Trail runners head for Howelsen for race

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Scott Kemper runs downhill during last year's 8-Miler at Howelsen Hill. This year's race is Saturday.

If you go

What: Howelsen Hill 8-Miler, a Steamboat Springs Running Series event that includes an eight- and a four-mile trail running loop on the singletrack trails of Howelsen Hill and Emerald Mountain.

When: 8 a.m. start outside the Howelsen Hill Lodge.

How: Race registration is $20 until noon today at the Central Park Plaza Christy Sports or $25 starting at 7 a.m. Saturday in Olympian Hall.

— Walter Magill figured that if he liked running on Howelsen Hill's singletrack trails enough to organize a race, others would be sure to follow.

Last year, more than 60 runners showed for the first annual Howelsen Hill 8-Miler. Magill explained the loop route that winds up to the Quarry on Emerald Mountain be-

fore joining the pack of runners.

He plans to pull off another year of dual duty as race director/contender at Saturday's race.

The eighth Steamboat Springs Run-

ning Series event starts at 8 a.m. outside the Howelsen Hill Lodge. The eight-mile climb will follow the same route as last year - out the Bluffs Loop, up the Brian's Worry switchbacks to Lupine Trail and topping out at the Quarry before heading down along MGM and Mile Run back to the finish.

"I like to show people how fun Howelsen is to run on," Magill said. "People just think mountain biking, but I work downtown, so it's nice to head over there for a run."

This year's race also includes a four-mile event. Proceeds from the race will help benefit the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, which Magill was quick to point out was instrumental in the recent improvements to the Lupine Trail.

"Walt does a great job setting a neat course, and the downhill is so fun, weaving and running through the switchbacks," Running Series director John Chapman said.

Last year, Patrick Hanson, a Fort Collins resident who won the June 16 Hot Springs Short Cut Run, established the course record in 57 minutes. With second-place finisher Scott Kempers out of town, Magill will be watching out for Travis Mattern, the top local finisher at the June 30 USA Track & Field 10K Trail Championships citizens race.

But, of course, Chapman noted the race director should not be ruled out on the course of his own design. With points tabulated from three Running Series events, Magill currently leads the overall male standings.

Race registration is $20 until noon today at the Central Park Plaza Christy Sports or $25 starting at 7 a.m. Saturday in Olympian Hall. Entry includes a T-shirt and a chance at raffle prizes. Visit www.runningseries.com for more information.

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