Training partners Layne and Richardson conquer Power of Four; Aziz leads the men

The Audi Power of Four women’s 50km podium, from left to right, Tara Richardson (second), Kristin Layne (first) and Ashley Hunter-Arnold (third) pose on Saturday July 31, 2021 in Snowmass.
Photo by Austin Colbert / The Aspen Times

Runners stormed Mount Aspen in the early hours of Saturday morning, their eyes fixed on climbing steep trails, maneuvering over tree roots or boulders and the peaks of Aspen’s four ski areas.

The Audi Power of Four trail run is a unique race because participants have to cover 50 kilometers, or a little over 30 miles. It’s a tough feat on flat terrain, but add that the race takes place on wooded trails that lead runners to the top of Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass, and the race feels overwhelming.

But the race participants proved it was possible as they all crossed the finish line on Fanny Hill early Saturday afternoon after ascending and descending over 9,000 feet. Many had cheerful expressions on their faces to see the end of the race after spending the last few hours alone, their only companion on the track beneath their feet.

Runners cross the finish line of the Audi Power of Four trail on Saturday July 31, 2021 in Snowmass.
Photo by Austin Colbert / The Aspen Times

The day before the start of the Power of Four trail race, last year’s winner, as well as the winner of last week’s 50-mile Snowmass mountain bike race, local Olympian Simi Hamilton announced that ‘he was withdrawing from the race due to a foot injury. .

“A little heartbroken not to participate in the Power of Four trail run tomorrow… It turns out that when you hammer a nail in your foot, your running abilities take a temporary hit,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram.

With Hamilton’s absence, the doors opened for a new Power of Four champion. This champion became local Snowmass Jonathan Aziz, who finished the race in 5 hours, 21 minutes and 27 seconds, just three minutes behind Hamilton compared to last year.

Aziz was quick to point out that he had never really felt good during the race but had succeeded.

Jonathan Aziz, winner of the Men’s 50 km of the Power of Four, on Saturday July 31, 2021 in Snowmass.
Photo by Austin Colbert / The Aspen Times

“It was really hard. I probably started a little too fast and was on my own for most of the race until I made contact with the 25km runners, ”said Aziz. “At the start I was afraid to miss the 25 km runners, but they actually gave me a boost when I passed them. A lot of them were super encouraging. Overall I think the race went very well.

Aziz was followed by Aspen’s Jeffrey Colt just over 20 minutes later; he finished in 5:47:40. To complete the podium, Dillon’s Austin Chirico happily crossed the finish line with his shirt covered in mud in 6:09:30.

The Audi Power of Four men’s 50 km trail run podium on Saturday July 31, 2021 at Snowmass Village.
Photo by Austin Colbert / The Aspen Times

Kristin Layne was the first woman to cross the finish line in the 50km race, taking third place overall in 6:02. Layne, who has lived in Aspen since 2006 and is a mother of two, has exceeded her own expectations in many ways.

Not only did she cross the finish line 10 minutes before predicting she would – to the slight disappointment of her husband, who missed his finish – but Layne also failed to enter the race in hoping to win.

The podium of the Audi Power of Four men’s 25 km trail race on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at Snowmass Village.
Photo by Austin Colbert / The Aspen Times

“Tiehack was tough today,” she said. “It was in the sun and it was really hard to get up after climbing so much. I didn’t expect to win because there are a lot of fast girls. I had in mind to win, but I just saw how it would go.

After Layne, there was one of the fast runners she mentioned in Tara Richardson, who finished four minutes behind Layne in 6:06:24. Richardson and Layne are actually workout partners, as Richardson lives nearby in Snowmass Village. It should come as no surprise that the duo were the first woman to finish the race.

“I train quite often with Richardson,” said Layne. “We have a lot of fun running together. We train early in the morning and sometimes again in the afternoon, covering many kilometers on the mountain trails in the area.

Ashley Hunter-Arnold of Asheville, Tennessee clinched last place on the podium in 6:18:29.

The race series also featured a 25km run, billed as Power of Two, where participants conquer both Buttermilk and Snowmass, leaving Aspen Mountain and Highlands out.

Timmy Parr of Gunnison won the men’s 25km race in 1: 49: 32.41. Jacob Dewey of Gunnison (1: 51: 05.62) and in third was Bradley Kuper-Smith of San Francisco in 2: 25: 38.47.

Lauren Warkentin of Edwards was the first woman to complete the 25km race, taking the step in 2:23:27 for third place overall. Julia Rowland of Aspen (2:27:04) and Leah Veldhuisen (2:27:25) of Snowmass completed the 25 km podium.

In the men’s 10k race, Andrew Rumph of Aspen was first in 44: 36.38. Benjamin Mackoff of Snowmass was second in 49: 24.79 and third was Andrew Reid of Nashville in 53: 06.30.

Lindsay Douglas won the women’s 10km clocking 56: 35.37, good for fifth place overall. In second place was Nicole Lapka of Evergreen (56: 39.77) and in third was Rachel Zavala of Denver (58: 30.42).

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Milton S. Rodgers

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