“I’m a second grade teacher at the Crested Butte Community School”
Ask Stevie Kremer who she is and, without hesitation, she’ll tell you.
“I’m a second-grade teacher at Crested Butte Community School,” says Kremer.
Not, I’m the 2012 long distance mountain running world champion. Or, I’m a member of the Salomon Trail Running International Team. Or, I’m the 2013 U.S. National Trail Marathon champion. Not even, I hold the women’s record at the Mont Blanc Marathon.
Despite the fact that all of those are also true.
No, instead she points out first that she’s a second-grade teacher in Crested Butte.
Over the course of three years, Kremer established herself as one of the premier distance trail runners in the nation, ticking off impressive results at a number of races.
A year ago, with a job teaching in Trieste, Italy waiting for her, Kremer jumped into the international trail running scene. Oftentimes success in sports such as trail running, ski mountaineering racing, etc., in the United States rarely translates to success in Europe. Fact is, sports like that are still fringe here in the states, while they are part of the fabric of Europe and have been for years.
“It’s incredible over there,” says Kremer. “Mountain running is a passion over in Europe. The spectators are incredible. They line the mountains and you almost get pushed up the hill on the climbs.”
But for Kremer, success in the states did translate in Europe as she proceeded to rack up a long list of impressive results on the trail running scene.
It all started her first week there, when she began her international racing career placing second at the Sierre-Zinal 31-kilometer race in Switzerland.
“I didn’t know anyone there and no one knew me so there wasn’t any pressure,” says Kremer. “When I went to the racer meeting everyone was decked out in their sponsor gear and I was wearing a polo shirt and my pearls.”
She followed that up with a seventh-place finish at the Mountain Running World Championships in Italy and then a week later won the World Long Distance Trail Running Championships in Jungfrau, Switzerland.
“That worked out way better than I thought,” says Kremer.
But Trieste, Italy is fairly flat so Kremer would work all week using what terrain she could find to train and then hit the road on weekends to explore and find other races. She competed in races throughout Europe and it was during one of those excursions that she caught the attention of the Salomon international team manager.
Kremer won the Berg Trail race in Italy, a race that happened to have the Salomon team manager in attendance. From then on she was signed on to the team and jumped into the International Skyrunning Series.
The series opened in Spain with the Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri, a 42-kilometer race in Zegama, Spain on May 26.
While Kremer opened the series with an impressive third-place finish, she admits the course was not suited to her strengths. While uphills are her strength, she can survive on the downhill, unless it’s super technical, and the course in Spain was just that.
“I got my arse handed to me on the downhill,” admits Kremer.
A month later she faced a course way more suited to her style at the Mont-Blanc Marathon, a 42-kilometer race in Chamonix, France, taking the win and setting a new course record.
“There were about 34 kilometers of uphill and about eight kilometers of downhill with an uphill finish, which played to my strengths,” says Kremer.
She closed out her first year of international racing back where it all began, at the Sierre-Zinal on August 11 where she placed second again, beating her previous time by two minutes.
While she readily admits her success overseas came as a surprise, Kremer feels she was prepared, thanks to her time here in Crested Butte.
“Coming from Crested Butte and running in the mountains definitely helped me,” says Kremer.
Kremer returned to the states following the Sierre-Zinal race to move back home, start getting ready for the upcoming school year and compete in the third race of the Skyrunning Series, the Pikes Peak Marathon. The course follows the Barr Trail 13 miles to the summit of Pikes Peak before turning around and coming straight back down the Barr Trail.
Kremer won that race, finishing 12th overall and coming close to setting another course record on the series.
“I knew that the uphill would be my strength so I had to push it as hard as I could but remembering to save some for the 13-mile downhill,” says Kremer. “I discovered that I can do okay on the downhill as long as it’s not too technical.”
The Pikes Peak Marathon is also the U.S.A. Trail Marathon Championships so not only is Kremer in first place currently in the Skyrunning Series but also is the 2013 U.S. Trail Marathon champion.
Now back in Crested Butte and in the classroom, Kremer will take time to readjust before she heads back overseas to race in the Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland again in October.
But the readjustment has been great thanks, to the community of Crested Butte.
“You know you live in a fantastic town when you leave for a year and come back and it seems like it was just yesterday and everyone is welcoming you back,” says Kremer. “I just want to thank everyone for their support and all of the kind words.”