CREEDE— T A shuttle wove its way through the green landscape, taking runners to the starting line located at Rock Canyon Reservoir 25 miles north of Creede.
Several volunteers lined the race route waiting for their chance to help the runners as they made their way down the road vying for the top spot at the finish line at Ed Hargraves Park in Creede. While the marathon runners were making their long trek back to town, the 6k and half marathon runners were also getting underway closer to the finish line.
Participants of all ages, including small children were out and about to enjoy the sunshine that has been a rare sight over the last few weeks. Main Street was alive with guests from all over who gathered to cheer on the participants and greet them as they streamed to the finish line later in the day.
The event began as a way to educate the public on the importance of preserving the nation’s headwater rivers like the Rio Grande. In the early days, when Forrest Getz and Heather Dutton began the event, it was known to locals as the High-Country Hustle and was the only fundraising event for the Willow Creek Reclamation Company (WCRC) for the year. The funds went directly to WCRC projects for the coming year and usually took place in April.
Now the race has gained speed and national attention from runners all over the globe. What began as a small local fundraiser has now become a large event for the education of water preservation and restoration throughout the region. All funds now go to preservation efforts through the Headwaters Alliance.
Overall, runners finished this year in six hours or less, which is an entire hour faster than participants in last year’s race. Everyone who came out to run, walk, bike or visit gathered at the Ed Hargraves Park afterwards to celebrate the day and enjoy beer provided by Three Barrel Brewery out of Del Norte and food cooked by volunteers with Headwaters Alliance.
Marathon winners in the male category are as follows: Gary Krugger of Flagstaff, Ariz. came in first with a time of three hours and six minutes. Michael Olson of Dolores, Colo. took second place with a time of four hours and two minutes. Frank Novotny from Alamosa came in third place with a time of four hours and seven minutes.
Marathon winners in the female category are as follows: Nicolette Jones of Alamosa came in first with a time of four hours and 58 minutes. Emily Novotny of Alamosa came in second with a time of five hours and nine minutes. Laura Finley of Saguache came in third with a time of five hours and 32 minutes.
For the half marathon, winners are as follows, Philip Keller from Albuquerque, New Mexico came in first with a time of one hour and 23 minutes. Tanner Small of South Fork came in second with a time of one hour and 36 minutes. Jason Bacchlet from Alamosa came in third with a time of one hour and 40 minutes.
For the 6k, winners are as follows: Nathan Rubinfeld of Sante Fe, N.M. came in first with a time of 24 minutes and eight seconds. Nathan Kirkland from Alamosa came in second with a time of 24 minutes and 17 seconds. Doug Loehr from Maple Valley, Wash. came in third with a time of 26 minutes and 59 seconds.
A huge thank you goes out to all of the participants, volunteers and sponsors who helped with the event!