Mount Werner Classic returns to ultra running ‘sweet spot’
Steamboat Springs — There are longer ultra-marathons than this weekend’s Mount Werner Classic, a 50-kilometer jaunt up Steamboat Springs’ signature mountain, over the top, eventually to Long Lake, then back, and tougher ones.
But that’s not to say it’s short — it’s 31 miles — or that it’s easy, since racers climb more than 5,000 feet, a large part of it in the first part of the race.
But race director Emily Conjura said in the third year since the race’s distance was tripled, the Mount Werner Classic has settled nicely into a niche of the ultra trail marathon running world.
It can be a nice training race for the hardcore who are eyeing 100-mile runs later in the summer. And it can be a heck of an adventure for those new to the world of long-distance trial running.
“To me, it’s in that sweet spot where someone who’s a big ultra runner can off-the-couch it, and someone who thinks, ‘I’ve always wanted to run an ultra,’ this is a good race that’s right in the middle that can pull people past the marathon distance,” she said.
She’s expecting more than 100 runners of various motivations to take on the course starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, when the race returns to Mount Werner.
That’s up for the third consecutive year for the event but still not tight against it’s 125-runner max. Registration remains available Thursday until 10 p.m. at http://www.runningseries.com. No other registration is available after that, including day-of.
The course should prove plenty difficult for racers new and old to the ultra running game.
It begins at the base of the gondola, then goes up, up and up, along the Zig Zag, Yoo Hoo and Valley View trails, then up Duster and Pete’s Wicked to the top of Steamboat Ski Area. It then follows Mountain View to an intersection with the Fish Creek Falls trail, then to Long Lake. It’s not quite an out-and-back as there’s some variation on the return.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Just inside the doors of Kevin Dietrich’s Natural Exposure Gallery in downtown Steamboat Springs, there are moose, bears and some of the town’s most scenic landscapes captured in perfect light.