Steamboat Running Series returns to Howelsen |

Steamboat Running Series returns to Howelsen

Sarah Pizzo works her way down a section of the Howelsen Hill 8-Miler course at last year’s event. This year’s race is Saturday.

Sarah Pizzo works her way down a section of the Howelsen Hill 8-Miler course at last year's event. This year's race is Saturday.
Joel Reichenberger

— The Steamboat Springs Running Series gets back on track — or on trail, as the case may be — bright and early Saturday morning.

The first trail race of the summer series, the Howelsen Hill 8-miler, starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, launching racers up downtown Steamboat Springs' Howelsen Hill on a busy local sporting we­ek­­­­­end.

"We just want to have a good, fun run," race director Walter Magill said. "Howelsen Hill is nice and green and vibrant. It's always nice to get to see the balloons from the balloon rodeo as you start out running up the Bluffs Loop."

The course gains considerable elevation, but Magill said it's a gradual gain, starting from Olympian Hall at the hill's base. The Bluffs Loop is of moderate grade. That gives way for racers to Lupine, which drops them at the top of the quarry, where they begin their descent.

There will be the signature 8-mile race, as well as a 4-mile version. Racers will have plenty of incentive to finish as food catered by Winona's, a raffle and a bloody mary bar await at the bottom.

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"We'll try to have a good, quick time. We don't want to make it an all-day event for people," Magill said.

Racers can pre-register at or at Ski Haus until noon today for $25, or from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the starting line for $30.

The race marks a midway point in the 11 races that make up the season-long points portion of the series, and the point races still are close.

Derek Leidigh leads the men with 67, racking up an advantage by winning once and finishing high in every other race. Todd Trapp is second with 48 points, Harry Niedl is third with 43, and Nicholas Sunseri, victorious in both races he has entered this season, is fourth with 40.

Deb Freeman, the series champ in 2008, has again piled up a big stack of points. She leads with 54, ahead of Mary Schuette, second with 50, and Lisa Adams, third with 37.

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

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