Annual Hayden Cog Run returns Saturday |

Annual Hayden Cog Run returns Saturday

— There are easier options offered Saturday at the annual Hayden Cog Run. The 10- and 5-kilometer races both offer distance, but are spread out on the valley floor, containing comparatively few hills or challenges.

The true gem, racers insist, is the event's namesake course, the 8.4-mile run up the Cog Road that is among the most grueling and rewarding early season challenges in the Steamboat Springs Running Series.

All three races get under way at 10 a.m. Saturday at Hayden Town Park.

"The Cog is definitely one of the classic races out there," said Cara Marrs, running series director, who tackled the Cog for the first time last year. "I ran a couple versions of that event, but last year I ran the Cog and I loved it. You get such a beautiful view of the valley that you don't normally see."

Race director Kathy Hockett said she hopes the day's races draw a big field of competitors to Hayden. Most of the field, which could be as large as 75, are like Marrs, preferring the Cog. The course starts at the park and cuts away, out of town and up Routt County Road 76.

The first mile is easy and flat, but the race turns challenging quickly as it climbs up to the top of the bluffs that overlook the town.

"It's very challenging," Hockett said. "It has uphill, downhill and those beautiful views."

The shorter races, meanwhile, appeal to everyone. Hockett said second-graders have taken to the course before. Parents frequently push strollers, and a few years ago a local runner even showed up with a donkey, which he escorted along the route.

"We have a lot of flexibility between the three races," Hockett said. "If you just want to do a fun run or walk, you have the 5K. Or you can go a little further up to the 10K, or extend your endurance and try the Cog."

The races cost $25 if competitors pre-register today, by noon at Ski Haus or at

Races filling up

There's no limit on Saturday's race, but some events scheduled for later in the summer are nearing capacity, and organizers encouraged those hoping to take part to hurry and sign up while they still can.

The Run Rabbit Run 50-mile trail ultramarathon has been full for months, and demand has been so great that there's no longer even a waitlist available as it too reached epic lengths.

The July 23 Spring Creek Memorial, Aug. 6 Mount Werner Classic and Aug. 21 Continental Divide Trail Run all are expected to fill up in at least some form.

The 9-mile variation of the Spring Creek race filled last year and should again this year. The Mount Werner and Continental Divide runs, meanwhile, are both half full and are likely to be closed well before race day.

Registration is available at

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email