Print subscribers please click here to create your digital access account
GEORGETOWN — Maybe Charles Hillig Jr. could’ve made things a little easier on himself, but there was a method to his madness. The 24-year-old Denver resident and University of Northern …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
GEORGETOWN — Maybe Charles Hillig Jr. could’ve made things a little easier on himself, but there was a method to his madness.
The 24-year-old Denver resident and University of Northern Colorado graduate was on a mission to qualify for the Chicago Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 10. Now the Chicago Marathon is an open event, but there is a start corral for seeded runners who qualify. For Chicago, that qualifying time is 1 hour, 10 minutes, 59 seconds.
On June 26, Hillig shattered that mark.
His run of 1:07:02, in his first half-marathon, was far and away the top time at the annual Slacker Half-Marathon that started at the Loveland Ski Area, some 10,630 feet above sea level, and wrapped up in downtown Georgetown, sitting at a mere 8,400 above — a dip of 2,230 feet.
“Definitely more than enough cushion there,” Hillig said of his marathon-qualifying time. Lucas Crespin of Littleton came in second, a full four minutes back of Hillig.
Not even the blisters on his feet could hide his enthusiasm. But the arduous run, as scenic as it can be, can also wreak havoc on one’s quad muscles. Luckily for Hillig, he said he never felt that. But he certainly got caught up in the surroundings.
“It’s a little hard to stay focus. I caught myself wandering,” Hillig said. “I had to get back in the race. It’s a race, not a training run.”
Steve Kremer, a 26-year-old Colorado College alum from Crested Butte, was the top female finisher. She ran a time of 1:19:52, beating out Rachel Viele of Vail by 24 seconds for half-marathon honors.
“This is my first time running the race. I had no idea what to expect,” Kremer said. “I normally don’t do downhill races. I prefer the uphill. But it was a great race, great scenery.”
Before the half-marathoners crossed the finish line on 6th St., the 4-mile runners did, led by Littleton’s Michael Quispe. The 43-year-old, who finished 19th overall and fifth in his age group at the Mt. Evans Ascent one week earlier, had ran in the half-marathon the past two years. This year, however, a nagging calf injury in his left leg made him decide, as he said, to play it smart and run just the four-miler. It turned out to be a wise move, as he was the first runner across the finish line in 23:39.
“It wasn’t too bad. It really started to get hot probably after the first mile. That was tough. Thankfully it was downhill,” Quispe said.
That was until the end when the course saw a couple of switchbacks. It’s there that Quispe caught a glimpse of his nearest competition — 15-year-old Corbin Lehn. The Shelton (Neb.) High School sophomore, who competed at the Nebraska state cross country championships last fall, was in the area visiting family and attending a Latin American Heritage Camp. He found out about the race online and entered.
“I was a little surprised that I finished this high up. I ran pretty good I thought. I ran a lot better time than I thought I would,” said Lehn, who finished in 24:29.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.