Cool Runnings 2: Kory Cool wins second Aspen Valley Marathon
1. Kory Cool, 2:41:59
2. Mason Mitchell, 2:48:24
3. Gary Krugger, 2:48:27
1. Rebecca Smith, 3:19:00
2. Kay Borleis, 3:19:12
3. Whitney Dutton, 3:22:05
1. Donald Quintana, 1:27:40
2. Tyler Thyfault, 1:28:56
3. Danny Chester, 1:29:05
1. Ashley Connolly, 1:30:30
2. Emily Lanter, 1:31:52
3. Mary Cote, 1:35:16
1. Jeffrey Trendel, 27:14
2. Larry Spradley, 27:27
3. Ben Smith, 28:29
1. Abigayle Gawthorp, 26:06
2. Erica Schommer, 33:22
3. Laura Houd, 33:22
Make that four in a row for Kory Cool.
No matter the distance, the high school track and field coach from Kansas has the Aspen Valley Marathon pretty well dialed in. He couldn’t quite get to his own course record on Saturday, but Cool was hot enough to outdistance the field to win the 26.2-mile race from Aspen to Basalt’s Lions Park.
“You just never know who is going to show up,” said Cool, who did not expect to win. “There are a lot of people out there who are faster than me. They just didn’t come here today.”
Cool, 32, finished Saturday’s ninth annual marathon in 2 hours, 41 minutes, 59 seconds, easily outdistancing Fairplay’s Mason Mitchell (2:48:24) and Arizona’s Gary Krugger (2:48:27), who finished second and third, respectively. Krugger is a three-time Aspen Valley Marathon winner (2012, 2013, 2016) and held the course record until Cool beat it when he won the 2017 Aspen marathon in 2:38:17.
While it was only his second win in the full marathon, it was Cool’s fourth straight win in Basalt. In 2016, Cool won the Aspen Valley Half Marathon and last summer he won the 5k, which he ran only because he felt he wasn’t in marathon shape.
“In my training I’ve been doing well leading up to this. I’m healthy, so I wanted to do the full again,” Cool said of returning to the marathon. “It was mentally very, very tough. I’ve only run probably about three or four marathons since this win two years ago. So I’m still kind of getting used to it again. The last probably eight miles were really, really tough.”
The top local finisher in Saturday’s marathon was Carbondale’s Guillermo Ceja, who was eighth in 3:02:53. Hayes Ward, also of Carbondale, was 12th in 3:12:38.
For Cool, winning the marathon is certainly among the highlights of his summer.
“I really was just hoping to do well here. This was my main focus,” he said. “This is always a big family thing. We love coming here. This is a great, great area and we plan on coming back for many more years.”
Taking the women’s race was Lakewood’s Rebecca Smith. She was 15th overall with a time of 3:19:00. She didn’t have much room to spare, as Boulder’s Kay Borleis finished only 12 seconds back in 16th place. Whitney Dutton of Texas was the third woman, finishing 17th in 3:22:05.
“It’s good. It was unexpected, for sure,” the 34-year-old Smith said of her win. “It wasn’t too big of a downhill. It was beautiful the whole way. It was nice and cool for the first three-quarters of the race, so it was awesome.”
More than anything, Smith was hoping to again qualify for the Boston Marathon, a race she’s ran three times, and did so with little difficulty. She said the Aspen marathon was her 11th at the distance and her second win. She also won in Estes Park a few years ago.
Quintana, Connolly win half marathon titles
Their matching shirts were certainly endearing. Both Donald Quintana and his wife, Melanie, took to the Aspen Valley Half Marathon with a similar wardrobe, their last name emblazoned across their chest.
Turns out, that wasn’t the first time the couple had run together wearing that attire.
“We met about three years ago and we just got married last year,” Donald Quintana said. “That’s where the jerseys are from. We wore these at the end of our wedding and ran home from our wedding.”
They were a pretty formidable pair on Saturday, with Donald winning the half marathon with a time of 1:27:40, while Melanie was 10th overall and fourth among women in 1:36:19. Coming from New Orleans, Donald admitted to being intimidated by the elevation and certainly didn’t expect to win.
“Normally I’m that guy who is in that second pack right behind the winner. So I was surprised,” he said. “I’m coming from sea level. I don’t get to see pretty mountains and everything. It’s just a beautiful course out there.”
Quintana, 36, won the half marathon by more than a minute over Arvada’s Tyler Thyfault (1:28:56), with Danny Chester taking third (1:29:05).
The women’s half marathon was won by Aspen’s Ashley Connolly. She was fifth overall in 1:30:30, edging out Missouri’s Emily Lanter, who was seventh overall in 1:31:52. Mary Cote of Snowmass was the third woman in the half, finishing eighth overall in 1:35:16.
“Usually there is a ringer or two ahead of me. I can’t think of a half that I’ve won, at least recently, so this is exciting,” said the 43-year-old Connolly, who also won the Boogie’s Buddy Race 5-miler on the Fourth of July. “I was shocked to win this one because last year I ran and my time was about the same and I was like the seventh girl. There were so many fast girls last year, but this year apparently I was the fast girl. So I’ll take it.”
A 5k wrapped up Saturday’s festivities, with Tennessee’s Abigayle Gawthorp stealing the show. Not only was the 21-year-old the top woman in 26:06, but she also beat all the men to take the overall race title. Jeffrey Trendel was second overall and first among men in 27:14.
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This past season brought with it Hailey Swirbul’s greatest individual result as a professional cross-country ski racer. But any real satisfaction she received always came when racing alongside her teammates, notably during world champs.