-morning fog and cold last Saturday morning, 354 competitors gathered at the base of the Silver Queen gondola at Aspen Mountain for the 13th annual running of America’s Uphill, the only uphill race held on Ajax each winter and a qualifier for the U.S. Vertical Skyrunning Championships and the 2001 World Skygames.

The 2.6-mile, 3200-vertical-foot course has, over the years, become a very popular race with area athletes, who posted some outstanding times including Natalie Ward’s women’s course record, but ultimately Saturday’s race was won by an out-of-towner, Vail’s Jeremy Wright.

Wright, competing along with perhaps eight other members of the Beaver Creek Resort Racing Team, crossed the finish line in 44 minutes, 3 seconds to win the race for the first time after taking second last year.

Wright’s Beaver Creek teammate, Mike Kloser, was second with a time of 48:03, one place better than Aspen High School senior Jon Severy (third, 49:45).

In the women’s race, Aspen native Natalie Ward finished 17th overall in a women’s record time of 54:13. Dillon’s Danelle Ballengee was second in 56:36, followed by another local racer, Jessie Bush, who took third with a time of 59:41.

AHS senior and Junior Olympian Nathan Waldron was tops among skiers and ninth overall in 51:47, beating out Aspen’s Mike Trecker (10th overall, 52:40) and AHS nordic squad teammate RC Walker (11th overall, 52:52).

Ward, in addition to winning the women’s race, was the top female skier.


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