Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. At least 150 runners pounded local paths and pavement on the Ned-Ned half marathon, 10K and 5K courses that went through town and then into the hills and woods. Last year, TEENS Inc. revived the race that called Nederland its home for 32 years. The board of directors decided to take it over after it had been canceled in 2014.
About 100 participants showed up at the teen center that Saturday morning, a year ago. Organizers hoped to recharge the Ned-Ned batteries and locals were grateful that someone had stepped up to keep the popular race going.
This year’s event attracted more people and more sponsors and was well-organized.
It began at 8 a.m. with the half-marathoners taking off from the start at the Teen Center and heading to a path near the school. Most of them were surprised at the next step, the steep climb to West Magnolia where they headed down to East Magnolia and the Boy Scout trail, and then around down Big Springs to the finish.
The first person to cross the finish was Fanny Toorenburg, 41 of Boulder, with a time of 1:45.56, she ran the fastest overall race. She said it was a beautiful race, but hard in the last uphill. Elise Waldron, 34, of Nederland was the first Nederland runner to cross the finish, coming in fourth overall and first in her age group, with a time of 1:48.38.
Nederland Fire Protection District firefighter Iain Irwin-Powell, 48, was the fourth in his age group and 12th overall. The NFPD set up an ambulance at the water stand on Magnolia Road, making sure everyone was healthy as they turned back towards town. Iain ran the half-marathon knowing he would be doing the 9/11 stair climb on Sunday. His wife Sarah, 51, won first place in the 10K in her age category, finishing with a time of 1:02.43. Celeste Long, 62 of Nederland came in first in her age category with a time of 1:35.55.
Charlie Allen, 61, of Nederland was the first in his age category coming in 19th overall and Johnnie Lefaiver, 42, of Nederland was third in her age category, coming in 30th overall.
When the halfers had all come in, the 10K runners settled in at the start, 30 of them, 10 from the Nederland area, heading up the long and winding road to Eldora.
Philip Syder, 47, of Denver, came in first overall and first in his age category. In second and third place overall, Jose Garcia Upczak, 12, and Jose Garcia, 45, crossed the finish within .03 of each other, with Jose taking first in his age category. His time was 46.10.
Ali Johnson, 47, of Ned, took second place in her age category and 10th place overall with a time of 54:45.
Nederland Community Presbyterian Church pastor Hansen Wendlandt, 38, was second in his age category, and he was pleased with his medal, but not as pleased as he was about winning the best raffle prize, two season passes to Eldora Mountain Resort. Five unlucky people were actually drawn before him, but they were not there to claim the coveted prize. So happy was Hansen, that he leaped into the air and kicked his heels, landing intact, when he went to pick up his prize.
A few minutes after the 10ke’rs disappeared around the corner, the 5Ker’s took their mark. This was the colorful, less intense group of runners, many of them wearing dragonfly wings, colorful knee socks, dogs and strollers. They streamed out in a more relaxed fashion.
The first to cross the finish was Scott Cross, 56, of Nederland who was relieved to find his way back to town. Last year, he ran the 10mile, got lost and ended up running a total of 17 miles before he meandered his way back to town. His time was 20:31. Number two overall and number one in his age group, Jonathan Baumhover, 26, of TEENS Inc. made his employers and students proud with his time of 22:49. His brother Seth, 28, came in second, saying that’s what happens when you work at a bank: your younger brother beats you in the local race.
Simon Martin, 63, of Nederland, was first in his age category and Cody Martin, 14, of Nederland took first in his category, coming in with a time of 33:39. He was followed by Ben Nichols, 12, who came in second with a time of 35:28. Jesse Martin, 8, of Rollinsville, came in 1st in his age category with a time of 42:45, followed by his mom, Michele, who had a time of 42:46.
One of the half marathoners said that before she ran the Boston marathon, she had had to put down her cat, her best friend for 14 years. His name was Ned. She ran the marathon for him. This year, she decided she wanted to run another race in honor of her cat and found the Ned-Ned on line. She knew she had to run this race. The message she had on her back read, “15th Half Marathon all for the one and only, Ned. #Ned Strong.”
When the runners finished, they gathered at the teen center where they were offered swag, breakfast burritos, Einstein bagels, Skratch drinks, fruit and great raffle prizes donated by local businesses.
The course was challenging but beautiful, according to the runners, and those who ran it for the first time said they would be back.