Cog Run marks first leg of series

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If you're a runner in the Yampa Valley, you know what the Cog Run means. Screaming calves and thighs, a potential sunburn and a sincere sense of accomplishment at the end.

The 27th annual Cog Run returned to Hayden on Saturday with about 70 runners tackling the namesake hill climb or the rolling 10-kilometer and 5K run/walk that are offered with it.

The Cog is a three-mile hill with about a 750-foot elevation gain. Going up is tough. Coming down is brutal.

Lindsay Heer, Hayden recreation coordinator, said the run was "absolutely great."

The Cog Run, which sends runners up a grueling stretch of Routt County Road 76, is the longest running race in the Steamboat Springs Running Series. The 10K run and 5K run/walk sent racers south of Hayden on Poplar Street and then along C.R. 53. The less-demanding races were very popular for families and children.

The Handings of Steamboat Springs took the opportunity to run together and get prepared for next week's Bolder Boulder.

"It was a good run, and we knew it was going to be a kind of hard course with the hills you battle," Sara Handing said.

This was the first time Sara, 16, and her twin sister, Liz, ran the race, even though their father, Larry, has been running it since 1986.

"We weren't doing anything today, and he sort of convinced us to do it," Liz said.

Larry Handing finished third in the men's 5K run, and Sara and Liz were third and fourth, respectively, in the women's field.

"It was a typical Hayden run," Larry said, "Windy and beautiful."

Heer was particularly proud that two members of the National Canadian Running Team ran the Cog as part of their training for anther race in June in Vail.

Jason Loutitt of Manitoba, Canada and Peter Vail of Boulder were the first- and second-place winners of the Cog Run with times of 46 minutes, 44 seconds and 47:40, respectively.

Heer thought the Cog record was about 43 minutes, set in 2002.

"Thanks for letting me run your course and be in such a great town in Colorado," Loutitt told the other racers and spectators after the race ended.

Katherine Zambrana of Steam-boat won the women's division of the Cog Run with a time of 61:02. Zambrana biked to Hayden before the race, ran and then rode back to Steamboat after the race with a friend who is training for the Ironman.

"I just wanted to fit a race in before I get busy with my business, Sweet Pea Produce and Natural Market in Steamboat," she said.

Post-race activities included prizes and a drawing for racers.

--To reach Alexis DeLaCruz call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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