GEORGETOWN — Somewhere between the graveyard and the railroad tracks, Lakewood runner Lucas Crespin realized he had taken a wrong turn.
This wasn’t a mystery story, after all — this was the annual Slacker Half-Marathon, and Crespin was suddenly all alone and chugging down the tracks like a ghost train to nowhere.
“I went the wrong direction. Just after mile nine, I went under the road,” Crespin said. “They pushed me to the wrong side of the road, so I ended up adding about five minutes to my time.”
Of course, the race was still fun, he said. Crespin, 23, had to climb a fence to get back to the course, and he still managed to place fourth overall in the men’s half-marathon with a time of 1 hour, 19 minutes and 28 seconds.
“I could have been delirious at that point in the race,” Crespin said of the fateful turn that made his first running of this downhill race an eventful one.
It could have been a story worthy of Rosie Ruiz, except Crespin was clearly gassed, and second-place finisher Todd Straka of Boulder was wondering where Crespin went late in the race.
Steven Folkerts, 35, won the men’s event with a time of 1:12:51, while Vail resident Rachel Viele, 27, successfully defended her title in the women’s race with a time of 1:21:32.
Rick Denning of Evans won the men’s Slacker 4-Mile event with a time of 25 minutes, 55 seconds. Georgetown’s Brett Butson, 25, finished second with a time of 26:09.
Kaylen Slack — yes, Slack — won the women’s 4-Mile with a blistering time of 24:51. Kristin Louderback of Federal Heights finished second with a time of 27:47.
And downtown Gerogetown upheld its reputation as a picturesque finish line where the music rocked, the spectators applauded, the dogs behaved and the race volunteers handed out ice bars and water on cue.
“Fun race,” Folkerts said. “The weather was perfect. You had that canyon breeze. The course, you know, it’s rough. That downhill takes a toll on you.”
Folkerts, who moved to Colorado a year ago and lives in Fort Collins, said the half-marathon is his favorite distance. He also heard the Slacker was a great race and was happy to be right in his first visit.
“I’m starting to get used to these mountain races,” he said. “Downhill, the uphill and stuff.”
Tim Jones of Loveland was third in the men’s half-marathon with a time of 1:18:24. The top local finishes went to 12th-place Stephen Gartside (1:22:17) and 13th-place Jerry Howell (1:23:23), both from Evergreen.
The sheer beauty of the course brought Viele back to defend her title in the women’s race.
“I love this race,” she said. “It’s such a beautiful run coming down. It’s one of those runs where it’s all adrenaline coming down.”
After running nearly 12 miles downhill from Loveland Ski Resort, the course leads runners around the town before finishing near the historic downtown. If the legs weren’t jelly already, they sure feel strange running on flat ground, Viele said.
“I don’t win very often, but it’s like the most embarrassing win to have, because after going downhill, your last mile is like, barely coming,” she said.
“I think people must be like, ‘This is first place? It looks like she’s walking’.”
Kim Dobson of Fort Collins placed second in the women’s half-marathon with a time of 1:24:47, and Emilie Miller of Boulder was third in 1:28:51. The top local finish went to Evergreen’s Christy Burns, who placed 15th with a time of 1:38:53. Shannon Simmons, also of Evergreen, was 18th with a time of 1:39:57.