Mountain Madness hits Steamboat Springs

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— In addition to hot-air balloons, concerts and rodeos, another staple of Steamboat Springs' Rainbow Weekend is the Mountain Madness Half Marathon, 10K and 2 mile Fun Run held Sunday morning.

For the 24th year, runners will leave the tennis courts at Howelsen Hill and head east before working their way back to the start line in a variety of distances.

The Half Marathon and 10K will begin around 8 a.m., while the 2 mile Fun Run is scheduled to start around 8:15 a.m. All three will begin by the tennis courts.

The entrance fee is $15 through Saturday and $18 on race day. Registration on race day will begin around 7 a.m. The Fun Run is free without a T-shirt.

Construction to the developments on the southeast edge of town forced race organizer Susie Pace, manager of Christy Sports, and her assistants to change the look of the course, but she said they have gone out and about and found another route that will work well for the runners.

Entrants in all three events will run the same course with obvious distance variances. From the tennis courts, participants will head out on River Road and work their way along strictly paved roads back to the start line, depending on which event they are registered for.

Pace did note that in addition to the 1.5-mile climb around mile four, runners would also encounter another new incline around mile six as well.

"It's a pretty big hill," Pace said.

Other than those, however, the course figures to be a relatively nice run, Pace said. The scenery, courtesy of the Rainbow Weekend festivities, might make the climbs a little easier and likely worth the effort for the early morning runners.

"Spectacular views can be enjoyed during the race because all the hot air balloons should be up cruising around," she said. "It's really neat."

The Steamboat Half Marathon, held at the beginning of June, is so popular the race field often tops out around 900 people. The 10K can pull upwards of 500 entrants. The sheer size of the field and the difficulty of the course may intimidate some.

Sunday's event, however, offers an excellent alternative for local runners and even those around the state more interested in running in a lower scale event, Pace said.

"We do get a lot of out-of-town people," Pace said. "We have a lot doing it year after year. Runners enjoy this event."

Aid stations will be provided for the runners in the Half Marathon and 10K. Runners can get water at miles 2 and 4 for the 10K and miles 2, 6 and 11 for the Half Marathon.

There are no aid stations provided in the Fun Run and no official times will be kept in the two-mile event.

After six races in the Steamboat Springs Running Series, Tom Nelson, 56, is in first with 51 points. Bill Goldsmith, 29, has 50. These two are followed by: Greg Long, 46, with 46 points; Bill McCalla, 72, with 42; and Charlie Stoddard, 11, with 36 points.

On the women's side, Dorothy Bradley, 72, has 42 points, Heather Eller, 32, is second with 37 points. Emily Conjura, 26, has 33 points. She is followed by Jane Reece, 40, with 30 and Marie Lacey, 48, with 28 points.

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