When Seth Garbett looked up the hill heading into the second mile of Saturday’s Thirsty 13 Half Marathon, he saw a bright orange dot that picked up the pace and he lost sight of it for the remainder of the race. The orange dot was Ian Huang, who ran in his signature orange t-shirt.
“The course is really beautiful, and it was a great design with lots of downhill and uphills, and I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was awesome,” Garbett said. “I went out slow and got going on the downhills and ran way better than expected. I think I saw (Huang) at the beginning with a little orange dot going up the hill, but other than that, I never saw him.”
Huang, who has not lost a local running race in two years, dominated the competition to win his second consecutive Thirsty 13 and won in 1 hour, 14 minutes, 49.53 seconds. Garbett, who lives in Denver, took second in 1:19.12, while Victor Ruggiero was third in the men’s race in 1:21.51. Huang shattered his time from last year of 1:15.35 in part because of a new strategy.
“I just hammered the downhills today and went pretty easy going up hill,” Huang said. “Last year, I tried to be consistent, but this year, I really wanted to be fast on the downhills and since this course is a lot of downhills, and it worked out perfectly.”
Megan Longinotti won the women’s race in 1:25.06, while Heather Hoechst of Farmington was second in 1:27.49. During the Steamworks Half Marathon in June, Longinotti took second to Maggie Yount, another local favorite. Yount opted to compete at the Continental Divide Trail Run in Steamboat Springs instead. On Saturday, Longinotti got off to a quick start and never looked back.
“This course is a faster course. I’ve had a little bit more training under my belt since Steamworks, but I have three kids, and so pushing the stroller really helped with my endurance going up hill, honestly,” Longinotti said. “The hardest part for me is when you come into (Bodo Industrial Park). There are a couple of big hills in the middle from miles six to nine, but I was feeling pretty fresh at that point. Once you get into Bodo, and the heat is on your back, it’s the little climbs on this last stretch that is the hardest part. After you get down and are pounding the pavement for three or four miles, and then you get some flats and then have to climb, your legs are beat. I was pleased with my finish and am glad I got the win.”
Longinotti will be competing in her sixth marathon in November when she will run the New York City Marathon.
The race was sold out with 700 runners who competed.
Race director Matthew Krichman said it was another great day for racing, and he was very pleased with the results and the weather.
“It was a great day for racing and the turnout is another sign of how strong our running community is in Durango, and it shows how much people love this race,” Krichman said. “You can’t beat the combination of a beautiful half marathon with an awesome brew fest at the post-race party. We like it at 700 because it feels like a big deal, and it’s small enough where you see your friends, and people are social out on the race course. They’re supporting each other all throughout the race. People are out here to celebrate their fitness and really accomplish something. One of the things that I’m most proud of with this race is that for 20 to 25% of people, it’s their first half marathon. They chose this race to do it, and it says a lot about the kind of event that we put on.”