Marathon runners raising money for cancer center
Steamboat Springs — Holly Larson has never run a full marathon before. Her longest run — 19 miles — came a week ago, and she admitted to being in pain by the end. But when she laces up for Sunday’s 34th annual Steamboat Marathon, Larson will not lack incentive to defeat the 26.2 miles of strenuous running in front of her.
“It’s only four hours for me,” Larson said. “My mom had cancer for 20 years, off and on, and I sort of feel like if she has the persistence and perseverance to fight the battle, then I must have inherited what it takes to go the distance.”
While Larson, 45, has never been diagnosed with cancer, many of her loved ones have. Besides her mother, Larson’s father is in remission after battling cancer, and one of her closest friends, Josie Dean, recently defeated breast cancer.
But it took the January death of longtime Steamboat Springs resident Shirley Shearman to inspire Larson to do more. Not only is she running Sunday’s marathon for her own family and friends impacted by cancer, but she has joined with three of her E3 Chophouse coworkers to raise money for the new cancer care center at the Yampa Valley Medical Center.
“She and I used to go to church together and have lunch after church,” Larson said of Shearman, who was 95 when cancer suddenly took her life. “She lived long and died fast. That’s what her daughter said. She was a very impressive lady. I was lucky to have known her.”
Shearman’s death was a key reason why Larson created “E3 Gives Back,” an ongoing project that “will raise money for different commendable causes.” Joining Larson from E3 Chophouse are Laraine Martin, a seven-year Steamboat resident who herself was diagnosed with melanoma before surgery removed it, and Kimberly Shales, who moved to Steamboat in 2011 and lost her father — a two-time Olympian in rowing and Ironman triathlete — to cancer last April.
Larson will run in Sunday’s full marathon, while the other two women will run the half marathon. They set a goal of $5,000 and, as of Thursday, were a third of the way there.
“When I lost my friend in January to cancer, I decided I would do the marathon in honor of her. And this whole project sort of was born from that,” Larson said. “I was on a run and came up with the idea. You have a lot of time to think when you are running.”
For more information on the three women or to donate, visit http://www.e3chophouse.com.
Pace groups a new addition for 34th annual Steamboat Marathon
The 34th annual Steamboat Marathon, which includes a half marathon and 10-kilometer race, will begin at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. All three races begin at the same time, but at different locations. The full marathon will start at Hahn’s Peak Village, with the half marathon starting midway between Steamboat and Hahn’s Peak Village at Moonhill Meadows.
The 10K race will start in downtown Steamboat on 5th Street, near the old courthouse, which is also the finish line for all three races.
New this year will be the addition of pace groups, something race director Paul Sachs said could help those with specific times in mind.
“It’s become popular in a lot of races, and we just thought it would be fun for the runners,” said Sachs, who is in his 15th year as race director. “A lot of runners like that. Our marathon is kind of difficult to hold a pace for some people because it’s got some extreme downhills. I think it will be helpful for people trying to run a goal.”
Registration for Sunday’s races is still ongoing at Sports Authority, 705 Marketplace Plaza. Runners can register or pick up their packets at the store from noon to 5 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Sachs said they have already hit their limit of 1,200 runners for the half marathon, but are still accepting for the full marathon (which has a cap of 500) and for the 10K race.
There will also be the Honey Stinger Fun Run around 11:45 a.m. Sunday near the old courthouse for ages 5 and older.
“We typically get a lot of registrants for the 10K on Friday and Saturday, and some people that come up and decide to run the half,” Sachs said. “Not too many people make a last-minute decision to run the full marathon. It’s OK if they want to. We can accommodate them.”
Awards will be handed out for both overall and age group winners after the races near the courthouse.
Travelers should expect traffic delays in downtown Steamboat and along Routt County Road 129 during Sunday’s races.
“The weather looks great,” Sachs said. “It should be beautiful. May get a rain shower in the afternoon, but that’s OK.”
Sunday’s marathon is the third event of the summer in the Steamboat Springs Running Series.
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