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Ilg running strong into nationals

Durango native eyeing July 30 trail championships
Dewachen Ilg celebrates after setting a fastest known time up the 13,067-foot Centennial Peak in preparation for the 2022 National High School Trail Running Championships in Salida on July 30. (Steve Ilg/Courtesy photo

Dewachen Ilg has had some solid results recently as she prepares to race in the National High School Trail Running Championships July 30 in Salida.

Ilg, who lettered in cross-country, track and choir for Durango High School last year as a freshman, has continued working hard in the off season, and it’s paying off.

Ilg finished first overall in the inaugural 12K Durango Skyline Trail Race presented by Aravaipi Running on June 4.

After that, Dewa scored the fastest known time up Centennial Peak.

She then completed the 12-mile, 4,000-foot vertical Kendall Mountain Run in 2 hours, 36 minutes to place 11th overall among females and third in the 20-and-under category at the age of 14.

“My dad (Steve Ilg), who has had like 25-plus finishes at Kendall – wanted to use Kendall as an anchor event before tapering for nationals,” she said. “I trust him.”

Her dad raised her using a system of wholistic fitness that he created in 1981, which has given her workouts structure while remaining fun.

“Unlike my dad, whose best childhood friend was a wolf named Apache, and spent his pre- and teenage years just running around the San Juan National Forest with no real purpose, every one of my workouts have been structured – wisely – by him,” she said. “Sometimes I wish I had more unstructured workouts, but he really incorporates a lot of wild fun into my training.”

The two have also traveled to Salida to scope out the 5.4-mile course ahead of the championships.

“We've already traveled to Salida and checked out the nationals course together,” Steve said. “I like Dewa for the course, even as a rookie/freshman. There’s only two significant climbs and about 40 meters of fast downhill techy stuff. We’ve mimicked the course pretty well here in Durango and feel confident. We’re planning on hitting up the course one more time so Dewa can run it at tempo at the same race time so she knows the sun angles. Podiums hide in the details.”