New series race one of a kind

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— Tracey Tyson, an active runner and participant in the Steamboat Springs Running Series, is bringing a different type of event to the summer slate: the Hounds and Hares Trail Run.

Tyson loves running on Howelsen Hill, but until this season, there were no running series races staged on the famous downtown Steamboat mountain. She and first-year running series director Heather Eller decided to change that during a conversation last winter.

"I wanted to diversify the series a little bit," Tyson said. "Hounds and Hares is very different from the other races."

Planning and organizing Saturday's race has been very time consuming for Tyson, but she thinks it will be worth the effort when she introduces a different style of race to those interested in taking part in the Hounds and Hares Trail Run at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The run is based on an old British game called Hounds and Hares. There are one or two lead runners, or hares, that lay a trail in flour, chalk, sawdust, etc. for the runners, or hounds, to follow. The trails lead in all directions, and the object of the hares is to try to take the hounds off course.

Once the hounds realize they are on the wrong path, they will have to run around and select a different trail. If the hounds work together, they will find it easier to locate the hares.

Saturday's race will be on the trails of Howelsen Hill, but because this is the first year of the race, Tyson is going to lay the trail ahead of time rather than running just ahead of the other racers.

"It's not a competitive race because the fastest runner may end up going down the wrong trail and end up behind," Tyson said. "If you lay a good trail, people should finish real close. It will be three to five miles depending on how many wrong trails you take. It's not too strenuous, and people will work together."

While the idea for such a race originated in Britain, hashes, as these types of races commonly are called, are a popular event. Tyson researched the race and went to Boulder this spring to compete in her first hash.

"In hashes, people have whistles and this whole lingo," she said. "It's crazy. It's really in-depth."

In addition, Hash House Harriers, the organization that puts on these hashes, is as much about socializing as it is running, so Tyson envisions a great social gathering after the race, as well.

"This is fun. It's social," Tyson said. "I've met a lot of my friends in town through the running series, and I think this will be fun for out-of-towners, too."

A post-race party will be held at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill with food and drinks for runners of all ages. Because the fastest runners won't necessarily win Hounds and Hares, each runner signed up for the series will get five points if they run this weekend.

Early registration is $15 and is being accepted at F.M. Light & Sons and Christy Sports in Central Park Plaza until 5 p.m. today when Tyson collects the sheets.

Race day registration is at 10:30 a.m. on race day at the base of Howelsen Hill and costs $18. Runners need to meet near the Alpine Slide before 11 a.m. for the start of the race.

"I'm excited for it," Tyson said. "I think it will be fun."

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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