Mountain Madness gives runners one more go on the pavement | SteamboatToday.com

Mountain Madness gives runners one more go on the pavement

Austin Colbert

— For fans of the Steamboat Springs Running Series who enjoy the pavement, Saturday's Mountain Madness half marathon and 10-kilometer races are something of a last hoorah for the summer schedule.

While this weekend's race is only the fifth of 11 planned events in which runners can earn points toward the series championship, it's the final race that takes place exclusively off the trail.

"This is the only bigger road run," race director Tyler Jacobs said. "This is a real half marathon. You can only do another half at the Steamboat Marathon."

Saturday's half marathon gets underway at 7:30 a.m., while the 10K will begin at 8 a.m. Both races start on River Road, near the Parks and Recreation building at 245 Howelsen Parkway, next to the ice rink. It's the beginning of a busy Fourth of July in Steamboat.

Last year's race took place on July 5, and Jacobs said he has already seen an increase in interest this season with the race taking place on Independence Day.

"People can go park, do the race and then walk up to the parade. I think that's what is drawing a lot of people," Jacobs said. "Do something healthy before going and having a nice party and barbecue."

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As of Wednesday afternoon, approximately 170 people had pre-registered for the two races. With day-of sign-ups, Jacobs expects to have around 200 combined runners for the races.

The 10K course is an out-and-back that takes runners down River Road and up Dakota Ridge with about 200 feet of elevation from the start to the turnaround point.

The half marathon will continue from there, taking runners around Aspen Ridge Road to a high point of 7,075 feet, more than 300 feet higher than the start. The course then drops back down to River Road (Routt County Road 14), where an aid station will greet runners at the turn around before a straight shot back to the finish line.

"It's pretty quiet, so it works great for this race," Jacobs said. "The 10K goes up a little bit into there and then turns around and comes back, where as the half goes up Aspen Ridge Road and keeps going, and it's a pretty decent climb. Then they shoot down and intersect back on the River Road."

For those who are pre-registered, packet pick-up will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Friday at Twisted Trails Running Company, 601 Lincoln Avenue, located between Sixth and Seventh streets. To register, visit runningseries.com.

The non-profit benefactor of this year's race is the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurses Association.

Also Saturday, the City of Steamboat Springs Parks and Community Services department will hold its 24th annual Steamboat Sprint at 9:40 a.m. The 400-yard dash down Lincoln Avenue costs $5, with registration taking place from 9 to 9:30 a.m. at Ninth Street and Lincoln, in front of Lyon's Drug. No pre-registration is available.

Awards will be given in eight different divisions, male and female categories, for ages 10 and under, 11-16, 17-40, and 41-plus.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert