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If running seven miles with a 2,200-foot climb doesn't sound hard enough, try eating a cheeseburger toward the end of the race and see how difficult that final mile uphill is.

On Sunday morning, several people accepted that challenge in the inaugural Snowbowl Hill Climb, hosted by local running group Team Run Flagstaff.

Runners need their carbs and proteins, after all.

The race, which took place at the beginning of Snowbowl Road and ended at the top, offered participants the chance to scarf a double cheeseburger at the six-mile mark, courtesy of local restaurant Mama Burger, before making their final ascent to the top.

It wasn't easy, especially if you were trying to win the race.

The first male and female runner who finished the burger won $100 and Sara Wagner was hoping to get that extra cash.

Wagner was the first woman to burger station and nearly ate the entire thing before she saw Dara Marks Marino coming up the hill. Hoping to win the first-place prize money, Wagner ditched her burger with a few bites left and made her way to the top for first place in one hour and 40 seconds.

She didn't regret the stop and didn't think the burger affected her all too much during the final mile, being the elite runner she is.

"(My body) feels fine, though I wouldn't recommend running with burger-mouth," said Wagner, who practiced by eating a Mama Burger earlier in the week. "I couldn't eat it as fast after running six miles as I could in my living room."

The race, which is unaffiliated with the Flagstaff Summer Running Series, hoped the burger aspect attracted people who may have been put off by the course's uphill battle.

"It was super fun. It totally lightened the race up," Wagner said. "You just look forward to getting to that station.

"This is probably my new favorite race."

Wagner's unfinished burger allowed Elizabeth Davis to capture the women's burger-eating crown.

"(My friend) and I made a pact that whoever got to the burger first would eat it," Davis said. "I was feeling tired at mile six and wasn't going to eat it but got peer-pressured into it. They're like, 'Come eat the burger, you're the first woman to eat the burger.' So how could I not?"

Men's burger king Ryan Stevens said the quick snack was a last-minute decision. He hoped to win the Pay 'N Take first-mile cash prize but finished second to Trent Briney and had to be persuaded to eat the burger by all of his friends waiting for him at the station.

"There were enough people there to peer-pressure me," Stevens said. "I couldn't say no."

Stevens took about five minutes to eat the burger, though much of it was spent letting his heart-rate drop before trying to inhale it.

"No one told me it was a double cheeseburger," Stevens said. "I actually had to not think about running while I was eating. Every time somebody brought up running, I started panicking."

Stevens finished 16th overall in the men's race. Jared Scott, who finished fourth, thought about eating a the burger for the prize money, knowing he wasn't going to catch the leaders but quickly changed his mind.

"My stomach started turning," he said.

Professional road-runner Jeffrey Eggleston won the men's race in 44:41 but passed on the burger despite holding a comfortable lead toward the end.

"I don't eat meat," Eggleston said. "If they had a veggie option, I totally would have gone for it."

Jacob May can be reached at or 556-2257.


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