Steamboat Springs Race director Vicki Oyster was pleased to see a strong group of 46 participants turn out for Sunday morning's Continental Divide Trail Run. In its eighth year, the Ski Haus-sponsored race has runners climb 3,500 feet in elevation on a challenging 16.5-mile course.
"We had a fair amount of out-of-towners," Oyster said. "They're all fairly hearty runners. It's a good course for people who like to trail run."
Starting from the Fish Creek Falls parking lot, the race trail wound up Fish Creek Canyon, turning onto Mountain View Trail before Long Lake, taking weary runners to the summit of Mount Werner before cruising to the finish atop Thunderhead Peak.
"Everyone comes back saying it's a beautiful course with beautiful views," Oyster said.
Although no one was able to beat the course record that Mark Iverson set last year with a time under two hours, Oyster said the times were good, considering the warmer weather.
Fort Collins' Zach Crandall won the race in a time of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 9 seconds. Steamboat Springs locals Allen Belshaw and Andy Picking followed Crandall, finishing second and third, respectively, in 2:07:07 and 2:09:26.
On the women's side, Steamboat's Jenna Gruben finished in first with a time of 2:31:41, ahead of Clark resident Kelly Bedell at 2:37:50, and Fort Collins' Mary Schuette at 2:43:23.
In the race's original inception as the Fish Creek Sneak, the course started near the Rabbit Ears Pass summit at Dumont Lake, Oyster said, but organizers moved the race to its current running course and, with nothing but positive participant feedback, have not looked back.
"The weather was good, and everything went great," Oyster said.
The next 2006 Steamboat Springs Running Series event is the 10K at 10,000 Feet run, Sept. 3 on Rabbit Ears Pass.