Running with the best: Fruita Monument grad caps ‘awesome year’ in Rim Rock win

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Dustin Simoens of Gunnison takes an early lead Saturday in the Rim Rock Marathon as he trots along the edge of Columbus Canyon near Cold Shivers Point. The 22-year-old Fruita native won the men’s division of the race with a time of 2:44:28, one minute and 26 seconds shy of the race record.

Dustin Simoens looked around for the person to beat.

Turns out, it was him.

The 22-year-old, who grew up in Grand Junction, crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 44 minutes, 28 seconds Saturday to win his first full-length marathon on Colorado National Monument.

“I was hoping to place in the top five,” Simoens said. “I guess I did that.

“I wanted to run around three hours. I knew there were three other guys that put in three hours. I ran a lot faster than I was expecting. I never really looked at my watch. I went and thought whatever I finish, I finish.”

The Western State College student and 2006 Fruita Monument High School graduate ran the Rim Rock Run a few times and would frequently train on the Fruita side of the monument, but after transferring to Western State, he’d run mostly on dirt trails.

“I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve run on pavement last year,” Simoens said. “It’s a lot of pounding, but it didn’t seem like it beat me up too bad. Last time I ran this it seemed like I was hurt a lot more. Maybe I’m in better shape now.”

Jeff Dykstra, representing the Daddies Gone Wild 3-person relay team, was the second runner to cross the finish line to win the first-ever relay event. His team finished in 2:45:26.

Keri Nelson, 29, won the women’s overall title again with a Rim Rock Marathon women’s record of 3:09:24. She won the inaugural Rim Rock Marathon in 3:10:52 last year.

“It was kind of surprising,” she said. “I didn’t feel as good as last year. It took me a while to warm up.

“When I got to mile 13 I thought about calling my mom to come get me.”

Nelson has won the Rim Rock event five consecutive years, including the last three Rim Rock Runs.

“It’s one of those things you look forward to doing,” she said. “If you win it, it’s even more special. If you’re going to do a marathon, you might as well do this one. It’s great scenery.”

It was Nelson’s third marathon win of the year. She won the Pikes Peak Marathon and the Kendall Mountain Marathon.

Max Scoville, 21, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and his brother, Jonathan Scoville, 23, came in second and third in the men’s overall division. Max finished in 3:10:16, Jonathan in 3:13:37.

“I let him win,” Jonathan said. “The last few miles my legs were hurting. I told him to go.

“This was the hardest one I’ve ever done. You climb so much and you drop so much (in elevation).”

It was Jonathan’s 17th marathon in 10 states, but the first one the brothers have done together in six years.

“We’ve been wanting to run a marathon together since I got back from my (LDS church) mission (in July),” Max said.

About 10 minutes later, the first master’s division (age 40-older) runner crossed the finish line.

Mike Barton, 42, of Olathe won the men’s master’s division title in 3:25:01.

“I ran 10 minutes faster than I thought,” he said. “I’m grateful to still be running.”

Kathaleen Recker, 41, of Grand Junction won the women’s master’s division in 3:27:23.

It was the first marathon in the master’s division for both and Recker’s first marathon since 2002. She gave birth to two girls since then.

“A lot has changed for me,” she said. “This was about gratitude for a beautiful day.”

Although the runners enjoyed the warm, sunny fall day, Simoens was hoping for snow.

“I’ve been running up at 12,000 feet in ankle-deep snow, so this is warm for me,” Simoens said. “I was actually hoping there would be a snowstorm, because I didn’t think anybody else would be used to that kind of weather. It was about perfect weather.

“This is a culmination of an awesome year. This has probably been one of the best summers training I’ve ever had.”


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