Traffic delays anticipated for marathon

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— Most runners should finish the Steamboat Marathon before noon today, but residents and visitors are urged to show caution when driving through Steamboat Springs or toward North Routt County.

Traffic delays, which could be as long as one hour, are expected along Routt County Road 129 (Elk River Road) -- the primary route of the Steamboat Marathon and Half Marathon course.

Northbound traffic on R.C. 129 will shift to the left lane just past Elk River Estates, and southbound traffic will be detoured onto R.C. 44 for several miles.

At 7:30 a.m. today, nearly 1,400 marathon and half-marathon runners will start their races from Hahn's Peak Village or Moonhill. The finish line is in front of the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat.

The marathon and half-marathon course closes at 1 p.m., at which time aid stations and traffic control measures will end. However, people likely still will be on the course.

"Please stay off the road until noon-ish, if possible," Jody Anagnos, special events director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said. "There will be long delays. Most of the traffic is people trying to get to Steamboat Lake. That's why we have to implement this detour, because it's people with big RVs and large boats."

The 10K runners start and finish near the courthouse, so people driving in the Strawberry Park area should also be cautious.

The only significant road closure is the westbound lane of Lincoln Avenue from Fifth Street to 11th Street. It will be closed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

Marathon and half-marathon participants need to take the free bus transportation to the starting areas. The buses are for racers only.

They will load in two locations -- one downtown and one near Steamboat Ski Area. The marathon buses load at 5:45 a.m. at the Gondola Transit Center on Mount Werner Circle and at 6 a.m. in the parking lot on the corner of Eighth and Oak streets. The half-marathon buses load at 6 a.m. at the Gondola Transit Center and at 6:15 a.m. downtown.

The buses will bring racers' personal items back to the finish area, but runners need to provide their own bag with their names written on them. The bags with personal items will be left in a tent on the courthouse lawn.

Spectators are encouraged to watch today's races, but they are discouraged from following family and friends on R.C. 129 or out on the 10K course. The best and safest place to watch today's races is along Lincoln Avenue, the homestretch for the marathon and half-marathon.

Shannon Lukens will debut as the marathon announcer as the event celebrates its 25th anniversary. People living in downtown Steamboat should expect morning activities to begin at approximately 7:30 a.m.

The awards ceremony for all three races is at 12:30 p.m. on the courthouse lawn.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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