Seattle University coach cruises to top spot at trail run

August 16, 2011

Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series concludes Oct. 30

Uli Steidl takes the last few strides with a smile Aug. 13 as he wins the Cougar Mountain Trail Series’ 13-mile race at the Sky Country Trailhead. By Greg Farrar

Even after his hip flexor started bothering him one-third into the Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series’ 13-mile race Aug. 13, Uli Steidl was able to pull away from his competition for the win.

The Seattle University assistant track and cross country coach said his familiarity with the trails on Cougar Mountain helped him maintain a steady pace throughout the run. His final time was 1:38.27 for the event.

“I was by myself for most of the race,” he said. “I pulled away in the first mile … but I was always expecting someone to come from behind to catch up with me.”

Steidl lives in Seattle with his wife, Trisha Steidl, who also participated in the race.

Marlene Farrell, competing in the event for the first time, took top honors in the women’s category with a final time of 1:54.21.

Although the Leavenworth resident said she hasn’t been doing much competitive running this season, she was pleased with the outcome of the race.

“I do a lot of road running, but I find trail running … is nice because I don’t have to think about the miles,” she said. “I can just get out and enjoy the scenery, and I really enjoy uphills and downhills.”

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Cougar Mountain 13-mile run is set for Aug. 13

August 9, 2011

The final summer race of the Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series is Aug. 13 with the grueling 13-mile run at King County’s Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

The race, which begins at the Sky Country Trailhead, starts at 8:30 a.m. The Sky Country Trailhead is on 166th Way Southeast, just off Cougar Mountain Way.

The event also serves as the Pacific Northwest Regional 13-mile Trail Running Championship. Members of the USA Track and Field Association are eligible to compete in the race.

The Cougar Mountain series, in its eighth season, is sponsored by the Seattle Running Club. Of each racer’s individual event fee, $15 goes toward maintenance and improvements in King County Parks. More than $70,000 has been raised in the past seven years for King County Parks.

Pre-register for the race at

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Record set on 10-mile Cougar Mountain run

July 12, 2011

Seattle’s John Berta set a new course record on the 10-mile Cougar Mountain Trail Run July 9, completing the race in 1 hour and 15.41 seconds.

Berta, 41, handily broke the previous record of 1:17.28, set by Matt Messner in 2006.

Berta said a group of frontrunners pulled away at the beginning of the race, gaining ground as they ascended the first climb. However, he said he was able to make up ground on the down hills and eventually win the race.

John Berta rounds the final curve out of the woods for the 10-mile course victory July 9 with a time of 1:15.41 in the Cougar Mountain Trail Run series. By Greg Farrar

“A couple guys were real good running through the trees on the flats, but once they hit the downhills on the switchbacks, if you can do those real fast and in control, you can put some real time on them,” Berta said.

Three other runners also broke Messner’s record. Simon Knellwolf, Edward Strickler and Liberty High School coach Michael Smith finished after Berta with times of 1:16.05, 1:17.05 and 1:17.15, respectively.

“It’s organized in a great way,” Knellwolf, 29, said about the course.

Knellwolf, who hails from Switzerland, is living in Redmond for the summer, working for Microsoft Research.

“Usually, I’m running in Switzerland,” he said. “I saw the website for the Seattle runner’s club, and saw that they did the competition, and I’m here. I underestimated the hills, but I liked it a lot.”

Trisha Steidl, of Seattle, was the first woman to cross the finish line, recording a time of 1:33.28.

Steidl, 34, said she was recovering from a calf injury that prevented her from running on slopes for several months. She said the hills were rough, but she said her calf was up to the challenge.

“You can’t ever be unhappy with a win,” she said with a laugh. “When I started, I kind of started out a little slower and tried to be smart so I could be stronger later in the race, because I know the hills are later in the race. But I also knew I had to take advantage of the first part being fairly flat. I had to push that a little bit.”

The youngest of the 168 participants were 14-year-olds Andrew Eason and Ellie Hendrickson, who finished 46th and 51st with times of 1:42.21 and 1:43.23, respectively.

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Cougar Mountain is ‘gnarliest’ for trail running novices

June 22, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. June 22, 2011

Outdoors NW magazine named the popular Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series as No. 1 for novice runners in the inaugural Gnarliest Trail Running Event Awards.

The magazine announced the awards Wednesday. Magazine staffers combed through information about dozens of trail races in the Pacific Northwest to determine the nastiest, gnarliest, toughest and best races.

The magazine ranked the Orcas Island 25K/50K, due to the event’s stunning views of the San Juan Islands, Olympic and Cascade mountains; a heart-pounding single-track course up and down Mount Constitution and the all-weekend race party on the island, including a post-race keg and live music.

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Runners take to Cougar Mountain for 8.2-mile run

June 14, 2011

A fleet of runners took to the second race of the annual Cougar Mountain Trail Run series June 11, led by 39-year-old Uli Steidl, who took first place in the 8.2-mile run with a time of 51 minutes and 31 seconds.

