Kremer and Lund-Lizotte take first and second at the 36th Golden Leaf Half Marathon
Mild temperatures, a bluebird day and autumn leaves at their golden peak greeted the 1,000 runners gathered at the base of Snowmass for the start of the 36th Golden Leaf Half Marathon on September 27. But the bucolic morning glow quickly dissipated as runners began the dusty, grind of a climb to the first aid station, almost 1,000 vertical feet and 1.6 miles away, where the course tops out at approximately 9,465 feet. In spite of the hefty initial climb, the predominately single-track course has a net elevation loss as it snakes from Snowmass to Aspen, making speedy times possible for those who successfully navigate the rocky, rooted and leaf-strewn trail. Like Stevie Kremer of Crested Butte, Colo., who secured her fourth Golden Leaf win in 1:38:28.
“The whole day and race was beautiful—I loved the leaves covering the trail and the fall smells,” said Kremer who, in addition to running the Golden Leaf five times, regularly runs and wins challenging mountain races all around the world, including being named the 2013 World SkyRunning World Champion.
U.S. Mountain Running Team member Megan Lund-Lizotte of La Jolla, Calif. returned to her childhood home, fresh off of winning team bronze at the World Mountain Running Championships in Italy, to run her very first Golden Leaf Half Marathon. She came in second with a time of 1:45:23. Even though it was Lund-Lizotte’s first timing running the race, she’s spent plenty of time cheering from the sidelines for her dad, Ron Lund, the only person to run in all 36 Golden Leaf Half Marathons. Fall weather in the Rockies is notoriously fickle, meaning Lund has run through picture perfect days like this year, summer temperatures and verdant green leaves, rain and snow.
It seems the roller-coaster fun course through aspen and pine forests and across meadows with a downtown Aspen finish keeps runners coming back in any weather.
“My dad was at the finish line, so having him there made the weekend even better,” Kremer said. “From start to finish, the racers, volunteers and supporters were incredible. It’s just the best race in the world!”
For full results, go to goldenleafrace.com.