From the Chamber CEO: Steamboat Marathon is a marathon effort |

From the Chamber CEO: Steamboat Marathon is a marathon effort

Jim Clark
Courtesy Photo

Here’s a trivia question for you: What takes more than 350 volunteers, an eight-person committee, hundreds of cones, two full-time staff, three interns, 1,400 Qdoba breakfast burritos, 300 gallons of water, 200 gallons of Powerade, 52 Powerade coolers, 1,100 pounds of ice, 144 cases of Dasani water, seven kegs of Butcherknife beer and 2,200 Honey Stinger chews and gels?

Answer: The 2016 Steamboat Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10K. Runner’s World rates it one of the “Top 10 Destination Marathons in America.” The Daily Burn has rated our race as one of the “15 Best Spring Marathons in the U.S.,” and it has received numerous other accolades.

I taught a tourism course at Colorado State University and guest lectured a number of times to students at CSU, CMC and Front Range Community College. One of the questions I always ask a class is, “how many of you want to be an event planner?”

Sometimes as many as a third of the students raise their hands. My next question is “why?” Many times the answers are “I like to throw parties” or “It looks like so much fun.” I hate to dash their dreams, but I always warn them that if you enjoy long hours, working weekends and being on your feet all day, this is the career for you.

Here at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association we produce a number of public events. Along with the Steamboat Marathon, we also operate the Fourth of July Parade, Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Glow and the Wild West Air Fest. We are a service provider to the Mustang Roundup, the Steamboat Wine Festival and organize and operate the street events at Winter Carnival as a contractor to the Winter Sports Club.

Why do we put on public events? With the exception of the Steamboat Marathon and a small admission fee for Wild West Air Fest, our events are free. It’s certainly not for the money.

First and foremost, we do so for economic reasons. Each of these attracts visitation to town and spending. They also don’t capture the visitor for the entire day, allowing time for enjoying other activities, shopping and dining. They also are planned during less busy weekends to extend the season.

Events such as the marathon and Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Glow are marketing and branding tools for us. The marathon course through scenic North Routt County. The photos from the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Glow are posted and widely shared, building iconic imagery.

But it’s not only for the visiting public. It’s important to us that our community enjoy them as well. We and other event producers in town make Steamboat Springs a special place to live and work. Two of the events we created have been gifted to other organizations in town. The All Arts Festival has become a part of the Arts Council, and Steamboat OktoberWest is a major fundraiser for the Mountain Village Partnership.

We receive a tremendous amount of support from the city and the county in providing services and support to make these and other community events happen. Aside from some limited special event grant funding, these events are financially supported by our sponsors, participants and Chamber Partners and Platinum members. And the hard work and dedication of my events team, Chamber staff and our many volunteers.

I want to add a special shout-out to the marathon committee — Mo Maloney, Brady Woster, Barbara Walker, Chip Shevlin, Kaela No-Miller, Rom McMorris, Tasha Compos, Dave Herman, Ebin Latrimurti and our race director Paul Sachs. You’re the best.

Jim Clark is CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

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