Amber Taylor comes into the final stretch of the 8.2-mile run on Cougar Mountain on June 11. Taylor was the first woman to finish, placing 39th with a time of 1 hour, 7 minutes and 35 seconds. By Tim Pfarr

Peter Samuels, a 24-year-old sporting a purple T-shirt, took second with a time of 52:01, and Amber Taylor, 31, was the first female to cross the finish line, taking 39th place with a time of 1:07:25.

The youngest runner of the day was 14-year-old Ellie Hendrickson, who finished 70th with a time of 1:12:33. Conversely, the oldest runner was 62-year-old Chris Lemke, who finished 82nd with a time of 1:15:07.

A total of 239 runners took to the hilly course, which was slightly longer than in previous years, as it opened with a loop at the Sky Country Trailhead.

“The guy who finished second, he took it out really hard,” Steidl said. “He actually dropped me on the first climb.”

Steidl managed to catch Samuels — who won the May 14 five-mile race — farther down the course, and the two ran closely until Steidl managed to pull away.

“After I had a little bit of a gap, I switched more to tempo run mode,” Steidl said. “Every time I looked back at a switchback I thought, ‘There’s a purple shirt. I’ve got to keep it up.’”

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Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series continues June 11

June 7, 2011

The Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series continues June 11 with a seven-mile run.

Registration is from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the Sky Country trailhead off 166th Way Southeast. The race begins at 9 a.m., and awards and prizes are scheduled for 11 a.m.

The cost to participate is $35 in advance and $45 the day of the race. Seattle Running Club members receive a discount when they register in advance. Register at Click “Events” and “Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series.”

Of each racer’s fee, $15 goes toward King County park maintenance and improvements.

The series — in its ninth year — has raised more than $70,000 for King County Parks during the past eight years. Northwest Trail Runs and the Seattle Running Club sponsor the series.

The 2011 series began in May with a five-mile run, and it will continue July 9, Aug. 13 and Oct. 30 with a 10-, 13- and 31-mile race, respectively.

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Cougar Mountain trail running series kicks off May 14

May 10, 2011

The eighth annual Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series gets going May 14 with a 5-mile run at King County’s Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park.

The race, which starts at the Sky Country Trailhead, begins at 9 a.m. The Sky Country Trailhead is on 166th Way Southeast, just off Cougar Mountain Way.

The series, sponsored by the Seattle Running Club, has four races in all during the season. Other races are scheduled for June 12 (7 miles), July 10 (10 miles) and Aug. 14 (13 miles).

Volunteer work groups from the trail-running community spend an average of 120 hours each year doing trail restoration work, including improving trail surface conditions and picking up trash.

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High temps add extra challenge to run finale

August 17, 2010

Husband, wife duo scorch the field to win men’s, women’s divisions

Trisha Steidl gets close to the finish line of the 13.1-mile Cougar Mountain Trail Run finale Aug. 14, as husband Uli, the men’s division winner, roots her on to her women’s division victory. By Greg Farrar

At 8:30 a.m. Aug. 14, a body of energy-charged runners took off running on a 13.1-mile course in the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. The weather was just beginning to approach 80 degrees.

Each was taking part in the final run of the eighth-annual Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series, a four-part series that began three months ago in May.

The first of the four runs was five miles and drew more than 200 participants. Runners ran seven miles in June and 10 in July. This past Saturday, the longest run of the series drew 174 runners.

Like the three previous races, Saturday’s race started at the Sky Country trailhead in the park, just off of 166th Way Southeast. The Seattle Running Club sponsored the event. Read more

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Cougar Trails hold finale

August 10, 2010

The Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series holds its final race of the season Aug. 14 at 8:30 a.m. at the Sky Country Trailhead.

The race is 13 miles. Get information and pre-register for the race at

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Track coach captures consecutive legs of trails series

July 13, 2010

The third race in the Cougar Mountain Trail Running Series took place on an unusual sunny summer morning with about 155 runners hitting the trails of Cougar Mountain Regional Park on July 10.

Unlike in years past, the course was set up a little differently, according to event director Scott McCoubray. This year’s course packed in more climbing per mile than in other years. Runners ran the Coyote Creek trail instead of running the gravel road, he said.

McCoubray gave runners a brief safety talk before they began. He warned runners that there would be others on the trails walking. The race is supposed to be competitive yet fun.

“Be friendly with each other, unless it gets serious,” he said. “Then you can nudge each other off the trail.”

Liberty High School track coach Michael Smith won not only the last race, which was seven and a half miles, but also the 10-mile with a time of 1:21:09. One of the students he used to coach, Brandon Thomas, ran the race with him.

Thomas, an 18-year-old Liberty High School graduate, came in third place with a time of 1:25:34.

“I didn’t do any training for this run,” he said. “I just went off of the track season. I’ve been running about 40 miles a week, though.”

He also ran the seven and a half mile race this year, and two years ago he ran the 10 mile. Read more

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