GV Marathon runners brave chilly, rainy day and hills in Palisade

Half-marathon runners Mack Maschmeier, left, and Jeff Hembury make their way up the steep hill outside Palisade during the Grand Valley Marathon race on Saturday. More than 200 runners were challenged by a cold, rainy morning to run either a half or full marathon, or a 5K or 10K race.

It was cold and rainy, but more than 200 runners still turned out Saturday for the Grand Valley Marathon in Palisade.

The race, which has full and half marathons and 5K and 10K races, started out in a steady rain but it soon let up and some blue skies popped out.

Grand Junction’s Eric Bennett and Sarah Tinnin of Aspen won the marathon races.

Bennett finished in 3 hours, 27 minutes, 21 seconds. Tinnin’s winning time was 3:57.17.

“The rain hit me going up that first hill and that’s the way I thought it was going to be,” Bennett said. “But it did let up, then the skies opened up a little and it was nice.”

This is Bennett’s third time running the race and it was his fastest time.

“I took nine minutes off so that’s very exciting,” he said.

With many runners starting out in rain jackets, gloves and hats, as the race wore on, participants started shedding the rain and cold-weather gear.

Fresh off the Boston Marathon a couple of weeks ago, Tinnin said she loved the course and saw a silver lining in the rainy start.

“It’s beautiful, that’s the main thing. It was rainy but it made everything look really green,” she said.

“The rain was a little tough but it wasn’t too bad. Once the rain stopped, it was actually perfect.”

The course, which started and finished in downtown Palisade, made its way along the Colorado River to the east, then back down Highway 6. Runners then turned, going up the steep hill on 38 Road before meandering through the orchard country. They then returned on the same route.

Bennett said the steep hill on 38 Road was the toughest part but the downhill portion was tougher than running uphill.

“Going down the last hill was the most difficult part,” he said.

Tinnin didn’t mind that final steep descent.

“(The course) was a little hilly but with every uphill you had a downhill,” Tinnin said. “I’ve seen tougher hills but (the steep hill) did give you something to look forward to coming back.”

The numbers for the race were down a little from last year because of the weather.


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