High participation in 25th annual Steamboat Pentathlon | SteamboatToday.com

High participation in 25th annual Steamboat Pentathlon

Nearly 200 participate in 25th annual event at Howelsen Hill

Steamboat Springs resident Sam Rush completes the skiing leg of the Steamboat Pentathlon on Saturday at Howelsen Hill.

— The 25th annual Steamboat Pentathlon was celebrated with a strong showing Saturday at Howelsen Hill.

Nearly 200 people participated in the event, which was organized by the city of Steamboat Springs, including nearly 50 athletes from Manic Training.

As usual, the race was a lung buster.

Individuals and teams took on either the long or short course.

The long course took participants on a 500-vertical-foot run up Howelsen Hill, where they strapped on either skis or snowboards to come back down. There was then a 2.4-mile snowshoe run, 4.3 miles of Nordic skiing, 12.8 miles of mountain biking on River Road and a four-mile run along the Yampa River Core trail.

The short course distances were 300 feet up Howelsen Hill, a 1.6-mile snowshoe, a 1.9-mile Nordic ski, a 7.4-mile mountain bike ride and a two-mile run.

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Through the years, the race has become a tradition for some of Steamboat’s best athletes.

Barkley Robinson won the long course in the men’s division and said he thought it was his 15th time racing and his seventh win.

“It’s cool this race has been going on 25 years,” Robinson said. “It was really good course conditions today. Fast snow and warm weather.”

Former professional triathlete Heather Gollnick was the first woman to cross the long-course finish line.

Jeff Minotto won the short course for the men. He said it was his third or fourth time winning.

“The short course is really up my alley,” Minotto said. “High intensity. Go hard the whole way.”

The Steamboat Pentathlon is a unique race, and Minotto said experience plays a big role in making the podium.

“That’s part of doing this race,” Minotto said. “Each year, you learn what works and what doesn’t work.”

Jody Corey finished the short course first for the women.

The pentathlon has also proven to be a friendly event for first-timers.

Peggy Axtell’s job on her team was to run up the hill and ski down.

“The ambulance was standing by,” Axtell quipped.

It was the first time in a long time Axtell had participated in a race.

“It’s going to motivate me to change my life,” Axtell said while eating a generous lunch. “Maybe I shouldn’t eat this.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland