Passionate about public lands, Idaho’s rugged beauty and putting one foot in front of the other for hours and hours?

    Those were attributes of the 100 trail runners completing Saturday’s fifth annual Stand-hope Ultra Challenge 60-kilometer (37-mile) and 30k (18.6-mile) races in the Pioneer Mountains east of Sun Valley.

    Saturday’s 60k race began from Park Creek Campground 13 miles east of Ketchum via Trail Creek Road and traveled through wild and rugged Custer County wilderness.

    The 60k runners reached a high point of 11,000 feet. They traveled through the Salmon/Challis National For-est past the 11,865-foot Devils Bedstead and between the 11,353 Big Black Dome and 11,887-foot Standhope Peak.

    “Race day went well,” said race organizer Ben Blessing of Nampa, who has put together the Standhope Challenge for five straight years and marked his ninth year of doing such an Idaho backcountry run event.

    All of Saturday’s runners had their reasons for meeting the Standhope challenge. The 60k field ranged in age from 17 to 56, with an average age of 39.9. The 30k field went from 17 to 67, average age of 36.3.

    Men’s 60k winner Erik Syrstad, 38, an Oregon native from River Heights, Utah, is a veteran ultra-marathoner who has worked with the U.S. Forest Service in its Adopt-A-Trail program. He won Saturday’s 37-mile race by over 30 minutes in 7 hours, 35 minutes, 35 seconds.

    Setting a new course record in the 30k race was former Gonzaga University and Wood River High School runner Ben Stout, 23, of Bellevue. The son of Craters of the Moon National Monument chief of interpretation and education Ted Stout is on a running roll.

    On Saturday, recent Back-country Run 16.5-mile men’s champion Ben Stout (2.56:10) finished over 15 minutes ahead of runner-up Sawyer Kesselheim, 24, of Ketchum (3.11:38). Kesselheim, a Bozeman, Mt. native, competed on Montana State University’s Nordic ski team.

    “Pretty amazing,” said Blessing about Stout’s finish.

    The women’s 30k winner on Saturday, in seventh place overall of 52 finishers, was 21-year-old Lizzie Gill of Bozeman (3.53:00). Gill, a top cross country runner for Bozeman High School eight years ago, raced for the University of New Hampshire Nordic Ski Team and was a National Collegiate All-Academic champion.

    Few of the Standhope runners were as passionate about public lands as 24-year-old Emily Williams of Ketchum.

    Williams, undertaking her first-ever ultra-marathon, won the women’s 60k title and placed sixth overall of 48 long-distance runners in 9.24:55. One of only 11 female runners completing the 37-mile test, she had the top women’s time by one hour and five minutes.

    A 2011 Community School graduate and former Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation cross-country ski racer, Williams graduated from Tufts University in Massachusetts with a degree in Environmental Studies, Peace and Justice.

    Williams, an avid runner who is a daughter of Terry and Risa Williams of Hailey, has completed the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon twice, the first time in 2013—finishing 20 minutes before the tragic bombing.

    This year, Williams said she wanted to run Standhope Challenge to raise money for the Idaho Conservation League and to increase awareness of what the ICL does.

    On a July 31 blog entitled “Running to Protect Idaho’s Public Lands,” Williams wrote, “Growing up in Idaho, I took public land for granted. I thought it was the norm to walk out your front door and roam to your heart’s content.

    “It took leaving the mountains to go to college in a state with almost no public land for me to realize how lucky I was….For me, spending time running through public lands is a lesson in perspective. It teaches me that I’m only a tiny piece of this vast ecosystem.”

    As of Tuesday, Williams had raised $1,400 (on 27 donations) out of her $2,000 goal on her Standhope Run for Public Lands fundraising site.

    Of Saturday’s 100 finishers at both distances, 15 came from the Wood River Valley.

    Among the notable performances were:

    Hailey’s 48-year-old Tom Page (8.51:20) and 41-year-old Matthew Barnes (9.04:56) finishing fourth and fifth overall in the 60k race—Barnes improving by two hours and 50 minutes over last year;

    John Forsyth, 34, of Hailey placing 14th overall in 10.17:39, two hours and two minutes better than 2016. Other local 60k finishers were Cortney Vandenburgh (11.36:59) and Annelies Ware (13.25:03).

