Written by Race Director Barbara Sutton. Photos courtesy of Jewel Heisig and John Peleaux.
The first ever Hermit Pass Marathon, Half Hermit and Lucky Hermit 13K held at A Painted View Ranch near Westcliffe, CO in southern central Colorado, welcomed a total of 40 runners on a bright, crisp fall morning Sept 19, 2015. Fifteen marathon runners started off in the lowest temperatures of the fall that morning, but enjoyed great weather all day, except for stiff winds of about 15 mph up on top of 13,050 ft. Hermit Pass. The turning aspens were nearing their peak colors making it an especially beautiful race.
Setting the marathon course record was Colorado Springs resident Mick Backsen, former resident of Westcliffe, with a time of 5 hr:16. Second place overall went to Mason McClatchey posting a time of 5:42. Third place was David Karp in 6:18. The first place woman, Jennifer Aguirre, was also 4th overall with a time of 6:25. Zenia Begay was the second place woman at 7:16, and Kari Taylor placed 3rd for women with 8:08.
The Half Hermit half marathon started mid morning, with 19 runners heading up Hermit Pass Road to the turnaround at 10, 350 ft. The course record for the Half Hermit was set by Gerald Romero, Colorado Springs, with a time of 1 hr 52 min. Eugene Saghi was second overall at 2:24, and the third place finisher was also the first woman across the finish line, Trina Ehrenberg, with a time of 2:26. The second place woman, Amarilda Rucaj, finished in 2:37.
The Lucky Hermit 13K runners had warming temperatures as they started their run on the Valley floor. Sean Staples set the record with a time of 1hr 11min., and the second place overall was also the Women’s winner, Jewel Heisig of Westcliffe, with a time of 1:18.
Complete results can be seen at www.clubamericawmv.org/marathon. Proceeds from this run will go to benefit Club America Aquatic and Fitness Center, a community owned and operated nonprofit rec center, free swim lesson program for elementary school children in Custer County.
Of note is the special effort undertaken by all the volunteers working this event, many of whom spent the day driving the 4WD road up to their aid stations at 9,000 – 13,000 ft., and helped the runners get up and off the mountain. An excellent post race meal was prepared and served by Club America volunteers and everyone enjoyed the fabulous venue at A Painted View Ranch.
Next year’s date has been set for Sept 17, 2016. Online registration at www.imathlete.com will be available soon.