Bid aims to bring world trail event to Steamboat

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— John Chapman got the local support he needed to bring the World Mountain Running Trophy to the base of Mount Werner in 2009.

The Steamboat Springs City Council unanimously approved a two-fold request from Chapman, the Steamboat Springs Running Series director, at its Tuesday night meeting. Chapman's request included a $25,000 grant from the city's 2008 budget to help cover the $228,470 projected cost to host the running event and a letter of support from the city.

In the next month, Chapman will focus on the details (from lining up a primary sponsor and support from state legislators to drug testing protocol) in a written proposal submitted to USA Track & Field that, once reviewed and approved, would be submitted to the World Mountain Running Association Congress.

Chapman said he'll cash in frequent flyer miles to make the haul to Saillon, Switzerland, to do his "PowerPoint pitch on behalf of Steamboat Springs" at a Sept. 14 meeting of the congress. Nancy Hobbs, who serves on the WMRA Council, said the decision will be made the same day by voting representatives from about 30 nations. Austria is the only other country that Hobbs said has taken steps toward submitting a rival bid.

But after Saturday's successful running of the USATF 10K Trail Championships, Hobbs was confident about Steamboat's chances. Only once before has the event been held in the United States; Girdwood, Alaska, played host in 2003.

"If you're looking at the ability of a group to organize an international championship, they should be able to organize a national event, so (hosting nationals) does bode well," said Hobbs, who also is the chairwoman of USATF's Mountain/Ultra/Trail Sport Council. "We got some good feedback with the venue, and that's why I originally approached John with the idea. : If I didn't feel comfortable with John's ability or in the venue, I wouldn't have gone to the council to entertain the idea."

As well as bringing 1,600 of the world's best trail runners to compete in Steamboat, Chapman told the City Council he estimated the championships would generate nearly $70,000 in sales tax revenues. Chapman said the event would take place Sept. 17 to 19, 2009, and the course would consist of a series of laps near the base of Mount Werner.

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