The popularity of the Steamboat Springs Running Series stems largely from the variety of races it offers.
Those interested in distance events register for the marathon or half marathons. Runners more inclined to stay on trails frequent the Spring Creek Memorial. Participants looking for uphill climbs often sign up for the Mount Werner Classic.
Runners wanting all three will want to be on hand for Sunday's sixth annual Continental Divide Trail Run.
The 16-mile trail run, put on by Ski Haus, begins at the Fish Creek Falls parking lot and ends at the top of the gondola at the Steamboat Ski Area, giving participants a chance to take a much more scenic route from one end of Steamboat Springs to another.
"It is a significant vertical run," organizer Carol Atha said. "But most people interested in this type of run seem to like it. ... We do see the same people. We have quite a large following from the Front Range that might be new at this event but do a lot of other events as well. The people that like to do this type of running at elevation do travel."
Sunday's race is limited to 100 participants, in accordance with the U.S. Forest Service permit to hold the run on its land. Atha anticipates between 50 and 70 runners.
Ski Haus was the long-time organizer of the Fish Creek Sneak, but the race was stopped because of increasing traffic in town.
Ski Haus then started up a trail run race, taking runners from Dumont Lake on Rabbit Ears Pass to the ski area, but the U.S. Forest Service wanted to attract less attention to that area, so Ski Haus discontinued that event, as well. In its sixth year, the Continental Divide Trail Run appears to have found its niche in the series. The race is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Sunday. People can register in advance at Ski Haus or at 7:15 a.m. Sunday at the knoll lot by the West Condominiums. Cost to enter is $20, which includes a race T-shirt.
Transportation will be provided for those racers that need a ride from the registration area to the start line at the Fish Creek Falls parking lot Sunday. People can return to the knoll lot via the gondola after the race.
The course, while difficult, is easy to follow, but runners are reminded to prepare for a longer race and elevation changes. Runners also are reminded to dress accordingly and prepare for possible weather changes.
Vicki Oyster serves as the race coordinator. Call Oyster at 879-0385.
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