Runners get spring in steps

Hot Springs Shortcut race on Saturday

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Don't be alarmed Saturday morning if you see runners and walkers hopping fences or zipping through Old Town back yards.

It's part of the 20th annual Hot Springs Shortcut race, an event set aside for those who navigate their way from downtown Steamboat Springs to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs in the fastest time possible.

"One year I went out with my stop watch before the race and tried this route and that route," said third-year race director Bill Philip. "A few years ago, there were some cross-country coaches who got permission from property owners to go over fences."

Several people swear they have the fastest route. On Saturday, the participants will find out who is right.

The Hot Springs Shortcut is the second race in the Steamboat Springs Running Series, and it's open to walkers, runners and mountain bikers.

Mountain bikers must follow a set route from the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Walkers and runners can go any way they wish, providing they don't trespass on property where they are not wanted.

Typically the race is held on Memorial Day weekend, but Philip said there was a need to alter several racing dates.

"We changed it last year because it coincided with Whiteman's graduation, which was a mess," Philip said. "With the whole running series this year, some of the dates were spread out to try and get fewer conflicts."

When runners and walkers filter out at Strawberry Park Elementary School, they will follow Routt County Road 36 past The Lowell Whiteman School to the dirt road that climbs to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

Pre-race registration is available through today for $20 at Christy Sports or online at www.active.com. The cost includes a T-shirt, full-day admission into the downtown and Strawberry Park hot springs and entrance into the post-race drawing.

Prizes include a season pass for two to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, a season pass to the Ski Touring Center, as well as other items.

A no-frills fee is $15.

On race day, the cost is $25. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Walkers begin at 8 a.m., runners will leave downtown at 9 a.m., and mountain bikers will begin at 9:30 a.m.

For more information, call Philip at 879-9853.

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