Local marathon's popularity growing

Event filled up faster than ever this year

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If you were thinking about registing for this year's Steamboat Marathon or half-marathon and had hopes of running on June 4 forget it.

The field has been closed since April.

"This it the earliest this race has ever filled," Chamber spokesperson Chris Richards said. "The race filled May 1 last year, so we were almost a full month ahead of that this time around."

Runners lined up early this year to run in the event which has become the largest running race in Steamboat's busy summer. More than 500 marathoners and 900 half-marathoners will test their endurance along the winding Elk River road from Hahn's Peak Village to Steamboat.

Last year Boulder's Cindy Enochs held off an agressive push by Louisville, Kent. runner Suzanne Klapheke to win the Marathon. Enochs finished the race in a time of 3 hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds. Klapheke brought home the silver with a time of 3:10:42 and Bridget Mackinnon of Denver was third with a time of 3:13:16.

Both of those runners are expected back this year to run again.

The men's race came down to a battle between Thorton's Jason Saitta and Steamboat's Aaron Ciszek.

Saitta came out ontop in the final stretch with a time of 2:1:23. Cizek finished second for the third consecutive year with a time of 2:44:07.

The runners in last year's race had to battle the unexpected as snow fell on the Hahn's Peak Village the night before the race and that morning.

Temperatures were cool, with the mercury sitting in the mid-40s for most of the race.

Boulder's Hector Hernandez-Salazar won the men's half marathon with a time of 1:11:22. Denver's Bridget Dunn topped the women's field with a tme of 1:29:36.

The winners of the 10K racers were Fort Collins resident Peter Williams (32:34) on the men's side and Boulderite Natalie Davey (37:58) in the women's race.

Both the marathon and half-marathon fields for this years race are full, however the 10K race is still open.

The longer running events have to be capped since the race is held on a point-to-point course. There are only so many buses to take runners to the top of the course for the 7:30 a.m. marathon start. The half-marathon course is also limited by transportation to the starting line. That race also starts at 7:30 a.m.

Registration for the 10 K will close on June 3 at 5 p.m. Fames runner Arturo Barrios is expected to run in that field.

There will also be several fund-raising efforts taking part in this year's events. Runners raising money for Lukemia, Diabetes and several other charities have already registered to take part in the event.

To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail him at jrussell@amigo.net

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