BALLWIN, Mo. – The 2018 Alpine Shop Trail Run Series ended with the traditional running of the Grand Staircase – and a feat never before achieved in the nine-year history of the Off-Road Racing League.
For the second consecutive week, temperatures dropped in to the 70s for the race, although the humidity from rains earlier in the week didn’t make things exactly comfortable for competitors. This week’s course featured only climb; but what a climb it was – the park’s Grand Staircase. It was no trouble at all for first-place finisher Justin Stewart (Springfield, Ill., 30) who won for the second straight week. Stewart knocked a full 10 seconds off the fastest pace per mile record in the Trail Run Series books, finishing the 3.6 mile course in a time of 20:42.5, a pace of 5:45 per mile. He was followed to the finish line by Benjamin Hudson (St. Louis, 32) with a time of 21:54.3 and Daniel Welch (Clayton, 27), who was 10 seconds behind Hudson (22:05.1)
For the overall series, Hudson took first place with a total of 54 points (two first place finishes: 15 points each, and two second place finishes: 12 points each). Welch and Jon-Paul LaVenture (Ballwin, Mo., 36) tied for second over the four races, both with 40 points each. Stewart, in only two races, was in fourth with 30 points.
On the women’s side, Jamie Maher (St. Louis, 35) grabbed her second career Trail Run Series win with a time of 27:02.1. (Maher also won race three of the 2017 series.) She beat a woman with two wins herself earlier this month, Hannah Floyd (St. Louis, 32), who finished in 27:42.9. Third place went to another familiar name in the top three from last week, Julia Grunloh (St. Louis, Mo.)
For the series, flip the top two finishers, with Floyd taking home the four-race crown with 52 points (two wins, one second place finish and one third place result). Maher ended up in second place with 35 points and Grunloh took third with 31.
For the Masters category, the 2018 Series was thoroughly dominated by two incredible athletes, Chris Martel (Webster Groves, Mo., 52) on the men’s side, and Susan Richmond (pictured below, Eureka, Mo., 57) for the women. Both of these athletes completed 2018 in the same way they went through the 2017 series – with four straight wins. For the last two years, these two runners have won the masters category in every race.
Martel and Richmond obviously both won their respective categories. The rest of the men’s side has an interesting twist, though. The top three finishers on the men’s Masters side finished in the exact same order in all three races. Eric Buckley (St. Louis, 55) who, incidentally, began competing in the Trail Run Series during the inaugural season in 2010, and Keith Lyston (Chesterfield, Mo., 52) took second and third behind Martel in all four races.
On the women’s side, the results were similar, but not quite as static as the men’s division. Rachel Hartmann (St. Louis, 52) and Sophia Lin (Chesterfield, Mo. 59) took second and third, respectively.
Alpine Shop was also proud to honor 71-year-old Lolle Boettcher (Owensville, Mo.), who finished in the top 10 of the masters women division in all four races while also being tied for the oldest woman in the race; and 74-year-old Randall Hill (Fairview Heights, Ill.), the oldest participant in the series, who has also competed in the Trail Run Series for each of the past seven years. Congratulations to both runners, and to all the participants of the 2018 Trail Run Series.