BOULDER — Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska won the women’s elite Bolder Boulder, repeating from her 2012 win, and Eritrea’s Afewerki Berhane won the men’s elite race under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s.
Portland’s Shalane Flanagan finished second in the women’s race. Lafayette’s Sean Quigley was the top American for the men.
Quigley was the biggest surprise of the day, seeded on the third American team — USA White. He topped a formidable USA Red team of Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall and professionals Luke Puskedra and Bobby Curtis.
His coach, Lee Troop, was ecstatic afterward, wrapping his arms around his runner and saying, “I’m so proud of you.”
In the women’s field, Daska separated herself from the pack barely a mile into the race, swinging widely to her left on a long straightaway as the rest of the women’s pack moved to the right — inside of the road — as if she were trying to sneak by undetected.
She separated herself and never looked back. A four-second gap turned into eight seconds, then 10 seconds, then 18 seconds and was near 22 seconds by the time she raced into Folsom Field, with some 50,000 people cheering her arrival.
The roar came once more for Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters who was the top American in Boston in April. It was Flanagan’s first Bolder Boulder.
Earlier, Colorado State University assistant cross country coach Scott Dahlberg won the 2014 Bolder Boulder citizens race after a gamble in the second mile to break away from the field.
Dahlberg, 29, who graduated from Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, finished in 30 minutes, 50 seconds, fending off a late attack from second-place finisher Andy Wacker, a former runner for the University of Colorado. Wacker finished in second in 30:56.71.
“I’ve run it a handful of times,” Dahlberg said of the Bolder Boulder, “but this is by far the best I’ve felt in it. I decided to take a chance early on and break away. Wacker’s a tremendous runner. I could have been where he was, and could have been where I ended up.”
Sarah Crouch, 24, a professional long distance runner for Reebok-sponsored Zap Fitness, was the first women’s finisher, in 35:11.72.
“After the first mile, I settled into a rhythm and stopped looking at my watch,” said Crouch, who lives and trains with her husband, also a runner for Zap, in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. “A 10K is long enough that you’ll have good and bad patches. I definitely had a rough patch around the 5K point. When you get to a 5K point, you either think, ‘I’m feeling great’ or ‘Wow, I’m only halfway done.'”
Racing at altitude tends to punish a runner’s lungs more than his or her legs — which is exactly what Crouch found.
“The difficulty of the altitude and the intimidation — it was easily balanced of the people of Boulder and having 50,000 runners behind me.”
Daniel Petty: 303-954-1081, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @danielpetty
Read more: Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska, Eritrea’s Afewerki Berhane win Bolder Boulder 2014 elite races – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_25837936/bolder-boulder-2014-scott-dahlberg-sarah-crouch-citizens-race#ixzz32qjZyKiF
Follow us: @Denverpost on Twitter | Denverpost on Facebook