Popular half marathon, 10K hit the roads

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After this weekend's Mountain Madness Half Marathon and 10K, it will be awhile before Steamboat Springs runners see a relatively flat, paved course again.

The 29th annual Mountain Madness Half Marathon and 10K will be the last 2007 Steamboat Springs Running Series event on a paved course until the fall. The Aug. 3 to 4 Wild West Relay is on a paved course, but starts in Fort Collins and does not count toward series point standings. The on-road/off-road Pilot & Today Run for Literacy wraps up the series Sept. 23, the first day of autumn. The other six remaining races are trail runs.

But Mountain Madness and series director John Chapman wants racers to quell their need for speed before the series heads to the hills.

"This is the fastest 10K in Steamboat Springs - it's out and back on a flat road you can go barreling out," Chapman said. "This is the kind of course I would go for a personal record on."

Both the 10K and the half-marathon (13.1 miles) fields will leave at 8 a.m. from Howelsen Hill. The course then heads out Howelsen Parkway and River Road to the Dakota Ridge subdivision. While the 10K runners will head back to Howelsen, the half-marathoners will head up a hilly detour on Aspen Ridge Road before returning to Routt County Road 14 to clock more distance before hitting their turnaround point.

Last year's Mountain Madness race saw J.J. Huie scorch a 34-minute 10K time and Scott Kempers finish the half-marathon in one hour, 28 minutes as a cool morning thundershower soaked runners to the finish. Kempers is coming off a tight finish in the citizen's division of the June 30 USA Track & Field 10K Trail Championships, where he finished seventh. Like Kempers, the running series itself is gaining momentum.

City Councilman Ken Brenner expressed his satisfaction with the organization of the series, particularly for bringing the national championships to Steamboat.

"We have a great running series up here that's finally starting to get noticed," said Brenner, whose vote Tuesday was part of the council's unanimous decision to support the Running Series' bid to bring a world championship to Steamboat in 2009. "If you can bring the best in the world here, everyone else will follow."

No roads will be closed Sunday for the race. Registration costs $20 in advance at the Christy Sports in Central Park Plaza. Registration is $25 on Sunday and will begin at 6:30 a.m. at Howelsen. Entry fee includes SmartWool socks and a post-race lunch.

For more details, visit www.runningseries.com.

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