Aspenite Tiernan cruises to fourth Mount Sopris title
CARBONDALE – Sprinting across the finish line Saturday like it was a 100-meter dash, Zeke Tiernan hardly looked phased by the grueling 16.5-mile Mount Sopris Runoff.The 31-year-old Aspen resident cruised to his fourth win in the local race, which started at the 7-Eleven in Basalt and climbed 1,500 feet before descending 1,800 feet and finishing at Sopris Park in Carbondale. Tiernan’s official time was 1 hour, 42 minutes and 56 seconds – almost seven minutes ahead of runner-up Joel Stonington, a reporter for The Aspen Times. “I love that race. It’s really pretty on the way up – you’ve got a great view of Sopris,” said Tiernan, who has won the runoff four times. “It’s very difficult on both sides because it is just a sustained eight miles up and the first several miles on the downhill – that’s the hardest part for me today because I have been training a lot and my legs are tired and it hurt.”One of the longest races in the valley was akin to a warm-up lap for Tiernan, who went for a 28-mile training run in the Maroon Bells wilderness Tuesday. It’s all part of his training for a 50-mile trail run in Steamboat.
“That’s why I have been running long runs,” he said. “This is long, but not that long.”The runoff also served as training ground for female winner, Mary Coté, who won her third title in the race with a time of 1:58:25. Coté, a Basalt resident, is getting ready to run a marathon in Utah in October.”This is a good test. [The marathon] is similar to this course, it doesn’t have uphill like this course, but it has a lot of downhill,” she said. “I love running this race to see where my fitness is.”After finishing the race, Coté said she was pleased with how she held up.
“I am almost where I want to be,” she said. “Just a little more speed work.”With heavy rainstorms Friday night, parts of the race were muddy along Sopris Creek Road and Prince Creek Road. That wasn’t a bad thing, however, as Coté said the mud acted like a cushion.”The mud was actually perfect because it wasn’t muddy enough that it was actually slippery, it was sturdy,” she said. “It didn’t splash up and it was soft.”
More than 40 participants finished the race, many of whom teamed up in pairs to provide support to one another.Drew Anderson of Durango picked an usual running buddy – her 15-month-old son, Avan. She pushed him in a stroller the whole way. It’s not a rare feat for Anderson, who frequently runs with her son.”That was our longest,” said Anderson, who has competed in the race four times. “We have done 13 [miles] before. The hills were really hard. I have done this without him, so I was like ‘I don’t remember this hill, I don’t remember this hill either.'”Anderson and son crossed the finish line in 2:46:12, good for 29th overall. The mother was eighth among 14 women in the race. She said Avan was a good sport for the duration.”He slept the first hour and a half and then talked the rest of the way,” she said. “It was kind of my pep talk.”
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