Mount Werner Classic becoming a Steamboat Springs Running Series fixture | SteamboatToday.com

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Mount Werner Classic becoming a Steamboat Springs Running Series fixture

— As the Mount Werner Classic celebrated its second birthday Saturday as a 50-kilometer race — after years of being a 5- and 12-mile event — there was a sense that the hidden gem of trail running might not be hidden for too long.

"It hasn't sold out?" Boulder's John Anderson asked. "Well it's going to for years to come. Word will get out."

It kind of already has.

After the inaugural run saw a field of 60 runners in 2012, 97 signed up for the race this year.

The race began at the gondola, went up the mountain and onto Mountain View trail, then turned around at Long Lake and descended.

There were many parts that had racers thinking it soon will become a fixture among ultramarathoners.

The date puts it in a unique situation. Some runners Saturday used the course and 31-mile distance as a training run for upcoming 100-milers. With the Leadville 100 coming up and the Run Rabbit Run race ahead, Saturday was a good training session.

That's what Anderson was doing. The Boulder runner won the race in 4 hours, 47 minutes and 13 seconds. Anderson did the Run Rabbit Run 100-miler last year but got so lost that he was disqualified.

On Saturday, when he crossed the finish line at the base of the ski area, he looked as though he had just done a casual Sunday jog.

He wasn't sweating, panting or grimacing. He looked like he was ready for church.

"But I don't feel like it," he said.

The run fit in line with his training for the Run Rabbit Run. After not finishing last year, he's had a year to think about it.

"To run last year and not finish was disappointing," said Anderson, who is finishing his residency in Boulder for emergency medicine. "You want to come back and do well this year."

Anderson had nothing but nice things to say about the race, mentioning the 50-kilometer race already has a buzz on the Front Range.

That seemed to be the sentiment from the ultra running community.

"I had friends that did it last year, and it came highly recommended," said Cassie Scallon, who won the women's race in 5:29:22. "I don't think it will be low key for long."

Scallon, who runs for Salomon, also plans on doing the Run Rabbit Run race. After she crossed the finish line Saturday, again no worse for the wear, she said she planned to get more of a look at the Run Rabbit Run course.

There wasn't a celebratory drink in store, instead another mission.

"I hope to go on a night run” Saturday, she said.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com