|Follow these links for the Results of Previous Coal Creek Cross Country Challenge Races|
-- Photo by Doug Grinbergs
2008 Coal Creek Cross Country Challenge
by Bruce Kirschner
Picture perfect fall weather returned for the tenth annual Coal Creek X-C Challenge on October 19. Unlike the relentless rain the previous year, the skies were clear blue with a gentle breeze and temperatures in the low 60s. There were probably some who missed the mud and wet conditions from 2007, but everyone seemed to appreciate the optimal running conditions this year.
The event had about 150 participants this year, the largest Challenge ever and the biggest CMRA race in memory. Incomparable weather and being the third event in the Fall Cross race series may have contributed to the great turnout. The $500 in prize money from Fleet Feet of Boulder for the top 3 overall, top 2 Masters (40-49) and top 2 Grand Masters (50 and over) male and female finishers may have contributed to the event being the most competitive ever (it will also be included in the 2009 Colorado Runner magazine race series).
Boulder's Robert Mandje, a former track Olympian, was the first male finisher in 32:04. According to 26 year old Mandje, "I hadn't run this event before, so everything was brand new and I didn't know what to expect. Before the race started I overheard someone say something about a creek crossing. I wasn't worried, but just wanted to be in control, stay with leaders, and finish well. I decided to grab the lead [from Tommy Manning of Colorado Springs] just before the turnaround. I had a good lead when we crossed the creek, where things got more interesting. Since I'm a steeplechaser I decided to just hurtle the barbed wire fence, but I snagged my shorts. I then decided to slow down and let Tommy catch up to me because I wasn't quite sure where I was heading and thought he might know. We ran shoulder-to-shoulder for a while and once we got out of the field and back to the trail I knew the rest of the way back. I didn't know who [Tommy] was and whether he could kick well. Although I was pretty tired, I luckily had enough to finish well. But seeing that it was a cross country race, I was more concerned with simply having fun and finishing first." Thirty-two year old Manning finished close behind Mandje in 32:21. James Johnson finished third in 32:32.
Mandje went on to say, "I really didn't know about the creek crossing, the fence, the prairie dog holes, the steep hill and the ditch, so this made it a great challenge and fatiguing for me. After the race I talked to some of my overseas training mates and told them that I had just run a classic European and New Zealand style cross country race. It was really outstanding - true cross country, not a groomed golf course, where you don't worry about time or distance. It's all about whoever finishes first and not like the track, where it's time, time, time! Next year I'll know what to expect."
Born in Barcelona to diplomatic parents, he moved to Boulder in 2004 and currently lives with former New Zealand Olympic marathoner Lorraine Moller and her husband, who help him with his training. Mandje ran the 1,500 meter event at the Athens Olympics in 2004 for Equatorial Guinea (his mother's homeland) and still competes for them internationally. He hopes to land a spot this spring on their World Cross Country Team.
La Sportiva Mountain Running Team member Lisa Goldsmith was top woman finisher in 38:26. A massage therapist in Nederland, she's been a competitive athlete since 4th grade soccer. For the race, Goldsmith reported "On the first hill...I felt my internal drive to work the hill and before I knew it I was alone in front. So now I was time trialing to stay away [from the other women leaders]... At the turn around...I wasn't THAT far ahead and sure enough it was my 3 masters friends lined up behind me! [My body was at its limit], so I just focused on holding the effort and...would simply throw in some surges and then relax. I pushed that last uphill with the [haybales] and to the turn before the downhill, knowing I could relax again on the way down. I looked back before the last tunnel, couldn't see Lesia [Atkinson], and knew I just had to hold my pace and I'd be fine!
Lisa continued, "I REALLY enjoyed the course! I have never run on the Coal Creek Trail and it is sooo nice. I was glad we got a little variety with the water crossing, field traverse and the barbed wire negotiation. Of course, I always like some good steep hills too!" Lesia Atkinson was second overall woman in 38:57. Christy Jordan finished third in 39:26.
