CASPER, Wyo. — 138 participants finished either the 8- or 16-mile course at the 9th annual Skunk Hollow Sneaker Chase Saturday. Participants completed either one or two course laps on the Casper Mountain Trails System.
Molly Olsen won the 16-miler for the second year in a row with a time of 2:11:23, followed by Steven Armstrong and Justin Kinner. 32 runners did the 16-mile course.
Ethan Bauer was first of 106 finishers on the 8-miler, finishing with a time of 1:03. He was followed by Amber Thielbar and Jarod McDaniel.
Top finishing times were a bit slower this year. Mike Diesburg, the race director, said that may be due to the course direction. Every year, the direction alternates. He said the clockwise direction means “punchier, steeper climbs.”
Mike Diesburg is founder of the 307 Running LLC, and is also active on the Casper Ultra and Trail Running Society. He said he’s particuarly happy with the roughly equal mix of men and women who compete in his event.
In some high-profile ultra-distance events there are as few as 15 women out of 150 competitors. The Skunk Hollow turnout this year was 56% women and 44% women: “That’s something we’re kind of proud of.”
He noted that, as race distances become longer, gender and age tend to factor less in who finishes well.
“They know their bodies better,” Diesburg said of older runners. “They know when to push it and not push it. They know how to train better.”
Women, he noted are less prone to “blast off at the start line: they ease back and they’re so consistent.”
Mike Diesburg was encouraged to hear that people who attended just to support family and friends were inspired to take up running again: “It kind of motivates them, so that’s a positive.”
Diesburg said the key to success in distance running, beyond training and nutrition, is attitude.
“If you have a positive attitude and good mental strength, you’ll do well.”