• RunColo's 2012 Runners of the Year

    We've already highlighted Colorado's Top 12 Performances for 2012, but which runners really performed at a high-level all year long, and deserve to be RunColo's Runner of the Year? Lots of names come to mind - Tyler Scholl at the pre-teen level, Paul Roberts among high schoolers, Jake Hursyz for his impressive year at CU, Kenyon Neuman and Robert Cheseret for their succes in Colorado, and Fernando Cabada for his Olympic trials marathon and recent wins. Or Sage Canaday for his ultra and trail success. There are plenty of candidates on the women's side too - Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp both made the Olympics while competing at CU. Kim Dobson broke a long-standing Pikes Peak Ascent course record, and then Stevie Kremer won the World Mountain Running long-distance championship.

    But I've got others in mind for this year's award (of which, there of course is no actual award).



    Brad Hudson, from an outside perspective, has done an incredible job at making running fun for those in his group. He has the fast group, the cool group, and a nice mix of men and women. I've never run with them, and thought that the summer-long praises of having water brought to you on your long run were a little silly, but the excitement this group has for running, and for their group, appears unmatched by any other in Colorado. Folks from south Denver are willing to drive to Boulder to be a part of it. When new elites come to Boulder for even a short stay, they find their way into Hudson's group. It is the place to be. And he's been just as impressive on the coaching side. He has guided Fernando Cabada into form, delivered Pat Rizzo to a PR at the Olympic trials marathon, and helped make Molly Pritz one of Colorado's fastest, among so many others that have benefited from his coaching.

    For the women, I'm going to take a cop out and call it a tie. Brianne Nelson and Alisha Williams have both had incredible years - Nelson moreso locally, and Williams moreso nationally.

    Nelson has won nearly every race in Colorado that she's entered. She broke the Colfax Half Marathon course record, won the Boulder Half Marathon, won the Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day Race, won the Race for Fetal Hope, and a ton of others ranging from 5k to half marathon. She's been in the top-10 at a few lesser U.S. championships - 10k road comes to mind, and then had a very impressive second-place U.S. club cross finish. But what's most impressive is that it's all way faster than what she was running a year ago, when she barely scooted into the Olympic trials. For instance, her Heart & Sole half marathon time was 5 minutes and 33 seconds faster in 2012 than in 2011.

    And while Williams hasn't raced as much as Nelson locally, she has raced faster. Winning CIM a few weeks ago was a big deal. She ran in both the 5k and 10k at the Olympic trials, and of course the marathon. She won the Heart & Sole half marathon (beating Nelson), won the USATF Colorado 10-mile championships, was sixth at the U.S. 15k championships, and fifth at the 1-mile championships. Impressive across the board.
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. Lets Run Support Group's Avatar
      Lets Run Support Group -
      no heather utrata? for her 21 races, 16 wins, and 8 course records in 2012.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      If coaches can win Runner of the Year, Mark Wetmore would've been a better choice.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I think we are talking elites, not some local road racer who already gets too much attention for her level of talent.

      Wendy Thomas finished higher than Rizzo at Oly Trials (for comparison) and also ran the track trials. I'd consider that a good year tooo.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I would throw Laura Thweat in that list too!
    1. LetsRunColo's Avatar
      LetsRunColo -
      So there's no real, objective, informed criteria for a basis for this, it's really about what looks cool, incredible, fun, impressive, exciting, whatever to the far outside peanut gallery perspective.
    1. LetsBeSoreLoser's Avatar
      LetsBeSoreLoser -
      Sounds like someone is a sore loser.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Multiple top 5 finishes at US championship events, 5th at US Olympic trials 10k, plus a win at cal international (not to mention a 2:35 DEBUT at the Olympic trials marathon)... Sorry but no other female in Colorado compares to Alisha Williams... Not even close.
    1. LetsRunColo's Avatar
      LetsRunColo -
      Quote Originally Posted by LetsBeSoreLoser View Post
      Sounds like someone is a sore loser.
      Looks like you're just a loser, period.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lets Run Support Group View Post
      no heather utrata? for her 21 races, 16 wins, and 8 course records in 2012.
      I agree. I ran in 20 races this year in which Heather seemed to have won. Way to go Heather for a stellar year and wish you much success in 2013! I am sure RunnersRoost Race Team is very excited to have had you on their team.
    1. Deek's Moustache's Avatar
      Deek's Moustache -
      Face the facts. Heather Utrata fattened her win record at a soft point in the year, winning when any of the truly good women around here were either preparing for, racing, and recovering from the OT marathon and those CRs came at not exactly noteworthy races. If she were being honest, she'd hopefully recognize that there was an obvious reason for the lack of competition at many of the races she won. She failed to qualify so that's why she was the only one near that level around here at those races. While you have to be pretty darn good to do any of what she did do, she's far from great or the best. Just so you don't go stupidly thinking I'm one of the haters, this is just a reflection of the full view of reality and I honestly hope she goes to a worthy course next fall and bangs out an OT qualification.
    1. Django's Avatar
      Django -
      Heather did win the Colorado Runner Race Series though, by 330 points.

      First Name Last Name Age City State Points Races
      Heather Utrata 30 Englewood CO 550 6
      Kara Ford 33 Broomfield CO 220 3
      Sarah Rebick 37 Boulder CO 170 3
      ELIZABETH Watkins 29 COLORADO SPRINGS CO 150 2
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      AND she was named Colorado runner of the year by Colorado Runner
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Big whoop. I would be more impressed if she placed in the top 10 of a US Championship or was on a World Cross team. As mentioned earlier, she inflated her wins with small local races were the competition was hardly none and course records were slow.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      AND she was named Colorado runner of the year by Colorado Runner
      You get that title when you win the Colorado Runner Race Series, a bunch of races that the elite runners mostly skip.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      You had to run a minimum of 6 races to win the Colorado Runner race series, Heather ran the minimum. Kara Ford who came in second only ran three races.

      No one cares about that race series, well Utrata does, probably so she can get more press coverage.
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