The Colorado Running Hall of Fame inducted Salida resident Tom Sobal at a ceremony Wednesday at the Denver Running Club.
Sobal joined the Hall of Fame as one of five inductees for 2017, which included USA track and field team members, an Olympian and an elite athlete recruiter for top marathons in the U.S.
The Hall of Fame recognized Sobal for his race record and public service in the sports of snowshoeing, burro racing and trail running, according to a press release about Sobal’s induction.
“Arguably the most accomplished snowshoer in the United States,” Sobal has “won more than 130 snowshoe races at distances ranging from one to 100-plus miles and recorded the world’s best time for a marathon run on snowshoes, covering 26.2 miles in 3:06:17,” according to the release.
The Hall of Fame also cited Sobal’s “instrumental” role in developing snowshoe racing as a sport in the Special Olympics and his service as a technical delegate for snowshoeing at five Special Olympics World Winter Games.
In the sport of burro racing, Sobal holds course records for the major races and holds the record for winning the most Burro Racing World Championships, winning 11 titles from 1989 to 2006.
Sobal has also won more than 85 mountain and trail races, was selected three times as a member of the U.S. National World Cup Mountain Running Team and served on boards of the American Trail Running Association, according to the release.
“I don’t run to accumulate awards or race victories or things like that, and I never really did. I just do my own thing. Sometimes I race and do the best I can, and I did fairly well,” Sobal told The Mountain Mail.
“I always tell people, ‘Don’t rest on your laurels. You’re only as good as your last run,’” which for Sobal was a 6-mile run Thursday morning from his house, around Frantz Lake and back.
At age 59, Sobal said he continues to run 60 miles each week, has served on the board of the Chaffee County Running Club since he moved to Salida from Leadville in 2001 and helped organize the Run Through Time Marathon for many years.
“I’ve been running for 50 years, seriously for 45, and it’s almost like a habit now,” he said. “I don’t feel right if I don’t run, but I guess there are worse habits to have.”