    Wood River High School teacher Chris Cey moved up two places from eighth overall to sixth place in the 30k event, improving 15:14 minutes from 2016 to finish in 3.46:24.

    Placing 11th and 12th over-all, the second and third women, were 19-year-old Annika Landis of Hailey (4.10:34) and Lynea Petty, 37, of Hailey whose 4.21:00 time was 29:36 faster than last year’s race.    Other local 30k finishers Saturday were Laura Theis, Elliot Jacobs, Virginia McConnell, Chris Lundy of Stanley (28:51 faster than last year) and Lydia Missal.    

    The official charity of the Standhope 60K Ultra Challenge was the ARPKD/CHF Alliance that seeks to find a cure for this kidney disease.

    Complete results on today’s Web site.

60k results (37 miles)

(48 finishers)

    1—Erik Syrstad, 38, River Heights, Utah 7.35:35. 2—Jedediah Rogers, 38, Salt Lake City 8.06:44. 3—Jeffrey Friess, 40, Missoula, Mt. 8.45:28. 4—Tom Page, Hailey 8.51:20. 5—Matthew Barnes, 41, Hailey 9.04:56.

    6—Emily Williams, 24, Ketchum 9.24:55 (1st female). 7—David Faught, 43, Boise 9.37:44. 8—Peter Knox, 44, Meridian 9.39:02. 9—Charles Veach, 24, Iona 9.47:47. 10—Mark Wheeler, 52, Nampa 9.55:04.

    11—Dave McKinnon, 43, Boise 10.03:52. 12—Mark Porter, 40, Boise 10.13:20. 13—Jason Boeckmann, 35, Boise 10.16:09. 14—John Forsyth, 34, Hailey 10.17:39. 15—Samuel Forsyth, 36, Boulder, Co. 10.17:40.

    16—Todd Fogdall, 42, Boise 10.21:47. 17—Brent Crumley, 41, Boise 10.28:37. 18—Leah Samberg, 36, Missoula, Mt. 10.29:50 (2nd female). 19—Chase Duarte, 50, Vail, Arizona 10.39:31. 20—Jason Wooden, 46, Mendon, Utah 10.41:03.

    21—Brendan Thompson, 30, Moses Lake, Wash. 10.45:05. 22—Dan Kadrmas, 49, North Salt Lake, Utah 10.51:30. 23—Josh Bonkowsky, 47, Salt Lake City 10.58:09. 24—Dirk Martin, 42, Blackfoot 11.14:52. 25—Loren Henry, 56, Baker City, Ore. 11.18:29.

    26—Jason Walleser, 34, Idaho Falls 11.20:37. 27—Johanna Oxstrand, 37, Idaho Falls 11.20:38 (3rd female). 28—Nathan Longhurst, 17, Rockford, Wash. 11.26:47. 29—Brady Vandegrift, 31, Boise 11.28:45. 30—Cortney Vandenburgh, 39, Hailey 11.36:59 (4th female).

    31—JP Walters, 41, Boulder, Mt. 11.47:04 (5th female). 32—Alexis Hanks, 27, Golden, Co. 11.49:14 (6th female). 33—Rick McGurk, 46, Kaysville, Utah 11.53:51. 34—Chad Wallace, 33, Mountain Home 11.56:05. 35—Serrah West, 33, Twin Falls 11.56:33 (7th female).

    36—Susan Henry, 55, Baker City, Ore. 11.58:26 (8th female). 37—Matt Mau, 31, Mill Creek, Utah 12.13:56. 38—Cole Petersen, 25, Golden, Co. 12.20:03. 39—Julia Millon, 26, Winters, Ca. 12.34:14 (9th female). 40—Derek Call, 39, Caldwell 12.34:18.

    41—Will Gorrissen, 36, Oakland, Wash. 13.07:20. 42—Annelies Ware, 48, Ketchum 13.25:03 (10th female). 43—Nelinia Cabiles, 52, Keaau, Hi. 13.27:01 (11th female). 44—Albert Savaria, 55, Boise 14.17:02. 45—Otto Daly, 44, Meridian 14.17:03.

