Classic a tough run

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In Tasha Thrasher's estimation, skiers can make it from the top of the gondola to the base area in seven minutes.

It will take those participating in Saturday's Mount Werner Classic a little longer to run up the same slope.

"I hope you like to climb a little bit," said Thrasher, the race director for the Steamboat Springs Running Series race. "Once you think you are done, you keep climbing."

Those running in the 12-mile race will climb 3,472 vertical feet on dirt roads and singletrack at Steam--boat Ski Area. They will run from Gondola Square to the top of Storm Peak before finishing at the top of the gondola.

Those running the 5-mile race will climb 2,180 feet, starting at Gondola Square and finishing at the top of the gondola.

"I think it's a great challenge," Thrasher said. "People have trained all summer for it."

More than 40 people have registered, including runners from New York, Tennessee, Illinois, Minnesota and Texas.

The proceeds raised from the Mount Werner Classic will go to Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Thrasher said.

"A lot of the volunteers will be (affiliated) with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps," she said.

Last year, a record-number 83 runners took part, with Bill Raitter winning the 12-mile race in 1 hour, 45 minutes, 35 seconds. Anita Ortiz was the female winner with a time of 1:48:55.

"They were both on the U.S. Mountain Racing team," Thrasher said.

Mike Knutson won the 5-mile race in 44:34. Ashley Critchlow was the women's champion in 58:34.

Early registration is available for $20 through noon today at Christy Sports or online at www.active.com. On Saturday, registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and the price is $25, which includes post-race lunch and prizes.

A no-frills fee is $15.

The 12-mile race begins at 8 a.m. The 5-mile run or hike begins at 8:30 a.m.

All runners receive a free ride down the gondola.

Anyone wishing to watch from the top needs to make arrangements to ride the gondola or hike up Saturday morning.

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