Howelsen Hill running event returns to Steamboat on Saturday |

Howelsen Hill running event returns to Steamboat on Saturday

Runners can race in 4- or 8-mile runs

— Walter Magill was just another competitor in last weekend's Mountain Madness race, part of the Steamboat Springs Running Series, but afterward he was the first to step before the crowd gathered for the post-race awards ceremony and speak.

"I have to make sure we have people for my race," he'd said earlier in the day.

He threw out a sales pitch to what was one of the largest fields the Running Series has ever played host to, but it looks like he had nothing to worry about.

The How­el­­sen Hill 8-miler returns to Steam­­boat Springs at 8 a.m. Saturday, and it looks like there will be another healthy crowd on hand.

Magill, who will serve as the race director this weekend, said more than 50 people already had preregistered as of Thursday afternoon and that he was expecting a walk-up crowd that would easily push the race beyond last year's 70 participants.

"We're hoping for 100 racers," he said.

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Outside of the potential for more participants, Saturday's event won't change from last year's. There still will be two options for runners, the signature 8-mile trail run and a less demanding 4-mile trail run. The course also won't be modified, thanks to some help from Rogue Resources, which agreed to halt its beetle-kill logging operations on Emerald Mountain to allow access only during the event.

The only thing Magill said he even considered changing was the name.

"The Howelsen Hill part, that intimidates people," he said. "It's not straight up Howelsen. It's a rolling trail along the Buffs Loop and Lupine Loop. The only steep part is the road up to the quarry. It's nothing that should intimidate anyone."

The race will mark the next stage in what has turned into a tight points race for the season-long Running Series championship.

Scott Brane won Saturday's Mountain Madness 10-kilometer race with what was perhaps his best race of the still-young running season, but even as he caught his breath and soaked in the short-term satisfaction afterward, he acknowledged that it all may be for naught in the long term.

He took on that day's 10K rather than the more challenging half-marathon because the shorter race was the only one that awarded points toward the Steamboat Springs Running Series championship.

"But I can't make them all," he said, moments after securing his place atop the current standings. "I have to miss one because of a wedding. Can't skip that."

Brane, who is working his way through his first full season on the series circuit, doesn't have much room for error. He's currently on top of the men's standings with 57 points. He's won two events this season and finished second in another, but he's only one point ahead of Derek Leidigh, who has finished one spot behind Brane in every event the two have raced together.

The pair appear to be in a head-to-head clash for the long haul as they hold substantial leads on third-place Jay Willson, who has 24 points.

Cara Marrs, meanwhile, is in command of the women's standings with 46 points. Mary Schuette is close behind with 40, and Deb Freeman is third with 37. It's a steep drop to fourth-place Di­­anne Carter's 23.

Last weekend's 10K was the last time this summer the shorter of an event's race options will be the one that counts for points. The 8-miler will count Saturday, and the longer race will count for the rest of the season.

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail

Steamboat Springs Running Series women's season points

1. Cara Marrs 46

2. Mary Schuette 40

3. Deb Freeman 37

4. Dianne Carter 23

5. Amy Schneider 20

5. Tabor Scholl 20

7. Lisa Adams 19

7. Kimberly Eytel 19

7. Kristen Moore 19

10. Linda Casner 17

10. Emily Hannah 17

10. Shannon Simmons 17

13. Anita Fromm 16

13. Amy Rounkle 16

13. Joy Stearns 16

16. Denise Heil 14

16. Kellie Metcalf 14

16. Mary Rose 14

16. Chelsea-Anne Yepello 14

20. Rachel Horvath 13

21. Kathy Vanblarcum 12

21. Amy Wilson 12

23. Kelsey Burwell 11

23. Mikhaela Frias 11

23. Gail Garey 11

23. Debbie Johnston 11

27. Mari Bashor 10

27. Kelly Bedell 10

27. Kaitlin Blackburn 10

27. Dorothy Bradley 10

27. Katie Fisher 10

27. Atsuko Ohtake 10

27. Ali Shafer 10

27. Fiona Weeks 10

Steamboat Springs Running Series men's season points

1. Scott Brane 57

2. Derek Leidigh 56

3. Jay Willson 24

4. Tom Nelson 21

5. Dan Edstrom 20

5. Stephen Moxey 20

7. Allen Belshaw 18

7. Asher Rohde 18

7. Gabriel Small 18

10. Craig Heacock 17

11. Tyler Scholl 17

11. Todd Trapp 17

13. Thomas Whalen 16

14. Bill Hintze 15

14. James Morton 15

14. Joseph Robinson 15

14. Ken Rogers 15

18. Gus Allen 14

19. John Nyen 13

19. Matthew Raterman 13

21. Bradley Carlson 12

21. Alex Moore 12

21. Kent Oglesby 12

21. Dave Terranova 12

21. Charle Vonthaden 12

26. Michael Allen 10

26. Russell Ball 10

26. Larry Haines 10

26. Lee Kelton 10

26. Ron Martin 10

26. Bill Mccalla 10

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