Steamboat Springs Next year local runner Jim Harkness will start a little earlier.
The value of starting early is something he learned this year after he was placed on a waiting list along with 30 other runners who recently found out they were too late to register for the Steamboat Springs Half Marathon race, which will take place June 2.
"I had a lot of things going on, so I kept putting it off," Harkness said. "I'm not surprised that I'm on the waiting list. These races fill earlier every year."
This year the full marathon, which starts at Hahn's Peak Village and winds down County Road 129 through downtown Steamboat Springs before ending at the courthouse, filled by Feb. 25. The half marathon, which begins at Moon Hill Meadows, filled a couple of days later Feb. 27.
"This is the earliest it has ever closed," the chamber's Lindsay Early said. "But I would not say that it is any huge record. The event just seems to close earlier and earlier every year."
This year's closing date caught a lot of runners off guard, however. The waiting list to get into the marathon is already up to 15 people and 30 people are waiting to see if they will be able to run in the half marathon.
"It's easy to see why this race closes so early," Harkness said. "It's a beautiful course and it's a great race."
Every year the marathon is limited to the first 500 runners and the half marathon is limited to the first 900 entrants. The field had to be limited because the race is a point-to-point event. There are only so many buses to take runners to the starting line of the events, and that's how the caps were determined.
Early said it's not uncommon for a few of the runners who are accepted for the marathon and half marathon to change their minds (either because of injury or other reasons) before the race date. The runners on the waiting list are then given an opportunity to register for the race later. It's hard to say how many of the runners on the waiting list will be promoted to the actual event but Early thinks a few of the runners will get in.
For runners who don't, the other option is to run in the 10-kilometer race, which is held the same day. That race is not limited and normally draws a pretty big field of top runners. The course runs through Strawberry Park.