The 17th Barr Trail Mountain Race was held in Manitou Springs, Colorado, on Sunday, July 16. On a day which started under cloud cover and slight fog, the skies cleared and temperatures warmed to the upper 60s for the 7:00 a.m. start time. Nearly 300 runners finished within the three hour and thirty minute cutoff for this 12.6-mile race boasting a whopping 3000 feet of climbing.
Starting at the Cog Railway in scenic Manitou Springs at an elevation of 6,570 feet, the race wound its way up Ruxton Avenue for about a half mile to meet with the Barr Trail for the remainder of the climb to 10,200 feet in just over six miles. Then it was a mostly downhill run back to the finish on Hydro Drive at the Barr Trail parking lot.
2016 World Mountain Running Champion Joe Gray, 33, Colorado Springs, dominated the field to best the course record set in 2010 by then 24-year-old Ryan Hafer, by 31 seconds. Gray’s time of 1:28:34 was nearly six minutes ahead of second-place finisher and newcomer to the trail and mountain scene, Ben Payne , 35, Colorado Springs. Payne finished in 1:34:23, followed by Azarya Weldemariam, 38, Colorado Springs, timed in 1:35:43.
On the women’s side, Addie Bracy, 30, Longmont, overtook Boulder-based Canadian Karley Rempel, 24, on the descent erasing a one minute deficit from the turn-around at Barr Camp. Bracy’s time 1:51:12 was well off the record time of 1:47:57 set in 2010 by then 32-year-old Brandy Erholtz, but was nonetheless a speedy time on the grueling course which has faced tremendous wear and tear over the past decade. Rempel held on for a solid second place with a time of 1:52:17, followed by 28-year-old Kristina Mascarenas, Colorado Springs, timed in 1:56:43. Mascarenas had the fastest downhill split among the women of 38:57, while Gray posted the fastest downhill of the day in 34:04.
In a unique twist, the event organizers allotted 20 percent more of the total $1650 prize purse to the women. Gray with his win and course record bonus of $300 earned a total of $650 on the day. Payne earned $250, and Weldermariam $150. Bracy’s win netted her $420, Rempel earned $300, and Mascarenas $180. Both Gray and Bracy also received Mattock pick axes for their victories. Additional prizes were distributed to the top three masters men and women, and age group winners.
The Barr Trail Mountain Race is an ATRA race member and is directed by Peter Maksimow, ATRA’s Outreach and Partnership specialist.