Mount Werner Classic goes green

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If you go

What: 15th annual Mount Werner Classic five- and 12-mile runs

When: Twelve-mile race begins at 8 a.m. and 5-mile race starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday

Where: Race starts at base of the gondola and finishes at the top

Registration and cost: Preregistration available at www.runningseries... or until noon today at Ski Haus. Cost is $20. Race-day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday in Gondola Square. Cost is $25.

— There are a lot of things to like about the 15th annual Mount Werner Classic.

The scenery during the 5- and 12-mile races, for example. Race routes climb some of the most spectacular parts of the mountain, allowing for late summer views not seen often in the valley.

And for the second straight year, the race has teamed up with the citys' Green Team to make it a more environmentally friendly event. The biggest effort is to completely eliminate cups from this year's race by using handheld water bottles. Runners are asked to bring their own bottle or portable drinking device, such as a CamelBak. If runners don't come equipped, instead of a post-race shirt, they'll be given a water bottle.

Other efforts include recycling old trail and road running shoes at the start. Shoes will be donated to Soles4Souls. Carbon offsets for runners who travel more than 50 miles to the race, biodegradable flatwear and napkins, and organic food will be used.

"It was a personal challenge to take the event to a new level," race director Emily Conjura said. "Even trail running has the green mystique, but there is definitely a lot of waste of these byproducts. They still produce quite a bit of waste. By eliminating cups, that's going to reduce three-fourths of what we'll put in the landfill. That's important to me."

The race pits runners against true trail running on either a 5-mile course or 12-mile course.

The 5-mile course covers 2,180 vertical feet, climbing the Right-O-Way trail to Valley View and up to Huffman's before finishing at the top of the gondola.

The 12-mile course follows the same path as the 5-mile course, but racers will cut across to Duster and the Rendezvous Restaurant after Valley View. Runners will continue up Pete's Wicked trail and over to the Storm Peak Challenge before they descend down to the top of the gondola.

"Challenging is a good word," Conjura said.

Preregistration is available at www.runningseries.com or until noon today at Ski Haus. Race-day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday in Gondola Square. The 12-mile run begins at 8 a.m. with the 5-mile run to start at 8:30 a.m.

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