Utah medical residents lead Round Valley Rambler
Two University of Utah medical residents captured first place at the Round Valley Rambler half marathon on Saturday as Natalie Como took first among women with a time of 1 hour, 39 minutes and 23.3 seconds, and Matt Braithwaite finished first overall with a time of 1:25:03.5.
Braithwaite is an internal medicine resident while Como is a resident in internal medicine and pediatrics.
“There’s four or five of us in the program who run a lot, so it’s a good bonding thing,” Como said.
She said her medical training has influenced her running partly because of the health benefits, but mostly because the intense program demands some kind of other activity to balance it out.
“It’s (beneficial to) both physical and mental health, because residency is hard and you don’t hardly have time to do anything,” she said. “But if you can keep that one consistent thing (that helps) … and I guess for us, it’s running. It kind of keeps you sane.”
Como said she is able to stay competitive despite her medical schedule because she has simplified her life to four elements: working, running, eating and sleeping.
“I think a lot of the other residents have their thing, like they have kids and that keeps them busy, but I don’t have kids so running is my thing outside of work,” she said.
She and Braithwaite are scheduled to graduate their programs on June 30, though Como’s distance running won’t end there. She plans on competing in the California National Marathon in Sacramento on Dec. 8.
Neither Como nor Braithwaite will be able to compete in the full Triple Trail Challenge. Como will miss the series’ other two races and Braithwaite will miss the Jupiter Peak Steeple Chase because of scheduling conflicts. That leaves both titles for the Triple Trail Challenge up for grabs. Last year’s overall Triple Trail Challenge winner, Mickey Wilson, was not on Saturday’s start list either.
Como won the Rambler last year with a time of 1:44:51.3 and has taken the Triple Trail Challenge title for the past two years. She didn’t sweep the competition last season – her only outright win was the Rambler – but her combined time of 8:05:03 was enough to win. The season before, she won the Triple Trail Challenge with a time of 8:03.
While the Rambler is Como’s favorite race, it was Braithwaite’s first time competing in Mountain Trails’ shortest run of the season. He had raced in the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase and the Mid Mountain Marathon in 2017, taking second in both.
Braithwaite’s inability to compete for the Triple Trail title could leave the door open for John Venner, who took second on Saturday with a time of 1:27:59.4 or Samuel Shewan, who finished third with a time of 01:28:34.6. Both were logged competitive results in some of last season’s races. Owain Rice, who won the Park City Trail Series 15K last season, took fourth (1:32:42.2).
Bethany Lewis took second in the Rambler (1:40:16.0) on Saturday, followed by Emma Patterson (1:43:35.0) and Lynsey Gammon (1:46:17.9). Gammon took third in the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase last season. Elizabeth Butler, who took fourth on Saturday, could also be a Triple Trail contender. She took fifth in the Mid Mountain Marathon last season (4:05:46.6).
Charlie Sturgis, executive director for the Mountain Trails Foundation, said cool weather likely kept a few people from competing but said the race still had close to 300 competitors, whose registration fees went back to maintaining local trails.
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.