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Robby Young, Amanda Occhi win 2nd annual Hellacious Trail Challenge at Palmer Park

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2011 Hellacious Trail Challenge Gallery 1
2011 Hellacious Trail Challenge Gallery 2

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Robby Young talks about winning 2011 Hellacious Trail Challenge
Amanda Occhi at 2011 Hellacious Trail Challenge
Start of the Hellacious Trail Challenge
Front Runners in the Hellacious Trail Challenge

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By Travis Duncan

The sun was shining brightly this morning as 146 runners showed up on a beautiful Sunday to tackle Boulder Running Company’s second annual Hellacious Trail Challenge in Palmer Park.

Robby Young, 20, finished the approximately 9-mile course first in a blazing time of 1:01, especially considering the rugged terrain. He crossed the finish line near Maizeland and Academy with fresh blood on his hand and knee, the result of a spill around the six-mile mark.

“I felt awesome for about six miles and then, I’m not used to racing over the technical stuff. And so I started getting beat up by it and my feet started getting heavy ... and I managed to hook one pretty good there,” he said, pointing to his wounds.

Young took the lead early and never relinquished it.

“They let me have it early,” he said. “They were right on me up the first major hill, and then (during) the descent. After that I got a gap, and so that was it.”

Bill Fauselow, 44, finished second overall, coming in three minutes behind Young with a time of 1:04. He said he was still getting over a back injury he sustained in January and had to hop on his bike to do some cycling immediately afterward, the one activity that’s been giving him some relief.

“It’s the first time I’ve raced since last September,” he said. “In February, March and April, all I did was ride. That maintained my fitness.”

Fauselow also said the course lived up to its “hellacious” moniker.

“Some of the descents were really, really crazy, and not only were they crazy, but you’d be dropping down and all of a sudden there’d be an arrow going the other way,” he said. “I sprained my ankle a tiny bit, but nothing too bad. I saw the leader had some blood.”

Johnathan Kenck came in third with a time of 1:05.

Thirty-year-old Amanda Occhi was the first women’s finisher with a time of 1:12.

“It was a tough course,” she said. “I felt pretty good, but the climbs are really long and by the end they got exponentially harder. I started out real conservatively and then I just picked people off, probably through halfway, and then it was just a group of us that stuck together,” she said.

Occhi said she was familiar with Palmer Park but had never run this course before.

“I wore lighter shoes, so I noticed when I tried to cut, I was slipping a little bit more. There’s a lot of weird footing stuff. It was definitely good to be familiar with Palmer Park.”

Shannon Meredith, 40, was the second women’s finisher with a time of 1:19. Meredith said she was working on transitioning into trail running and has her sights on the Devil Mountain 50-Mile Ultra Trail Race in Pagosa Springs in October. “There were some really rocky sections where I even had to stop and climb with my hands,” she said. “And you’re always paying attention to your feet because of rocks and roots.”

Cody Hill, Race Director and owner of Boulder Running Company along with his wife Lori, said he was glad there had been no major injuries.

“We had a few scrapes and bruises, but that’s why we call it hellacious,” he said.  “And we had 150 racers registered and 146 racers showed up, so it was a great turnout.”

Near the finish line, runners refueled with water, Gatorade, and post-race massages. Ed and Emma Baca, along with their son, David, came out as a family to support the runners. All three of them run together at the Jack Quinn’s Running Club on Tuesday evenings in downtown Colorado Springs.

“It’s nice to give back,” David said. “You meet so many people running.”

“This is a great race right in the middle of the city; you can’t beat it,” Emma said.

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Good story, Travis!

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