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First-time runners use competition as a tune-up

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Kempton, Sorensen lead a packed field

By Michael Hicks

IDAHO SPRINGS — Matthew Kempton had heard a lot about the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon, but the 28-year-old Denver resident had never run it — until Saturday.
“It seemed like a good idea. I’ve heard good things about the race,” Kempton said. “I’ve wanted to come up and do it. It seemed like a good year to come up and do it.”
It was made even better when the former Ohio Wesleyan runner won the 35th anniversary installment of the race in 1 hour, 12 minutes, 1 second. He finished 58 seconds ahead of runner-up Hector Martinez. Denver’s Lonnie Cruz took third in 1:13:26.
“It’s an awesome event. I had a lot of fun,” Kempton said.
Kempton, who has been traveling the country competing in track races in preparation for what he hopes is a run in October’s Chicago Marathon, took the lead about a half-mile in, he said, and never looked back. However, the almost-all-downhill course was a factor.
“It wears on your legs a little more than a normal race would,” Kempton said.
The race took off a little slower than Kempton had hoped. But while the race and the weather were cool in the beginning, things started to heat up as the event wore on.
Kristen Sorensen also was running in her first Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half. And, as with Kempton, the race served as a tune-up for something else. For Sorensen, it was a training run for the Rattlesnake Triathlon in Aurora this weekend.
Sorensen, 31, an obstetrics and gynecology professional at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Denver, was the first female finisher in 1:22:23. She beat out runner-up Dianne Gates by 50 seconds.
A co-worker, Kathy Reed, talked Sorensen into running the half-marathon, but it was the 13.1-mile course that captivated the former University of Texas runner.
“It’s beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. You’re running right by the river the whole time. It’s absolutely beautiful,” Sorensen said. “The sun was shining. It was perfect weather. It was awesome.”
Race director Nancy Judge said after the race that feedback for this year’s event had been favorable.
“It seems like most of the comments we’ve gotten back all seem to be positive,” she said. “It was perfect weather for the runners. I think a lot of people got their personal bests. That’s always exciting.”
A total of 3,080 runners registered for this year’s race, the most in race history, Judge said.
Proceeds from the race benefit the Clear Creek Booster Club.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.