Ultramarathoners take off at noon Friday, set to run all day
September 13, 2013
Steamboat Springs — They didn't sprint.
When noon struck Friday, the four dozen members of the Hare division of the second-annual Run Rabbit Run trail ultramarathon took off from the base of Steamboat Ski Area at a decided trot, sticking together in one large group as they wound their way away from the civilization of the base area and up for what would be a long, wet and cold day of running.
No one sprints with more than 100-miles of trail ahead of them, but managing the first part of the race was definitely on the minds of those hoping to contend to win the race and its $10,000 first-place prize. If the event's first brutal year taught them anything, it's that there's no need to start with a sprint.
"I want to be more chill and let the day come to me," said Timothy Olson, who just finished another 100-mile race two weeks ago.
Olson entered last year's event as one of the favorites and for good reason. He was coming off a victory in the prestigious Western States 100. He spent much of the early portion of the race contending for the lead, but as the long night came on, he slipped back.
There were plenty of other things going on, he said Friday, just before he started the race for a second year. He had just become a father and was critically short on sleep, for instance.
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But one lesson he took away from the course that challenges runners with trips up and down the Routt County high country: There's no need to hurry.
"I feel really good mentally, and I'm ready to see how the day goes," said Olson, again coming off a victory in the Western States 100. "The altitude is hard. Run when you can, and if you have to hike, don't worry about it. Just keep moving forward."
Karl Metzler, last year's Run Rabbit Run champion, attacked the course with a patient approach a year ago and said he saw no reason to adjust. He finished in just more than 19 hours, at about 7 a.m.
"I didn't prepare any different," he said. "This is my 62nd time doing this, so I just need to do my own thing. Why would I change my strategy from last year? That was one of my best races, one of my best 100s ever."
Neither was worried about the potential for rain and cold.
"The nastier the better," Olson said.
Racers will begin trickling into the base area finish line early Saturday, and they will be finishing throughout the day.