    46—Daragh Maccabee, 50, Twin Falls 14.24:28. 47—Todd Christensen, 47, Ririe 15.02:46. 48—Brian Christensen, 51, Rexburg 16.00:00. DNF—Sandy Moulton, 43, Idaho Falls and Jeremy Humphrey, 38, McCall.

30k results (18.6 miles)

(52 finishers)

    1—Benjamin Stout, 23, Bellevue 2.56:10. 2—Sawyer Kesselheim, 24, Ketchum 3.11:38. 3—Giff Walters, 32, Challis 3.23:47. 4—Niels Mitchell, 20, Idaho Falls 3.27:14. 5—Will Northrop, 47, Boise 3.44:31.

    6—Chris Cey, 47, Bellevue 3.46:24. 7—Lizzie Gill, 21, Bozeman, Mt. 3.53:00 (1st female). 8—Bryan Hurlbutt, 35, Boise 3.59:50. 9—Sam Christian, 26, Challis 4.01:33. 10—Adam Beaupre, 35, Challis 4.08:18.

    11—Annika Landis, 19, Hailey 4.10:34 (2nd female). 12—Lynea Petty, 37, Hailey 4.21:00 (3rd female). 13—Nan Keith Frates, 56, Fruita, Co. 4.28:44 (4th female). 14—Bre Helfrich, 32, Salt Lake City 4.30:44 (5th female). 15—Eric Helfrich, 32, Salt Lake City 4.30:46.

    16—Sarah Trautman, 26, Minneapolis, Minn. 4.32:00 (6th female). 17—Cassi Wood, 32, Mackay 4.39:22 (7th female). 18—Holly Rogers, 40, Salt Lake City 4.41:00 (8th female). 19—Laura Theis, 34, Ketchum 4.45:38 (9th female). 20—Elliott Jacobs, 35, Hailey 4.50:10.

    21—Shae Griffin, 25, Boise 4.57:04 (10th female). 22—Jeremy Wallace, 39, Boise 4.58:04. 23—Claire Karban, 26, Crested Butte, Co. 5.00:48 (11th female). 24—Virginia McConnell, 32, Hailey 5.03:43 (12th female). 25—Chris Lundy, 42, Stanley 5.05:09.

    26—Steven Zygmunt, 40, Park City, Utah 5.20:16. 27—Daniel Griffin, 28, Boise 5.23:10. 28—Joe Mitchell, 53, Idaho Falls 5.23:33. 29—Larry Longhurst, 48, Rockford, Wash. 5.40:26. 30—Lydia Missal, 36, Hailey 5.52:47 (13th female).

    31—Evelyn Johnson, 47, Boise 5.56:43 (14th female) and Jack Johnson, 17, Boise 5.56:43. 33—Andy Johnson, 52, Boise 5.56:44. 34—Kenny Rogers, 67, Salmon 6.03:02. 35—Jess Condon, 25, Challis 6.05:24 (15th female).

    36—Jake Hansen, 33, Boise 6.26:30. 37—Jeff Anderson, 38, Kuna 6.26:33. 38—Josh Gillish, 30, Blackfoot 6.28:11. 39—Amanda Gillish, 29, Blackfoot 6.28:14 (16th female). 40—Ryan Martin, 40, Boise 6.46:43.

    41—Rachel Mandeville, 24, Boise 6.47:33 (18th female) and Charles Mandeville, 57, Boise 6.47:33. 43—Holly Hubbard, 34, Meridian 7.06:50 (19th female). 44—Carola Riemer, 35, St. Petersburg, Fla. 7.09:12 (20th female). 45—Ashley Knight, 31, Boise 7.13:30 (21st female).

    46—Cecelia Morris, 45, Meridian 7.22:32 (22nd female). 47—Erin Peterson, 35, Boise 7.26:43 (23rd female). 48—Robin Knight, 43, Meridian 7.34:03 (24th female). 49—Seth Brinkley, 45, Kuna 8.13:17. 50—Caitlin Lanier, 31, Boise 9.36:14 (25th female).

    51—Myphuong Lam, 47, Houston, Texas 10.09:13 (26th female) and Steve Burgess, 63, Madison, Miss. 10.09:13.

Email the writer: sports@mtexpress.com

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