Fast sister, faster sister
VAIL – Laura Haefeli was the first woman to cross the finish line Saturday in the USA Trail Running Championships, but about four minutes later, she crossed again wearing different clothes.Oh wait, that was her identical twin sister, Ann Sorenson. The 38-year-olds say they’ve been competitive for as long as they can remember, but Haefeli has always been a little bit quicker.
“She’s always been faster,” Sorenson said. “Ever since she shoved out six minutes ahead of me from the very beginning.”Thus Haefeli, who lives in Del Norte, became the champion Saturday, finishing the 10-kilometer course in 55 minutes, 12 seconds. Summit County’s Danelle Ballengee, who was competing in her first trail run since ankle surgery in November, finished second in 55:54. Brooke Kish rounded out the podium in 57:01, followed by Brianne Nelson (58:50), Anita Ortiz (59:06) and Sorenson (59:25).”There’s not many flats out there,” Ballengee said of the course, which started and finished in Vail Village and took racers along service roads and singletrack on Vail Mountain. “It was either all up or all down. I hiked quite a few of the uphills – just got my hands on my knees and power hiked. I can usually bomb on the downhills, but I think I need a little more training time.”Haefeli was not at her fittest either, she said, having just recovered from two weeks off her feet with a bad cold and sore throat.”For the first time ever, I thought I’d pass out at the top of the hills,” she said. “I’m not feeling 100 percent.”
No snow but still toughWhile last year’s course was covered in about 8 inches of snow, the consensus among runners was the event, which is part of the Teva Mountain Games, is always more difficult than they remember.”It’s pretty intense,” said Clint Wells, who won the men’s championship (45:45) but finished second to Matt Carpenter (44:04), who is not a member of USA Track and Field and is thus not eligible for the championship trophy.
“I got tired pretty fast,” Wells said. “I was already starting to hurt a little bit after a couple miles. But fortunately, by then it was so spread out, everybody was hurting. I forgot how hard it was.”Josiah Middaugh was the third male to finish the 10K and second in the championship, with a time of 46:07. Michael Friedberg was close on his heels in 46:18, Christopher England came next in 47:25, and Shiloh Mieke (48:02) was the sixth man to finish.Lactic acid made several charges through the bodies of runners, as their muscles cooled down on steep descents and constantly had to rekindle their fire for more climbing. Sorenson, who agreed with her sister that races pose an alluring excuse to see each other and spend time together, said she was only at her sister’s side for a few seconds at the start, but the sight of Haefeli ahead of her on the trail gave her an extra surge.”My goal was to be between one and three minutes of her,” said Sorenson, who lives in Bozeman, Mont. “It is a nice motivation. I could see her on the uphill. I always try to keep an eye on her for as long as I can.”
Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 748-2936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado