High altitude running event Sunday | SteamboatToday.com

High altitude running event Sunday

— Chuck O’Connell calls Sunday’s Steamboat Springs Running Series event a “classic Steamboat race.”

In its 22nd year, the 10K at 10,000 feet gives runners and walkers a chance to soak in a view of one of the area’s defining landmarks as they race a challenging course at the base of Rabbit Ears.

“The course is at high altitude, but rather than a hardcore course where you’re just climbing for miles and miles, it’s a relatively gentler course with some ups and downs,” said series director John Chapman. “It’s a beautiful course and a great distance. If people want to come and walk it, they’re more than welcome.”

Relative to other running series events, the course is not as grueling, but O’Connell pointed out that the course loop does gain a significant amount (roughly 800 feet) of elevation on some rough terrain.

Leaving from the Rabbit Ears Monument near the Dumont Lake Campground, the course follows the old ditch trail that links with an unpaved forest service road back to the finish.

“After the aid station, you start climbing for a half-mile to a mile,” O’Connell said of the course that he estimated, based on GPS-mapping, is slightly longer than a traditional 10K, 6.2-mile race. “It levels out and you climb some more to the high point, around just over 10,400 feet at around five miles, then it’s downhill to the finish,”

Recalling a snowy race two years ago, O’Connell was grateful for this weekend’s forecast of a clear and cool morning ideal for runners.

Chapman said he predicts 100 to 120 racers and said it may be tough for runners to beat the impressive time of 39 minutes, 44 seconds set last year by Paul Clifft.

Interested volunteers can arrive at the race site after 8 a.m., otherwise the race begins at 10 a.m.

Registration costs $20 until noon Friday at Christy Sports, 1835 Central Place Plaza, or $25 between 9 and 9:30 a.m., Saturday at the race.

Visit http://www.runningseries.com for more details.

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