Chatfield alum holds his own at Slacker race

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By Michael Hicks

GEORGETOWN — Danny Whelan had a pretty legitimate reason for settling for the 4-miler instead of the Slacker Half-Marathon on June 23.
“Honestly, I’m not in good enough shape to run a half-marathon,” Whelan said.
Too many beers will do that to you.
But the 29-year-old Greenwood Village resident and 2001 Chatfield Senior High School graduate was more than capable of leading the way in the shorter-distance race, winning in a time of 22 minutes, 12 seconds.
The former cross country and track runner for Fort Lewis won by 2:16 over Ben Weihrauch of Denver.
“It’s an easy downhill course except for the last half-mile. It was really nice,” Whelan said. “There was even a little bit of a tailwind coming down the valley.”
The event, which included the 13.1-mile half-marathon and a three-person relay competition, started at Loveland Ski Area, some 10,660 feet above sea level, before racing 2,135 feet downward and finishing in front of the Hotel de Paris Museum building.
Charles Hillig Jr., a 26-year-old Denver native, returned to the half-marathon after a one-year sabbatical to reclaim his throne, winning the race in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 58 seconds. Hillig, who won the Slacker in 2010 in his first half-marathon, was victorious by 3 minutes, 24 seconds over Broomfield’s Ryan Herzog, formerly of Littleton.
Herzog, a 32-year-old native of Duluth, Minn., who recently moved to Broomfield, didn’t meet his goal of a sub 1:11 time to qualify for the Chicago Marathon. But he did set a personal-best time of 1:12.18 in spite of not feeling his best.
“It’s one of the fastest courses in Colorado,” Herzog said. “I had some stomach problems and had a couple of pit stops. But I was still able to cut a minute off my PR (personal record). To pull off second place I’m happy with that.”
Jennifer Brandon of Boulder was the top female finisher in 1:29.08, while Lakewood’s Lacey Acree won the 4-miler in 25:35.