Severy returns to defend Buddy 5 crown |

Severy returns to defend Buddy 5 crown

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN Aspen native Jon Severy wasnt in town in 2006 to defend his Boogies Diner Buddy 5 Mile Race title.Competitors wont be so fortunate this time around.The former Aspen High standout and All-American runner at the University of Colorado will be the prohibitive favorite when he lines up Friday. Last year, Severy finished in 27 minutes, 32 seconds, nearly two minutes ahead of his nearest competitor.He wont be alone. Severys fiance, former CU All-American and 2005 Buddy 5 winner Natalie Florence, will be in the field. So, too, will friend and former Skiers standout Ricky Gates. Gates is the 2007 USA Mountain Running Championships winner and a former Buddy 5 champion in his own right. In March, he bested endurance junkies Mike Kloser and Bernie Boettcher to win Americas Uphill on Aspen Mountain. The 27-year-old Gates said Tuesday he relishes the opportunity to return home and compete in the Buddy 5 Aspens annual rite of summer since 1978.Its such a great race, one of the all-time classics in Colorado, really, the current Boulder resident added. Theres a good turnout, and its a good way to start the Fourth of July. My brother will be passing out water, and my mom will be out cheering somewhere.The Buddy 5 begins a whirlwind few weeks for the trio. Severy and Florence are getting married July 12, then plan to honeymoon in Spain. Gates, accordion in tow, will serve as best man. He and Severy first forged a friendship when he was a high school freshman and Severy was an eighth grader.He was a punk, but he came around, Gates joked.Three days after the wedding, Gates will head to Europe to compete in World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) events in Austria, Slovenia and Norway, among others. The ambitious, demanding summer schedule culminates with Sept. 14s WMRA World Mountain Running Trophy in Crans Montana, Switzerland. But first, its time to tend to the business at hand, Gates said. Five miles replete with fast downhill, the daunting Cemetery Lane hill and a sprint to the finish await competitors Friday.Im looking forward to kicking Jons ass and you can quote me on that, Gates joked. Weve only raced maybe four times in the last five years. It should be a lot of fun.Gates also is looking for some redemption. Sunday, Severy humbled him and the field en route to a 57-second victory in the 12-kilometer U.S. Trail Running National Championship on the steep paths surrounding Steamboat Springs Howelsen Hill. Gates, who decided to ride his bike from Boulder to Steamboat for the race, wound up finishing 5:45 behind Severy, crossing the line in 1:05:37.Ill be a little bit better rested this time around, Gates said. Hell have to be if he is to be the one running the Ute Trail at races end a tradition Severys late brother Chris first instituted for Boogies winners years back. The Steamboat result surprised Severy.I havent been mountain training at all, and I won, so it went really well in that regard, said the soft-spoken 26-year-old, who recently completed his first year of medical school at the University of Vermont. I felt great. In med school, I dont think about running at all. Its more thinking about staying sane. Im out pounding for an hour as hard as I can in between studying. Im way more fit than I thought possible. That might be bad news for the rest of the field. But it hasnt stopped Gates from engaging in some good-natured ribbing.Jon kicked my ass [in Steamboat]. Thats going to change Friday, he said. Maybe well go out drinking the night before to even the playing

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