Continental Divide looms large for Steamboat Running Series racers

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— There was a time — recently, in fact — when the Steamboat Springs Running Series’ 15-mile Continental Divide Trail Run was the series’ most demanding event.

Recent years have brought about longer races, however. There’s the Mount Werner Classic’s 50 kilometers of trail and the 100-mile Run, Rabbit Run ultra-marathon. Even last week’s inaugural 26.2-mile Steamboat Stinger trail marathon was longer.

Still, any regular regional runner knows better than to expect a week off. And while the Continental Divide Trail Run may have been surpassed in length by other events, it’s still a gruel.

The race begins at 8 a.m. Sunday morning at the base of Fish Creek Falls. It starts with a grinding climb up that rocky, steep trail before leveling off to some degree in the high country. Racers climb again to the top of the Steamboat Ski Area before the trail dashes back down toward the Thunderhead finish at the top of the gondola.

The event has a cap of 120 racers, and several spots remain. Registration is available for $35 at www.runningseries.com.

Running Series director Cara Marrs said the field looks to be filled with tough-minded locals and a lot of out-of-town runners.

“Even just four or five years ago this race would have about 45 people in it. People thought it was too hard, but now it’s totally indicative of what’s going on everywhere in the country with trail races,” Marrs said. “Trail running is a hugely growing sport. This race is a great distance and it really brings out a lot of runners.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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