Challenging trail to greet runners in 10K at 10,000 Feet

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What to wear

Temperatures at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass can be chilly this time of year. Organizers encourage runners to dress in layers, so that they are prepared for any weather.

If you go

What: 10K at 10,000 Feet, a Steamboat Springs Running Series race

When: Race starts at 10 a.m. Sunday. Day of race registration costs $25 and is from 9 to 9:30 a.m. Runners also can preregister for $20 online at www.runningseries...

Where: Follow U.S. Highway 40 to the top of Rabbit Ears Pass, take the Dumont Lake exit, and follow the road for 2 miles. The race will start in a parking lot just past the Dumont Lake Campground turnoff.

Up, up and up are the three words that race director Stephanie Scholl uses to describe the start of the 10K at 10,000 Feet.

"This is a difficult 10-kilometer race for several reasons," Scholl said. "There's the altitude and then the first three miles of the race are a climb."

But the challenge has not dampened enthusiasm for the scenic race, which has become one of the most popular in the Steamboat Springs Running Series each summer. This year, Scholl and her husband, Shawn, are directing the race, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary Sunday.

"We are expecting between 100 and 150 runners," Scholl said. "It's hard to say what's going to happen, but that's what we are planning for."

Scholl said the race always has been popular because it falls in the middle of a long holiday weekend, and also because it's nestled in the aspens, pines and scenic mountain trails at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass.

The race is open to runners and walkers, and for the first time, participants can choose between a 5-kilometer or 10-kilometer racecourse.

The 10-kilometer race begins at 10 a.m. in the parking lot just past the Dumont Lake campground and follows double- and single-track trails in a large loop. The 5-kilometer course starts at the same time in the same place. It follows the same route at the start, but after the climb, the shorter course breaks away and takes runners towards the Rabbit Ears rock formation. Once the runners reach the midway point, they will turn around and return to the start-finish area on the same trails.

Scholl said runners should be prepared for any weather and should wear lots of layers to the events. Temperatures tend to be cool in the morning, and Scholl said runners should expect to spend a little more time on the course in this race.

She added that it's also important to be warmed up before the start of the race.

"It's a climb from the start, so you want to be ready to go," Scholl said.

The 10K at 10,000 Feet is the 10th race of the season. The Running Series hosts two more events: the Emerald Mountain Trail Run on Sept. 12 and the Run Rabbit Run race on Sept. 19.

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