Steamboat Springs Boulder resident Chris Stone said he’s a regular. He runs trails with a group of friends back home and frequently gets up into the mountains to run, sometimes for a race and sometimes just for fun.
Still, as he tried to cool down after completing Saturday’s Mountain Madness in Steamboat Springs, he said he was surprised.
“It was one of the most scenic road running courses I’ve ever done,” said Stone, who was ninth in the half-marathon. “It was just fantastic.”
Stone had plenty of fellow believers Saturday, as a massive crowd showed up at the starting line. It didn’t have the effect of swamping the staff like a similar swarm did last year because the vast majority had preregistered. Still, the attendance numbers swept away any previous records for the race as about 230 started the two events, a half-marathon and a 10-kilometer race.
Competitors came from across the state and even the country, with at least 12 states represented.
“It was a great day,” race director Scott Blair said. “People love running here. We get great feedback.”
Many of the racers may have traveled for the event, but many of the top finishers were plenty familiar to locals.
Scott Brane won the men’s 10-kilometer race, the day’s event that counted toward season-long Steamboat Springs Running Series points. His victory helped secure his spot atop the men’s standings.
“I tried to go out fast and get a lead so I could cruise,” Brane said. “With so many tourists in town, you never know who will show up and run real fast. So I got a lead and built a little advantage. Still, I had to work hard. It’s not an easy course.”
Derek Leidigh was second in the race at 38:23 and Asher Rohde was third in 38:38.
Steamboat’s Mary Schuette won the women’s race in 49:30, ahead of local Lisa Adams in second at 50:19. Only a late run by Amy Rounkle, who finished third in 50:52, kept the women’s 10K from being an all-local podium.
Stuart Geer, of Boulder, hung back early in the men’s half-marathon before surging past Steamboat’s Allen Belshaw at the 9-mile mark. He carried that momentum on to win the race in 1:27:48.
Belshaw was second at 1:29:32, and Harald Niedl was third in 1:32:32.
“Allen was ahead of me, and he’s tough,” Geer said. “I was pretty pleased when I caught up to him. We had four miles to go. I was hoping to finish strong, and that paid off for me.”
Katie Mazzia won the women’s half, finishing in 1:41:00. Kelly Bedell was second in 1:44:20, and Hannah Williams was third at 1:44:50.
“My friends were coming up to do the half-marathon, so I thought it’d be fun to come do something different,” said Mazzia, who traveled from Eagle for the race. “I also knew Jenna (Gruben Morrill), and I wanted to come up here and run in honor of her. I’ll also come back and do a trail race for her. I love it up here.”