Director wants changes in running series

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Heather Eller has a vision of what the Steamboat Springs Running Series should look like.

She thinks the series should be a tightly knit group of races headed by a committee, not one individual. The committee would take some of the burden off individual race directors by eliminating duplicated administrative efforts, it would bring a sense of consistency and professionalism to every race and would provide better marketing for the running series and specific running events.

Now Eller, who acted as series director last summer, just has to find a way to accomplish that goal.

The problem is finding the right group of people, who have enough time outside of their regular jobs, to handle the administrative responsibilities for the 14-event series.

"When I look at this series, I see so much potential," Eller said. "But running the series is more than any one person can accomplish on their own. I have a vision that the running series will have a committee who can support race directors in more ways than the series director currently does."

Last year's Steamboat Springs Running Series consisted of 14 races beginning with the Spirit Challenge in May and ending with the Emerald Mountain Potluck Race held earlier this month. Each race is organized by its own race director, but the series director promotes the series, lines up sponsors and helps race directors with many details runners often take for granted.

The series director also maintains a Web site posting information about upcoming races and posting past race results. The person also keeps track of the season point standings.

"I took the position this year not fully knowing all that would be involved, or all that I would want the series to be," Eller said. "The latter is what got the better of me. I think because of it, the series excelled in many ways, but it also became a bigger job than when it started."

Because of the time required and growing responsibilities, Eller is looking for a group of people or an organization to take the lead role.

If that doesn't happen, Eller said the role of the series director will be reduced next summer. The change shouldn't affect individual races, which are run by separate directors, but it will affect the marketing of the race series. Eller said she would continue to maintain points standings, but in a more streamlined fashion.

"Runners, just like myself, look forward to doing the races in the series not only for the uniqueness of terrain and beauty of each race course ... but also the points gained, which in the end gives a sense of accomplishment," Eller said.

But while Eller is seeking to limit her role in the future, she wants to see the series continue to grow.

Anyone interested in stepping into a leadership role with the series is encouraged to call her at 871-0065, starting in November.

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