Highlands Ranch resident Marlene Grooms nears the Thunderhead Peak finish of the scenic 12-mile course at the 2007 Mt. Werner Classic. The Mount Werner Classic returns as one of 14 races in the recently announced 2008 running schedule. The series, which was named the state's best series in Colorado Runner Magazine, is starting to receive statewide attention.

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Highlands Ranch resident Marlene Grooms nears the Thunderhead Peak finish of the scenic 12-mile course at the 2007 Mt. Werner Classic. The Mount Werner Classic returns as one of 14 races in the recently announced 2008 running schedule. The series, which was named the state's best series in Colorado Runner Magazine, is starting to receive statewide attention.

Magazine names Running Series 'state's best'

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Highlands Ranch resident Marlene Grooms nears the Thunderhead Peak finish of the scenic 12-mile course at the 2007 Mt. Werner Classic. The Mount Werner Classic returns as one of 14 races in the recently announced 2008 running schedule. The series, which was named the state's best series in Colorado Runner Magazine, is starting to receive statewide attention.

2008 Running Series schedule

- 10 a.m. May 3 Spirit Challenge - 10K and 5K running races on paved roads and track.

- 10 a.m. June 7 Hayden Cog Run - 8.4-mile uphill run and 5K on paved roads

- 7:30 a.m. June 1 Steamboat Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K on paved roads

- 8:30 a.m. June 29 USA Trail Championships

- 9 a.m. July 4 Steamboat Sprint - 400 yards down Lincoln Avenue

- 8 a.m. July 6 Mountain Madness - Half marathon on paved roads

- 8 a.m. July 12 Howelsen Hill 8-Miler trail run

- 8 a.m. July 26 Spring Creek Memorial - 9.5-mile and 5K trail runs on singletrack

- 8 a.m. Aug. 2 Mount Werner Classic - 12- and 5-mile trail runs

- Aug. 8 to 9 Wild West Relay 24-hour team relay

- 8 a.m. Aug. 17 Continental Divide - 16-mile trail run

- 10 a.m. Sept. 7 10K at 10,000 Feet - 10K trail run

- 9:30 a.m. Sept. 13 Kremmling Road Kill - Half marathon and 10K trail runs

- 9 a.m. Sept. 20 Run for Literacy - 7- and 3-mile trail run and walks

Registration available at www.active.com. For more information about the races and the race series, visit www.runningseries...>

— The Steamboat Springs Running Series is now catching the attention of runners statewide.

Colorado Runner Magazine's recently published November/December issue features its selections for the state's best runs. For the first time, the local Running Series earned the magazine's nod for Colorado's best race series.

"I love it," Christine Knight, the 2007 series overall female points winner, said after the Sept. 2 10K at 10,000 Feet race. The series "is cool, there's different prizes, and the directors change it up to put a different spin on each one. I'm new to the area, so it's been great to see all the different trails."

Series director John Chapman announced the 2008 Running Series schedule Tuesday. Events that have helped increase the series' exposure, such as the USA Trail Championships, will return with popular events that have helped increase attendance, such as the Fort Collins-to-Steamboat Wild West Relay. Also returning is the "keystone" Steamboat Marathon and local favorites including the Spring Creek Memorial - a race that Colorado Runner Magazine selected last year as one of the state's top 15 races - that are attracting the attention of regional runners.

The Hot Springs Shortcut is the only race that will not be returning to the series.

"It was supposed to be a crossover event with runners and bikers that we thought would appeal to the biking community," Chapman said. "We only had about 15 bikers this year, and that's a busy time of year as well."

The late-summer series finale, the 7.25-mile Run for Literacy, will return to replace the Shortcut and round out the 14-event schedule.

Chapman said the June 29 trail championships will be moved from the base of Mount Werner to Howelsen Hill. Chapman's hope is to lay out a women's 8K and a men's 12K course at Howelsen that would be comparable to the World Mountain Running Trophy course that Steamboat will host from September 17 to 19, 2009.

"We want to set the course and run it with people from the (World Mountain Running Association) to get a critique and get some feedback," Chapman said.

These championships will not serve as a national qualifier for the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team, but Chapman is submitting a bid to USA Track & Field to bring a qualifying national championship event to Steamboat in 2009.

For the time being, Chapman is working out the details of the worlds event Steamboat was awarded Sept. 17, from ironing out the TV rights to making contact with Colorado's various running clubs to help participate in event organization.

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