Running Series makes 2016 debut with Saturday’s Cog Run | SteamboatToday.com

Running Series makes 2016 debut with Saturday’s Cog Run

Austin Colbert

Women's division winner Penelope Freedman runs up Routt County Road 76 during the 2015 Hayden Cog Run. The 2016 version is set for 10 a.m. Saturday.

— Nothing says summer is here — or on the doorstep, at least — like the return of the Steamboat Springs Running Series, which gets underway at 10 a.m. Saturday with the Hayden Cog Run.

A longtime staple of West Routt County, the race features 8.4-mile and 5-kilometer courses, the long-distance event a difficult out-and-back down County Road 76 with the turnaround point at the top of the infamous Hayden Cog.

The 5K course is an out-and-back down County Road 53. Both races begin at the Hayden Town Park on Third Street.

"Looking at the Cog, registration is looking really good," said Running Series co-director Cara Marrs. "There has been tons of buzz and emails about the series."

The changes to this year's Running Series are small, but noticeable for series veterans. For long-distance junkies, the addition of a 50K race for the Aug. 20 Continental Divide Trail Run is a plus and will be prime training for the Sept. 16 Run Rabbit Run 100 mile and 50 mile ultras.

"We are really excited to have a 50K again," Marrs said. "… it's probably not a good beginner 50K, but it is really a fabulous race to do if you are doing Run Rabbit Run 100, for sure."

Recommended Stories For You

The only new race this year is the Oak Creek No Fun Run 6K, held on Labor Day in South Routt. The race takes place the day after the Sept. 4 10K at 10,000 Feet trail race.

"Years ago, there used to be a shorter race that was done in Oak Creek on Monday, which sort of coordinates with their Labor Day festivities," Marrs said. "It's kind of nice that now, again, we have a race in all the towns in Routt County, more or less."

There are also plans to have more one-mile races for kids, with untimed races currently planned for the May 21 Spirit Challenge, July 23 Spring Creek Memorial and Sept. 24 Emerald Mountain Trail Run.

Marrs said the series sponsors remain relatively unchanged from previous years, with Twisted Trails Running Company again onboard as the title sponsor.

"We are also partnering up with the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council in our quest to have many of the races, if not all of them at some point, be zero waste," Marrs said. "That's super important for us, to make the races all low-impact and green."

Registration for the Running Series races is ongoing at runningseries.com, including for the fast-approaching June 5 Steamboat Marathon. The Run Rabbit Run 100-mile race is already sold out, with only a handful of spots remaining for the 50-mile version.

Along with online pre-registration, Saturday's Cog Run in Hayden is also offering on-site registration from 9 to 9:30 a.m. the morning of the race. Both the 8.4-mile and 5K races cost $25, with the money going toward the race sponsor, Hayden Parks and Recreation.

Last year's Cog Run winners included locals Jesse Wilkins and Penelope Freedman, the overall Running Series champion for 2015.

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

2016 Running Series schedule

Saturday, Hayden Cog Run (8.4M, 5K)

May 21, Spirit Challenge (10K, 5K, Fun Run)

June 5, Steamboat Marathon (Full, Half, 10K, Fun Run)

June 18, Howelsen Hill Trail Run (8M, 4M)

July 2, Mountain Madness (13.1M, 10K)

July 23, Spring Creek Memorial (9.5M, 5K)

Aug. 14, Steamboat Stinger (Full and Half trail marathons)

Aug. 20, Continental Divide Trail Run (50K, 16M)

Sept. 4, 10K at 10,000 Feet (10K, 5K)

Sept. 5, Oak Creek No Fun Run (6K road and trail)

Sept. 16-17, Run Rabbit Run (100 and 50 mile ultras)

Sept. 24, Emerald Mountain Trail Run (12K, 5K, Fun Run)