A big thanks to all the volunteers who made this event possible. Rob and Nancy Fisher, Scott McFarlane, and Kim Massey did a fine job with the hordes at registration. Jim Price lent his expert and reliable hand with finish line timing. Mike Vanoni, Rob Fisher, Dave Swanson, Kim Massey and Ken Simons deftly managed the finish line and scoring duties. Cameron Menezes volunteered to provide timing splits at the 1 mile point, help with the finish line chutes, awards, and cleanup. CMRA Joe Sanchez was there plenty early with all the equipment. Chris Vanoni handled all the post-race refreshments. Connie Ahrnsbrak dutifully transcribed full race results. Other volunteers along the course were Rob Cassady (pace bike), Mark Bailey (ditch marshal), Randy Luallin (Empire Road crossing), Lori Dill (creek crossing), and Pete Wolfe (fence crossing). Donna Luallin managed the water stop at the turnaround point.
Also a hearty thanks to our commercial race sponsors and prize drawing donors: Jay Johnson of Fleet Feet of Boulder for $500 in prize money; Doug Christie at Boulder Beer for providing two cases of Buffalo Gold for participants and donating a case of beer each for the top male and female finishers; Garrett McCarthy of the Old Louisville Inn for 100 half pint coupons; Roger Rettig and Broomfield's Colorado Physical Therapy Institute for 5 free AquaMassages; Barry Sparks and the Arvada Great Harvest Bakery for all the baked goods; the Blue Parrot Restaurant for a $25 gift certificate; and Derek Griffiths and Colorado Runner for four 1-year subscriptions to their fine magazine.For Race photos see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/18767293@N00/sets/72157608175244588/
|COAL CREEK XC CHALLENGE|
|101||Spiderman (Scott McFarlane)||00:50:31||57|
|113||Tall Red (Ed Youngberg)||00:53:03||65|
|Coal Creek X Country Challenge|
|Oct. 19, 2008|
|AGE Group Awards|
|1||Rob Mandje||00:32:04||Lisa Goldsmith||00:38:26|
|75 and Over|
|1||Joe Sanchez||00:50:17||Judy Smythe||00:57:52|
|1||Tom Lemire||00:42:59||Fay diZerega||01:11:49|
|4||Tall Red (Ed Youngberg)||00:53:03|
|1||Bob Cooper||00:41:26||Taunya Wilson||00:54:53|
|2||Jeff Dumas||00:46:42||Mallory Norway||01:01:35|
|1||Doug Bell||00:36:10||Tina Albert||00:46:40|
|2||Mike Ruhe||00:42:12||Ellen Rickert||00:50:18|
|3||Jeff Underwood||00:49:01||Pat Tolleson||00:57:21|
|4||Spiderman (Scott McFarlane)||00:50:31||Kathy Klesmit||00:57:38|
|5||David Rose||00:53:00||Lorraine Green||01:01:05|
|1||Steve Gallegos||00:34:08||Colette Kinnard||01:06:14|
|2||Rich Sandoval||00:41:15||Betsy Kalber||01:23:31|
|1||Andy Ames||00:32:39||Kristy Jordan||00:39:26|
|2||Keith Johnson||00:34:23||Beth Sheppard||01:00:02|
|3||Daniel Greer||00:36:35||Barb Stiehl||01:02:43|
|4||Adam Feerst||00:36:49||Kelly Chilvers||01:05:41|
|1||James Johnson||00:32:32||Lesia Atkinson||00:38:57|
|2||Peter Hegelbach||00:35:02||Susan Krakoff||00:39:46|
|3||Eric Patterson||00:40:19||Sara Pickering||00:42:05|
|4||Jeff Moline||00:40:39||Michelle Berige||00:45:20|
|5||David Hanburger||00:43:10||Nichole Boudreaux||00:48:46|
|1||Matt Davies||00:34:42||Stacie Bell||00:40:05|
|2||Erik Weaver||00:37:16||Kristin Ryder||00:47:12|
|3||Kevin Krizek||00:37:59||Julie Franklin||00:48:47|
|4||James Choathon||00:40:57||Jennifer Stone||00:51:04|
|5||Philip diZerega||00:42:34||Holy Dahm||00:52:58|
|34 and Under|
|1||Tommy Manning||00:32:21||Cristy Totten||00:39:27|
|2||Matthew Russell||00:32:52||Chelsea Strautman||00:43:55|
|3||John Tribbis||00:33:03||Heather Enos||00:44:06|
|4||Jim Robbins||00:33:06||Jitka O'Farrell||00:44:54|
|5||Mike Selig||00:33:31||Erin Chernack||00:45:03|