Running up Mount Werner sure beats training on the streets of Chicago, and if Saturday's race was any indication, Kyle Meyers is in great shape to start his cross-country season at Loyola in the Windy City.
Meyers and friend Will Weldin, a cross-country runner at Western State in Gunnison, finished the Mount Werner Classic's 12-mile trial run in one hour, 41 minutes and 24 seconds. And that was with a bathroom break.
The pair of 19-year-olds even had time for a cool-down run of several miles before a majority of the 12-milers crossed the finish line near Thunderhead.
"This was a great course," Meyers said. "It's a nice change from 6 million people."
The Mount Werner Classic consisted of a 12-mile run and a 5-mile run or hike. It is one of the most popular races in the Steamboat Springs Running Series.
A course change made by director Emily Conjura this year sent runners up the steeper right side of Headwall as opposed to the left up Zig Zag to avoid Saturday's high-speed mountain bike race, also at the ski area.
For the most part, Conjura said, everyone enjoyed the change even though it made the course more difficult overall.
Weldin and Meyers, both first-timers to Steamboat, were expecting steeper climbs, but the 12-mile run fit in perfectly with their training schedule.
Normally, the pair reserve Sunday for their weekly long run of 15 miles or so, but they said Saturday's course and length met their Sunday standards.
A majority of the nearly 75 entrants in Saturday's races were repeat participants, including the winner and runner-up in the 5-mile event, Shawn and Stephanie Scholl.
The pair call Kremmling home, but Stephanie said the couple feels more of a kinship with Steamboat. Both their children, Tabor and Tyler, were born here, and the community has been supportive of their Big Shooter Bonk cross-country ski race.
The Scholls used to run the 12-mile course, but the five-mile one meets their needs.
"This is one of my favorite races because it's all uphill," Stephanie Scholl said. "When we're home we try to do the Steamboat series because it has great trails."
This summer, the amount of time the Scholls, Shawn in particular, have spent in Northwest Colorado has been sparse because Shawn is training to the make the 2004 U.S. Olympic rowing team.
Shawn and Stephanie have still managed to find time to run, and even Tabor ran her first 5K this summer in Michigan.
There is a competitiveness between Shawn and Stephanie.
"No matter the distance, he likes to beat me by a minute a mile," Stephanie said.
Shawn was looking to beat Stephanie by five minutes in Saturday's 5-mile climb on Mount Werner. He didn't, finishing in 54:57, while his wife came in at 59:41.
And that was after Stephanie stopped so that young Tyler could catch up to cross the finish line with his mother.
The Steamboat Springs Running Series continues Aug. 24 with the Continental Divide Trail Run, a 16-mile run that begins at Fish Creek Falls and climbs to the Continental Divide before following a trail down to the top of the Gondola at the Steamboat Ski Area.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org