Steamboat Springs When the Steamboat Marathon was first officially ran in the early summer 1981, Kim Carne’s “Bette Davis Eyes” was atop the Billboard 100, “Excalibur” led box office sales and Pixie Boots were the newest “hip” style.
Unlike the trends of that time, the Steamboat Marathon has endured.
The annual event, organized by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, will have its 32nd running beginning at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, and despite slightly declining numbers in registration, an estimated 1,600 participants will compete in the full 26.2-mile marathon, the 13.1-mile half-marathon or the 10-kilometer race.
The day also includes a 11:45 a.m. fun run for children at the finish-line area in front of the Routt County Courthouse in downtown Steamboat.
Many of this weekend’s racers will have just a short commute to the race from their homes in the Yampa Valley, but the event also attracts some top runners from across the state and nation.
“It’s just fun to compete against the locals and out-of-towners,” said Harry Niedl, a regular participant in the half-marathon. “It’s a beautiful course.”
Sarah Leonard, the Chamber’s director of special events, echoed that sentiment.
“People come up year after year to run it,” she said. “You don’t always get to run in such a beautiful place.”
The marathon course starts in Hahn’s Peak Village and winds down Elk River Road before finishing in downtown Steamboat, while the half-marathon begins at the midway point of the marathon course. The 10K race takes a different route, beginning on Fifth Street and continuing to Routt County Road 36 in Strawberry Park before returning to downtown.
As is typical, the Steamboat Marathon will result in the closure of the westbound lanes of Lincoln Avenue from Fifth to 11th streets from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. There also will be traffic delays along Elk River Road throughout the first half of the day.
Registration for the event is still available online at www.SteamboatMarathon.com or in person at the Steamboat Springs Visitors Center on Anglers Drive before the end of the business day Friday.
Packet pick-up is from noon to 5 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill. Buses will load marathon participants beginning at 5:45 a.m. Sunday at Eighth and Oak streets; and at 6 a.m. for half-marathon runners.
With a weather forecast calling for sunny skies and a high of 75 degrees Sunday, the allure of the Steamboat Marathon is likely to grow.
“It’s become an iconic Steamboat event,” Leonard said.
It’s something not all things that took root in 1981 can claim.