Scenic scamper

Runners enjoy beauty on Widomaker Trail Run

Runners make their way downhill Saturday during the Widowmaker Trail Run near Little Park Road. Robb Reece won the 10K race in 49 minutes, 26 seconds. Marty Wacker won the 9-mile race in 1:03:09.

It’s called Andy’s Loop, a roughly two-mile stretch of mostly downhill, rocky, slippery slope. It is the first and nastiest section that greeted runners Saturday morning for the Widowmaker Trail Run.

For Elizabeth Schnittker, it served as a different sort of gathering spot.

“I ran with my girlfriends,” Schnittker said. “We don’t do that often. We spent the first few miles catching up.”

Many runners, including a friend of Schnittker’s, fell down on the slope, returning from the 10-kilometer and 9-mile runs with assorted wounds. But it was the array of red-rock scenery, and occasional backdrop of Grand Mesa and the Book Cliffs, that had runners saying the race off Little Park Road is one of the finest around.

Schnittker, 43, was the first women to cross the line in the 10K, her time of 1 hour, 16 minutes and 43 seconds putting her 13th overall.

Which meant eventually the girlfriends would have to catch up another time, while many in the field tried to catch up to Schnittker.

“I know that doesn’t sound like die-hard racing,” Schnittker said, laughing. “But I didn’t fall, and that’s always my goal.”

Robb Reece avoided falling as well. The 47-year-old from Grand Junction crossed the finish line first in the 10K race in 49 minutes and 26 seconds.

Marty Wacker won the 9-mile race in 1:03:09.

The race included runners from a spectrum of racing backgrounds. There’s Reece, who said he has raced in Africa and Europe, to Kevin Bray, a 32-year-old Grand Junction resident who was running his first race since track and field at Holy Family Elementary.

Bray finished 10th in the 10K with a time of 1:09:55.

And his favorite part about the race had nothing to do with running. About two-thirds of the way through the race, the lyrics came through his ears buds: The night seems to fade, but the moonlight lingers on ...

CB40’s Kingston Town came on.

“It was pretty awesome,” Bray said.

What wasn’t so awesome was that the race’s mileage proved his practice sessions weren’t as demanding as he’d thought.

“I run a couple times a week and this race showed me how far six miles really is,” Bray said.

Reece, the 10K winner, puts local races such as the Widowmaker in company with some of the best he’s run in the world.

“This is still home base for me and I haven’t found any place that beats it in the world to train,” Reece said. “More and more people are moving here for recreational reasons.”

And runners took to the Widowmaker for a minimum donation of $2.

“Most races are charging a minimum of $100 and up for an entry fee,” Reece said. “And this local race is still just as fun. This is one of the best in the world — and I’m not exaggerating that.”


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