Erin Taylor and dog Brody and Chris Taylor and Dee jog along the Yampa River Core Trail on Wednesday afternoon in Steamboat Springs. Runners of all types will take to the roads and trails this summer for the Steamboat Springs Running Series, which kicks off its season in about nine days with the Spirit Challenge.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Erin Taylor and dog Brody and Chris Taylor and Dee jog along the Yampa River Core Trail on Wednesday afternoon in Steamboat Springs. Runners of all types will take to the roads and trails this summer for the Steamboat Springs Running Series, which kicks off its season in about nine days with the Spirit Challenge.

Return of Steamboat Springs Running Series nears

July, August races likely to fill

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Editor's note: The cost of each race can be found at www.runningseries.com.

Since it’s nearly time to race, it’s definitely time to register.

The first race of the 2012 Steamboat Springs Running Series is just nine days away, and series director Cara Marrs said the earlier that runners sign for races, the easier life becomes for organizers.

“We’re getting quite a few already,” Marrs said. “It’s pretty good for this time of year, but we want to remind people we have a cap on some of the races later in the summer, and they will fill up.”

The series begins May 12 with the Spirit Challenge, an event that will raise money for a donation to Yampa Valley Autism in the name of former series champ Jenna Gruben Morrill. The event will feature 5- and 10-kilometer runs starting at Steamboat Springs Middle School in Strawberry Park.

Registration is available at www.runningseries.com as well as at Ski Haus.

That’s only the first of what promises to be a summer filled with races, however. The Hayden Cog Run, which has been bumped up from its previous mid-June date, will follow May 19, a week after the Spirit Challenge.

“Although the Hayden Cog Run is only 8.5 miles, it’s probably as hard as the Steamboat half-marathon, so it’d be a great training run,” said Marrs.

“We’re hoping to get a lot of people out to Hayden, and we’re hoping it will help that it’s earlier,” she said.

There’s almost a month break after the Steamboat Marathon on June 3, but starting with the July 1 Mountain Madness half-marathon and 10-kilometer race, the schedule is packed. There’s an event at least once every two weeks from July through the season’s final race Sept. 22, the Emerald Mountain Trail Run.

During that time, the July 21 Spring Creek Memorial 9-mile race and the Aug. 19 Continental Divide Trail Run, a 16-mile test, are likely to fill. There also are caps on the Sept. 2 10K at 10,000 Feet and the newly reimagined Mount Werner Classic, this year a 50K trail run set to take place Aug. 4. The Sept. 14 and 15 Run, Rabbit Run ultramarathon already has filled its 50-mile distance. Room remains in the 100-miler, however.

“There’s definitely a good buzz about our series,” said Marrs, who took delight in strangers mentioning Steamboat races during a recent trip with her family to a race in Fruita.

“We have had a good buzz for the last couple of years, but it’s even more so now,” she said. “We have something for everyone. We have longer races for the people who want that, trial marathons and half-marathons and 10Ks and 5Ks. Every race will go to benefit a local organization, too. A lot of people don’t know that.”

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

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