Turkey Trot sees big turnout despite snow | SteamboatToday.com

Turkey Trot sees big turnout despite snow

Austin Colbert

— A layer of fresh snow wasn't going to slow Bruce Darcy Thursday morning, nor was the warmth and comfort of his own bed. A 2015 Steamboat Springs High School graduate, Darcy was bursting at the seams to be reunited with his hometown buddies.

"Honestly, I jumped out of bed at the chance to go run with my old friends," said Darcy, who currently attends the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. "I love coming back and seeing all my old friends and just having a good time out there running. It was a blast. I loved it."

Darcy, a former cross country and track athlete for the Sailors, was back in town for Thanksgiving and decided to spend Thursday morning running in the annual Turkey Trot race at the high school, which serves as a fundraiser for both teams.

"It just made it a little more fun and adventurous," said race director Erik Ramstad of the overnight snow. "It's a fantastic fundraiser for the team. … It was a great turnout. Really excited."

Ramstad, who helps coach the cross country and track teams at SSHS, could be found near the start-finish line in front of the high school, taking down times and shouting an occasional, "Nice job! Finish it out!" Ramstad said he didn't know the reason, but this year's event saw an unexpectedly high number of runners compared to the past few years.

Even before the latecomers Thursday morning, 233 people had pre-registered for the race, with 115 signing up in the final two days, Ramstad said.

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"It was very fun to see it grow this year," Ramstad said. "We shortened it up a little bit this year in distance … the course is still burly. I've heard a few people talking already. But I don't know if there is any way to do it in Steamboat where it's not overly crazy or hilly."

Formerly a 4.6-mile race, event organizers decided to shorten this year's course to five kilometers, or 3.1 miles, to entice more people to come out. That, along with slightly cheaper registration costs, led to one of the best crowds in recent years.

While times were recorded, the race had fewer true competitive runners and more families, children, strollers and dogs. The course took participants from the high school down Amethyst Drive and past the Strawberry Park schools complex, then back.

"It was a great course. Down in Fort Collins, it's pretty flat there, and I like hills. This is a good course for me," said Erick Carlson, 31, a Fort Collins resident who lives part time in Steamboat. "It kind of gets you set for thinking about training for the spring stuff. I know spring is a little bit later here, but it's not on the Front Range."

Carlson, who works on Ski Patrol in Cameron Pass and spends many holidays in Steamboat, was the first to return to the finish line, winning the race in 19 minutes, 22 seconds. He acknowledged the cold weather and snow made it a little tougher to get out of bed, but once he was dressed and out the door, there was no place else he wanted to be.

"This was a perfect, nice, crisp, fall morning," Carlson said. "Going back and forth with the first couple of guys, passing someone on the hill and getting passed on the downhill, it really motivates you, and that's kind of all you think about."

Ramstad said the full results will be posted online at steamboatturkeytrot.com in the coming days. Electronic timing wasn't available for the race, and a simple pen and paper method was used.

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