Saturday running race benefit for Blair | SteamboatToday.com

Saturday running race benefit for Blair

Rachael Green

— As the director of the Steamboat Springs Running Series, Cara Marrs is plenty familiar with everything that goes into organizing a running race in Routt County.

There's the registration and the prizes, finishers’ T-shirts and food for racers. Sometimes, there are aid stations to see to, and of course, the finish line must be manned with a stopwatch.

Still, Marrs said the storm that has been organizing Saturday's Mountain Madness half-marathon has been something that's taken even her by surprise and even further deepened her appreciation for the man who made it look easy for so long.

Scott Blair oversaw the annual Fourth of July weekend road race as it doubled, even tripled, in size in recent years, but he stepped aside this year after a cancer diagnosis and the ensuing treatment.

Now, his event has been turned into a fundraiser for his cancer-fighting efforts and his family's support.

"Scott is so laid back, you'd think directing something like this is easy," Marrs said. "He's such a caring, personable guy, and he just goes about everything with a smile."

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There's plenty set for Saturday that can leave a race director sweating, most of the concerns relating to the expected influx of runners. The Mountain Madness event features a 13.1 half-marathon and a 10-kilometer race, with the courses beginning at the Howelsen Ice Arena parking lot and heading out along River Road. The half-marathon loops through Dakota Ridge, and both courses return to the starting line.

It has become one of the most popular events in the series, the exact number of participants rising and falling based on the weekend's proximity to the actual holiday. With the Fourth of July just a few days before and the incentive of many Steamboaters to help in the Blair fundraising efforts, this should be a big year.

More than 200 already are registered, and the race frequently attracts a larger walk-up crowd than most.

"This race is so hard to plan for because there are so many people in town and they’ll just show up to run," Marrs said.

The race begins at 7:30 a.m. with the half-marathon. The 10K starts 30 minutes later. The distances cost $35 and $30, respectively, and registration remains open online at http://www.runningseries.com.

The day will feature a live band at the finish line as well as sandwiches donated by Backcountry Delicatessen.

One thing that Marrs said wasn't difficult at all was enlisting businesses and volunteers to help in a Blair fundraising event.

"He has done so much for this community," Marrs said. "I can't tell you how many times he has volunteered to help with the medical personnel at races. He's always quick to jump into everything, and he never once complained about directing a race with so many people."

The event actually is the second of two Running Series events set for the holiday weekend. The annual Steamboat Sprint will take place before Thursday’s parade in downtown Steamboat. Registration for the 9:40 a.m. race is $4 and will be available at Ninth Street and Lincoln Avenue.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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