Finally, the results from the Beartooth run were posted.
The short race saw some competition to keep the titles in state. On the women's side Lisa Minnehan (MSU-Billings track competitor) won the 4.2 mile climb in 35:22, beating Katie Pulizzano of Allentown, PA (37:33).
However, on the men's side, Allentown got the best of the Big Sky as Michael Lehtonen ran 27:54 to beat Billings Master's runner Stephen Kosnar (30:43).
But the real racing of the day came in the 8.4 mile climb up the switchbacks. This race starts at about 7,000' and climbs over 2,000 to top out at over 9,000' in elevation. It's a real bear (pun intended) or a run. I can remember actually having my ears pop during the climb and even getting a bit of an altitued headache one year.
First the women - Kristina Trygstad-Saari of Bozeman had a solid run one week after her 2nd place performance at the Wulfman as she took the win in 64:22. That gave her a 1:14 win over Boston elite field athlete Sarah Graves of Ballantine (Billings area) (65:36). The top 3 were rounded out by Bridgette Hoenke in 69:01. Bridgette is a Billings native who is a UM grad and spent her track years as an 800-meter specialist. A bit of a long race for her.
Of note, in 6th place was Renee Coppock. A number of years ago, Renee was hit by a car during a training run in Billings and suffered some servere knee and leg damage. A former 37:00 10K runner, Renee' turned to the bike as her primary fitness tool. Over the last couple of years she has worked her way back to being able to run and race a bit; and, has become a bit of a stud at the duathlon.
The men waged an exciting battle. Only 18 seconds separated the top 3 athletes in what may be the closest men's finish in many, many years. Billings Senior and Saint Johns (Minnesota) alum Zach Hunter is home for the summer and took the win in a solid 58:14. That gave him only 10 seconds over Martin Stensing of Powell, WY (58:24) who was just 8 seconds ahead of Bozeman's Dewey Peacock (58:32). It must have been a quad burner over the last mile as the three of them pushed up the final grade to the finish. And, one of the things about the Beartooth is that the finish is blind until the last 200 meters or so. So, you really need to push and can't sit and kick once you see the finish.
Also under the hour mark was Leif Zimmerman (Bozeman and an Olympic XC skier who got his start at the Brider Nordic Foundation) in 59:35.
1st Master was Craig Kenworthy (5th overall) in 62:59, with Mark Slater in 65:36 (7th overall).
Right behind Slater was the Buzzard's old pal Sam Hartpence (now of Lander, WY) who made it up the hill in 67:56
One of the newer twists of this event is the addition of a hill climb/time trial for bikers held the day after the running race (called the Beartooth Burn). Some of the top runners who also did the Burn include Martin Stensing (2nd in run, 1st in bike), Sarah Graves (2nd in run, 2nd in Bike) and Renee' Coppock (6th in run, 3rd in bike).
Also on the bike was a member of the Church of the Blue Dome's Sunday Morning Run Club Jarred Rensvold. Jarred has taken to the bike as his running has been curtailed by compartment sydrome in his calves. He was 4th on the bike and swears he saw Eddy Mercx riding alongside him as they passed 9,000'.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails.
The Muddy Buzzard.