David Sinclair torched the one-year-old men’s record and Emily Torrence edged out Rachel Schneider on the women’s long course, while Chris and Alicia Vargo combined for a husband-wife sweep on the short course at the Soulstice Mountain Jackie Weintraub Memorial Run on Saturday morning.
Sinclair won the Imogene Pass Run one month ago. A geology student at Northern Arizona University by way of Vermont, Sinclair ran a 1:07.02 on the 11-mile course -- which was one minute, 17 seconds faster than Mike Popejoy’s winning time in 2016. Popejoy also had a recent major competition, placing second for the American team at the World Mountain Running Championships in British Columbia three weeks ago.
“I was just hanging on for the last few weeks,” said Popejoy, who finished second in 1:09.00, about his busy summer racing season.
Torrence posted a 1:19.16 for a victory over Schneider by one minute, 22 seconds.
The Vargos went 1-2 in the 6-mile short course – Chris in 40:31.9 and Alicia in 47:03.4.
Although Soulstice counts many Legacy participants among its 200-plus entrants each year, a number of newcomers said they enjoyed their initial outing as they took part in the post-race party on Schultz Pass.
“I was afraid,” said Miguel Moreno of Phoenix, “but I met so many people.”
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Moreno wore his Man Against Horse finishers belt buckle from the grueling 50-mile event in Prescott last weekend. Opening his home to Tarahumara and other runners who visit Phoenix, Moreno said, “I want to be an ambassador for (racing in) Arizona.”
Jackie Thomas has done four Imogenes, along with the Flagstaff Skyrunning event earlier this month, and now Soulstice, but said she hasn’t done any shorter races.
“I don’t know any better,” she said, catching a pair of socks thrown into the crowd during the raffle drawing. “It’s probably better I don’t know much easier it can be.”
Thomas talked and whooped it up with her friend Jan Hill for virtually the whole long-course race. Hill was returning to Soulstice for the first time in several years.
“It’s about reconnecting with community,” Hill said about what she liked about being back in action.
Volunteer race director announced that the race broke last year’s fundraising total for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff, with more than $10,000 in donations.