Steamboat Springs Tenadore Dean of Steamboat Springs will be a contender for the Hayden Cog Run this year. He won the Spirit Challenge 5-kilometer race May 3 in 17 minutes, 39 seconds, despite injuring his foot and knee during the winter.
"I plan on running in the cog run," Dean said. "That's always a fun race in the series. It's one of the more challenging courses."
The steep climb of the Hayden Cog Run and the rolling hills of the 5K and 10K races were meant to be challenging, said race cofounder Mark Fischer.
The 8.4-mile cog run, which includes about three miles of steep uphill battling, got its start from "the musings of a couple of athletes," Fischer said. Fischer and former Hayden Valley Elementary School gym teacher Kim Richardson started the run 25 years ago.
"Back then, we were so young and sprightly," Fischer said. "We loved running so much, we thought we'd invite the county to run with us.
"It tied in so well at the time with the national enthusiasm for running, that within three years, we had 200 racers."
This year marks the 25th running of the race, which is sponsored by the Hayden Recreation Board.
Last year saw a drop in participation, with 87 runners. Fischer said running isn't as popular as it used to be, but Hayden Recreation Board Coordinator Lindsay Heer said she is optimistic about attracting more runners this year.
"Registrations are coming in by the few every day," she said. "We have several retail businesses and restaurants donating food, clothing and gift certificates for prizes."
Safeway is donating bagels, B & K Distributing is donating 180 bottles of water and the Hayden Mercantile is donating fruit. Many other businesses are donating merchandise for a post-race prize drawing.
The entry fee is $12 per person before 5 p.m. Friday, or $15 per person the day of the race. Children 12 and younger can enter for $8, and families for $30. The fee includes a T-shirt, awards, refreshments and drawings for merchandise and gift certificates after the race.
Anyone interested can register at Hayden Town Hall, Christy Sports in Central Park Plaza in Steamboat or online at www.active.com. On-site registration will be available between 9 and 9:30 a.m. race day.
The cog run has held onto its family appeal over the years, with many families running for fun rather than competition.
"(With Richardson), the school connection was huge, which gave the run a family feel," Fischer said. "Also, it's at such a wonderful time, during the third Sunday of May. It's such a beautiful time of year."