Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Close to 200 people showed up at Teens Inc. bright and early Saturday morning, about one fourth of them were local runners. This year the event is part of the half-marathon series which includes Estes Park and Idaho Springs and big prizes to those who enter at least two of the races and win those races.
Of course, those numbers don’t include the myriad dogs and stroller kids that accompanied the runners. The farthest away runner came from Chicago. The youngest runner was 9, the oldest 84.
This year’s champions were Evan Feick, 30, of Centennial who finished with a time of 1:40.54 and Fanny Toorenburg, 42 of Nederland with a time of 1:45.14.
Flick says it was his first time running the Ned-Ned. “It was an amazing course, a very tough trail, especially the last two miles. I have to say the best part of the race was the finish.”
The half-marathoners left at 8 a.m., which was fortuitous on Saturday as the temperature rose by tens of degrees by late morning.
Toorenburg won this race last year and says the first part was perfect but definitely became hot on the way down.
“The trails on Magnolia Road were hard, kind of sandy.” She was charged by her three children who wanted to get a close-up look at her medal.
Third man, fourth place runner David Wheeler buzzed his way through the finish. Known as the Bee Man, he shows up every year in yellow and black tights and bobbly antennae on top of his head. “It was beautiful,” he said, “Stunning. Every here and there, the West Magnolia aspens were turning gold.”
First place 5K runner Michael Genauer, 32, from Lafayette said he ran the 5K last year but took it easy because his baby was only five months old. This year, the 16-month child was prepared for the bouncy, invigorating ride so Dad could turn on the speed.
The first Nederland 5K runner was Laurie Castleberry of Black Hawk. The first Nederland 10K runner, also in first place, was Scott Cross who ran the course in 42:49 minutes. The first Nederland half-marathoner was Fanny Toorenburg.
NFPD firefighter Iain Irwin-Powell, 40, ran the half marathon in 2:24.10 and Tracy Brewer of Nederland was right behind him with a time of 2:24.16 for 39 and 40th place.
Anthony Adler and his mom Lisa were dressed as cops and robbers. Anthony, 13, was the robber and he got away, outdistancing his mom by 10 places or seven minutes.
A huge crew of volunteers made sure everything went well, including giving every participant a medal as a souvenir. Free massages were given to the runners, and burritos and bagels gave everyone that early morning boost to get jump-started. There were several first aid and water stations on the course, but according to Nederland Fire Protection District chief Rick Dirr, all went well and everyone made it to the finish safely. Some people were no doubt hurting on Sunday, but they’ll get over it in time to run again.
Race administrator Susan Churches was pleased with the outcome, saying every year, the race gains in numbers, taking baby steps to return to its glory days. One young girl said it was the best race she had ever done.
It was also her first race.
(Originally published in the September 14, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)