Alex Nichols, 28, of Colorado Springs, had hoped to run fast at the Greenland Trail 50K on Saturday, but he never expected to crush the race record. His main competition (and good friend) Pete Maksimow - the record-holder who had won the race in each of the last three years - had charged out to an early lead and didn't seem to be slowing down as the two began the final of four laps. "That first lap, Peter just kind of took off on me," Nichols said. "I wasn't feeling very hot that first lap, so I just let him go."
But in the final miles, Nichols had the wheels while Maksimow began to fade.
"As the race progressed I felt better and better," Nichols said. "I got some more gel in me, some more fluids, and that made a big difference. I was very surprised at myself."
Maksimow had the record in mind as he burned through the first 24 miles of the gravel course that rolls across former cow pasture at about 7,000 feet altitude.
"I was going for it, which is what you have to do if you want the record," Maksimow said. "I may have been too fast on my first two laps because that last lap I completely exploded."
Nichols kept his pace - 6:14 per mile and negative splits on each lap - and pulled away to win in 3:13:37.
Maksimow, who is running strong after a frustrating two-year bout with injuries, did finish better than his old course standard, crossing in 3:20:01.