By Mike Maltais
Another sellout roster of 424 runners signed up for the scenic Cutthroat Classic trail run last Saturday (Aug. 24), including 25 who wore local colors in the 11.1-mile high country event.
The top 10 finishers included two valley names: Eric Bard of Twisp and Winthrop’s Sam Naney. Bard finished fifth overall in 1:19:45 and first among 68 runners in the 40-49 age group. Naney was less than 30 seconds behind with a time of 1:20:13, good for sixth place overall and fourth among men 20-29.
The overall winner with a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 52 seconds was Nick Welch of Seattle.
Nearly 100 entrants failed to show by the time the starting gun fired at 8 a.m. in the North Cascades, leaving 328 runners to navigate the rough and rocky course from Rainy Pass to the Cutthroat Creek Trailhead.
Mazama’s Mason Gionet came in 14th overall in 1:28:05 and was second in the 19 and under age category. Taylor Woodruff, Winthrop, finished seventh among the under-19 crowd and his time of 1:37:10 put him 37th overall.
Mccabe Aspholm of Winthrop was the first female under age 19 to complete the course and was 28th overall in 1:34:32.
Laura Larson of Mazama and Winthrop’s Michael Brady finished seconds apart in 50th and 51st place respectively overall. Larson’s time of 1:39:49 put her second among 20-29-year-olds and Brady’s 1:39:58 sewed up third spot among men 50-59.
Kirk Schumacher, Winthrop, led the next three local finishers in the men’s 40-49 age group. Schumacher was 55th in 1:40:25, Winthop’s Travis Thornton was 67th in 1:42:53, and Jim Salter of Twisp was 70th in 1:44:06.
Chris Hogness of Winthrop and Danbert Nobacon of Twisp finished 101st and 102nd with respective times of 1:49:21 and 1:49:23.
Winthrop’s Danielle Micheletti, who completed her first 60k Angels Staircase two weeks earlier, was 131st overall and eighth out of 52 females in the 40-49 age group with a time of 1:54:23.
Jennifer Schumacher, Winthrop, finished 133rd in 1:54:37.
The runners were transported to the 4,800-foot-high starting point at Rainy Pass in buses supplied by the Methow Valley School District that left the Mazama Community Center at 7 a.m. One of the passengers was Tom Venable, the district’s new superintendent.
Venable completed the Cutthroat in 1:54:55 and 136th place overall.
While new to the school system, the new superintendent is no stranger to either the Cutthroat or the valley’s other trail attractions.
“Prior to being named superintendent I spent well over decade exploring the area by trail running and mountain biking,” Venable said.
“I’ve run the Cutthroat several times,” Venable said. “The first time I ran it there were some 75 folks at the trailhead. It has really grown in popularity.”
Venable said he participated in the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride earlier in July but “haven’t identified my next event” following the Cutthroat.
Winthrop’s Harold Sheley was the next local to finish behind Venable, with a time of 1:57:41, and the last to complete the Cutthroat in less than two hours.
Kathleen Manseau of Twisp clocked a time of 2:07:20 for 193rd place overall. Three minutes later Angela Pawlak, also of Twisp, crossed the line in 2:10:24 in 199th spot.
Joe Jensen, Twisp, finished 224th and sixth among men 60-69 with his time of 2:15:52.
Rounding out the local entries were Carlton’s Tyler Miller, 229th in 2:17:32, Jill Sheley, Winthrop, 242nd in 2:20:29, Tory DeSalvo, Winthrop, 288th in 2:34:06, Lynette Westendorf, Winthrop, 306th in 2:43:02, and Leesa Linck, Winthrop, 307th in 2:43:03.
Mazama’s Robert Hoekman, running in the 70-plus-age division, was the oldest competitor on the hill and the 259th finisher with a time of 2:24:21.