During his 15 years of trail running, John Chapman has seen a lot of backcountry courses.
But it's still hard for the veteran runner to hide his excitement when talking about Saturday's Spring Creek Memorial run.
"For anyone from Steamboat, this is the quintessential trail-running event," Chapman said.
Chapman said he jumped at the opportunity to act as race director when he was approached about it just a few months ago.
Since then, he has spent many hours getting to know the two courses firsthand by running and marking them for other runners. He has been busy lining up local merchants to provide prizes for the participants and exploring ways to help make sure that this trail run continues to thrive in the future.
"It's just a great race, and this is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community," Chapman said.
Chapman is the latest in a line of directors who have guided the race in recent years. Ken Brenner started the race 14 years ago as a tribute to his sister.
Patty Brenner Hagberg was hit by a truck and killed in 1991 while jogging along the lower part of the trail.
The following year, Ken Brenner created the race, hoping it would serve as a reminder of how important it is to share multi-purpose trails in the area.
The money raised from race entry fees goes to a special fund that is used to make improvements along the trails in the Spring Creek area.
On Saturday, Chapman is hoping 70 to 100 runners will take part in the 3-mile or 9-mile runs. Both races begin and end at Spring Creek Reservoir. The 3-mile course will follow the Spring Creek trail out and back. The 9-mile run will take runners up the old stage route to Buffalo Pass and then to Dry Lake. The runners return on the Spring Creek Trail and end where they began, at the reservoir. Along the way, racers must navigate fallen trees, several stream crossings and 1,500 feet of elevation gain.
"This is a true trail run," Chapman said. "It's a wonderful, neat course that is unique to the series."
When runners arrive at the finish line, they will be greeted by a post-race brunch hosted by Freshies and a prize drawing.
Runners can register for the event at Christy Sports or active.com before noon Friday for a reduced fee of $20. Those waiting for race day will pay $25.
Those runners will all receive a pair of SmartWool running socks valued at $15.
Race day registration begins at 7 a.m. The 9-mile race is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and will be followed by the 3-mile race at 8:30 a.m. A children's fun run also will be part of the event.
-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209
or e-mail email@example.com