Steamboat Running Series stretches out Saturday with Mount Werner Classic |

Steamboat Running Series stretches out Saturday with Mount Werner Classic

Jake Miller/For the Steamboat Today

Boulder resident Trent Briney approaches the finish line during the 2012 Mount Werner Classic at Steamboat Ski Area. This year's race gets started at 7 a.m. Saturday.

— Emily Conjura puts up with long nights, stressful days and zero financial compensation to put on a running race. Though to her and many runners, the 50-kilometer Mount Werner Classic is more than that; it's a chance to give back.

"I think what you realize is you not only need to take from the running community, but you also have to give back," Conjura said. "I can't run that far anymore, but when I could, I appreciated that there was someone to put on a race like that for me."

The Mount Werner Classic, planned for Saturday, caught on to the running world's ultramarathon trend last year when it switched to a 50-kilometer course — about 31 miles — that climbs to the top of Storm Peak and back down with 5,100 feet of elevation gain.

"I think ultramarathons are kind of the up-and-coming thing like the marathon was in the 1980s," Conjura said.

Conjura credits the change in course length, along with talk floating around the running community, for an increase in out-of-town participants. She estimated about 75 percent of the runners are coming from outside of Steamboat, and she's hoping they can help fill out the field.

"We put on a good race, and we're now attracting more people," Conjura said. "It takes time for word of mouth to get around."

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She said the race, which had 60 participants last year, could reach 90 runners this year. There's a cutoff at 125.

Start time for the race is 7 a.m. Saturday. A strict three-hour and 15-minute outbound cutoff will prevent anyone who gets to the top of Mount Werner after that time from being able to finish the race.

Registration for the event, which closes at 8 p.m. Thursday, is available at Packets can be picked up from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Straightline Sports, 744 Lincoln Ave., or from 6 to 6:45 a.m. Saturday at the race. The cost is $85.

Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

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