Race to top of Hahn’s Peak premieres Saturday | SteamboatToday.com

Race to top of Hahn’s Peak premieres Saturday

The top of Hahn's Peak is covered in loose rock. A new Steamboat Springs Running Series event, set for Saturday, will give local runners the chance to run up the iconic North Routt mountain.

Running to the top of Hahn's Peak can be overwhelming, long-time Clark resident Nora McKay said, and that's not just for the obvious reasons, such as the fact that the North Routt County mountain tops out at 10,774 feet, a lung-burning climb for most runners.

The clean air, the history, the views, it all adds up for McKay.

"There's a spiritual feeling up there," she said. "The views are 360 degrees. You can see all the way to Wyoming, all the lakes, and every turn there's something new to see."

She runs the trails to the top of the peak every other week during the summer. Only an injury sustained last week kept her from an annual Fourth of July-morning pilgrimage with friends to the top of the peak this week.

"You can see the beauty of North Routt. You can see for miles," she said.

That's what inspired her to try to share that beauty with like-minded runners. McKay will serve Saturday as a race director for the Hahn's Peak Hill Climb, a new race in the Steamboat Springs Running Series.

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The event starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at The Cabins at Historic Columbine. Runners will head up to the top of the peak, then return on an out-and-back course that stretches 7.3 miles.

McKay is directing the event with Steamboat Springs-based ultra-marathon runner Avery Collins.

Registration remains open online at http://www.RunningSeries.com for $40, including a T-shirt, and $30 for a no-frills option. Runners younger than 17 will pay $1 per year of their age. (That doesn't include a T-shirt.)

Online registration closes at 8 p.m. Thursday, but runners can also sign up through Friday at Twisted Trails Running Company in downtown Steamboat Springs.

The race gains 2,000 feet from the starting line, following forest road, double-track and single-track trails to the top of one of Routt County's most iconic mountains.

The hardest part, McKay said, is the bare, loose rock slope that defines the final section of the climb.

She said they'll encourage runners to take their time on those loose rocks to avoid spraining an ankle. Runners may also take their time on those upper-mountain sections to soak in the immense views that inspired the race in the first place.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9