If you go
What: 31st annual Hayden Cog Run. The Cog Run is a steep 8.4-mile run north out of Hayden. The day also includes 5- and 10-kilometer races that go south of town.
When: Races start at 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Racers start at the Hayden Town Park on South Third Street
Cost: Racers can register for $25 on the day of the race or for $20 in advance. Registration is available at the Town Hall in Hayden and Ski Haus until noon today, and online at www.runningseries...>
Don Platt runs in the Steamboat Springs Running Series events when he can, weaving the events in between his treks across the country for 100-mile ultra marathons.
"I usually do the 10k at 10,000 Feet and try to do the Continental Divide run and the Mount Werner Classic if I'm in town," Platt said. "But the Hayden Cog Run, I never miss the Cog Run."
Platt said he loves the annual multi-race event, in which runners of the longest competition are cast up the steep slopes just outside Hayden. The run up is a challenge, he said, and the run down a thrill. And for the 22nd consecutive time, it will be enough Saturday to convince him to make the drive over to Hayden for the 10 a.m. race.
"I just really like it because I like the course," Platt said of the day's namesake 8.4-mile run up the Cog Road. "It's two miles that are really flat, then two miles up, two miles down, then flat again.
"You can run really fast on that downhill."
Saturday's race will mark the 31st year for the Cog Run. Hayden Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Hockett said she is hoping a day full of events and the option to run several shorter races will help others find as much to love as Platt does.
Both 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer runs will start along side the Cog race at 10 a.m.
"A lot of people don't realize when we say 'Cog Run' we're referring to the shorter races as well," Hockett said about the 5 and 10k, which are about 3 and 6 miles. "Those distances aren't as intimidating. People can run or walk them if they'd like."
The shorter races head out of town in the opposite direction as the Cog Run runners, bolting south to the hills surrounding Hayden.
The Cog Run, meanwhile, goes north and up the steep slopes outside town.
"It's a very steep incline, and yes, it's a challenge," Hockett said. "For those looking for a challenge, they'll find it."
Hockett said pre-race registrations are lagging a little behind last year's, which she said was disappointing, as she didn't deem last year's number sufficient.
"The numbers have cycled back down. They probably peaked in about the 10th or 15th year and have been steadily declining since," she said. "The race has a character that sets it all by itself. Just in terms of the history and how it's kept going all these years, it's unique."
Still, no matter who else shows up, there's one fan the Cog Run is sure not to lose.
"It's a good hard run," Platt said. "I'm 55 years old now, so I just try to run it as hard as I can. It's a great fun run, and there are a lot of nice people. I just like it."