Mountain Madness race could draw crowd in Steamboat

Half-marathon, 10K among Steamboat Springs Running Series’ most popular events

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If you go

What: Mountain Madness Half-marathon and 10-kilometer race

When: The half-marathon starts at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, and the 10K starts at 8 a.m.

Where: The races start in front of the Howelsen Ice Arena on River Road in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Cost: Registration is $25. Organizers encourage racers to register early online at www.runningseries.com.

Other: Organizers also encouraged racers to ride bikes or walk to the starting line, which is near downtown. Parking is limited at the ice arena.

Past Event

Running Series: Mountain Madness half-marathon, 10K

  • Saturday, July 3, 2010, 7:30 a.m.
  • Howelsen Park Ice Arena, 285 Howelsen Parkway, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / $25 - $30

More

— Scott Blair said the experience was a little overwhelming last year as he sat behind a registration table and watched wave after wave of racers show up.

The Mountain Madness half-marathon and 10-kilometer race was the first Steamboat Springs Running Series event he directed, and as the waves came, he did the only thing he knew was necessary.

“We called and ordered more lunches,” he said.

The Running Series has enjoyed a swell of popularity in the past year, and that event was one of the first signs of the trend. Now all the evidence again points to a crowd that threatens to stretch Saturday morning’s race at the seams.

This time, though, series organizers hope they’re ready.

“It worked out fine last year in the end,” Blair said. “Now, we’re anticipating it a little bit more. I have more people to help out, and hopefully it will all go a little smoother.”

Saturday’s half-marathon starts at 7:30 a.m. from the parking lot of the Howelsen Ice Arena, and the 10K race starts from the same place at 8.

All the racers will stream down Routt County Road 14, River Road, and then duck up into the Dakota Ridge development.

The half-marathoners will continue around a long loop before ending back on River Road.

Runners in the shorter race, meanwhile, will turn around soon after entering the development, and all will return to the finish line on River Road.

The 10K is almost entirely flat with one small hill. Only the cut through Dakota Ridge adds rolling terrain for the half-marathon runners.

There will be plenty of people on hand for the experience.

Last year’s race, which stretched organizers to find enough lunches and enough bibs after a massive walk-up crowd caught them off guard, consisted of about 150 runners. Series director Cara Marrs said 140 racers had registered as of Thursday afternoon.

“We have people from Texas and New Mexico, Louisiana, California, Nebraska, Illinois, Utah, Missouri, Wyoming, South Carolina and Florida, and of course a ton from the Front Range,” Marrs said. “We are getting e-mails from all over asking about hills or running at this elevation. There are quite a few people excited for this race.”

A few of the series’ races are capped, but most of those are trail events later in the season. Even some of those are nearly full, but Marrs said they’ve never had to even think of putting a cap on a road race before.

They won’t start this weekend. Any runners beyond the first 200 to sign up won’t get a T-shirt, but anyone who ponies up the $25 registration fee is plenty welcome to give the course a go.

“If we get around 200 or a little more, we can definitely handle that,” Marrs said. “We don’t want our races to be gigantic, though, so if it goes way over that, we’ll look at capping it next year.”

Saturday’s race marks the fifth in the season-long Run­ning Series points race. This year, only one distance per event counts to the points. The 10-kilometer will be counted Saturday, marking the last time this year the shorter option will be the points-awarding one.

The Steamboat Sprint, set for Sunday on Lincoln Avenue, won’t be a point-awarding event. It is a 400-yard dash that will start at 9:40 a.m. from Ninth Street and Lincoln, in front of Lyon’s Drug Store.

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

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