Steamboat Springs The Run Rabbit Run 50-mile race’s rapid growth reached a new level last week when the race was added to the Montrail Ultra Cup race series.
That distinction ensures that the race, entering its fourth year, will attract some of the country’s top ultramarathon runners.
The announcement helped push the Sept. 18 event over the edge in terms of registrations for this year. The event hit its 150-racer cap Tuesday.
“Our first year, we thought we might get 35 runners,” said Fred Abramowitz, one of the race’s founders. “We ended up with 80, but still the notion that in four years we could fill our race with two months to go would have never crossed my mind. It’s great — great for our charities we support, and it’s great for Steamboat.”
The Montrail Ultra Cup runs from one summer to the next. The 2009-10 season included 11 races in all corners of the United States. It wrapped up in June with the Western States 100 in Squaw Valley, Calif. Steamboat’s race will come early in the 2010-11 season and will award four spots — two male and two female — to next summer’s Western States 100, the series’ premier event.
“That’s a hard race to get into,” Abramowitz said about the Western States event. “People want to get those slots. They have to go into a lottery otherwise.”
Abramowitz said he never expected the race to be as popular as it has proven, but he’s not exactly surprised, either.
The race, which starts and finishes at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, includes nearly 9,000 feet of climbing as it pushes toward its turnaround point on Rabbit Ears Pass.
“It’s probably one of the most beautiful courses in America,” he said. “I’d like to think people like how well organized it is and how much fun it is. In the ultra community, a lot of it is word of mouth, and I hear people talking about our race.
“There is definitely a buzz that we have a good race, that ‘you need to do it.’”