David and Megan Roche conquer Aspen Backcountry Marathon
As good as the husband and wife duo of David and Megan Roche are, they are bound to win the same race on the same day “every once in a while,” according to Megan.
Although, David is willing to admit it would happen more often if only he could keep up with his wife.
“I’m the limiting factor, is what she is trying to say. She wins most of her races and I win some of my races,” David teased. “It’s hard, because I need to keep up with her. I get really strong just trying to stay close.”
Saturday at the Aspen Backcountry Marathon proved to be one of those “once in a while” days. David took the overall marathon title with a time of 3 hours, 23 minutes, 24.3 seconds, while Megan was the top female finisher in the full marathon in 3:51:52, good for fifth overall.
Megan also won the race last year in her first try, while David settled for second place in 2016, falling short to Mario Macias, an accomplished Colorado road racer.
“These are actually my favorite trails in the entire world, and I’ve run a lot of places,” Megan said. “We like supporting local communities, so we go anywhere from really small races to really big races.”
David and Megan, both accomplished mountain trail runners, currently live in Palo Alto, California, where Megan has been going to medical school at Stanford University. She recently finished her last clinical rotation and will spend the next year doing research.
If any place could be called a second home for the native East Coasters, it would be Aspen. The couple will celebrate their third anniversary this week. They were married in a meadow in Ashcroft, Aspen’s popular nearby ghost town, and even ran up Independence Pass the day of their nuptials.
“We just love the area, honestly. Aspen has certain stereotypes about it. What we’ve noticed is the people are kinder than almost anywhere on Earth,” David said. “And everyone loves dogs, and all the dogs are amazing. The best way to tell about a community is what are the dogs like, and the dogs here are all so happy.”
Finishing second behind David in the full marathon was Joshua Eberly in 3:31:38.1, about eight minutes later. Timmy Parr was third in 3:34:13.7.
Sandi Nypaver was second among women, finishing in 4:11.00, almost 20 minutes behind Megan. Jen Burn was third in 4:53:36.2.
Both full and half marathon courses took runners through trails located on and around Red Mountain, finishing in Rio Grande Park.
Valliere repeats as half marathon champion
Invited back by Adidas Outdoor to run in Saturday’s half marathon, Jeff Valliere, who lives just outside Boulder, took the overall half marathon title in 2:07:23.5, a touch faster than his winning time last year.
Valliere is another Aspen frequenter, having spent many a day climbing one of the nearby 14ers. However, since he’s had children, those trips haven’t been quite as frequent.
“We have 6-year-old twin daughters so they keep us really busy,” he said. “But they are getting to the age where they can do more hikes, so we hope to start coming back up more often.”
Brian Johnson was second in the half marathon in 2:12:07.2, and David Wexner third among men in 2:14:51.4.
Penelope Freedman of Steamboat Springs, another accomplished professional runner, was the top woman in the half marathon, finishing third overall in 2:13:41.3. Sara Viner was second among women in 2:17:58.4 and Stephanie Weigel Ibasco third in 2:23:36.2.
Complete race results can be found at http://www.sportstats.us.
As a team, Aspen finished third overall in its lone home tournament of the fall. The Skiers shot a collective 239, finishing 12 back of fellow 3A powerhouse Colorado Academy (227). Steamboat Springs, out of 4A, shot 225 to take the win.
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