Marathon sets the pace, as busy weekend kicks off summer in Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Thousands of runners will arrive in town this weekend for an opportunity to participate in the Steamboat Springs Marathon, an event that has kicked off the summer season for the past 38 years.
“We have had beautiful weather the past several years,” longtime race director Paul Sachs said. “I think we are going to be really fortunate this year, and it looks like it’s not going to be too hot and just gorgeous.”
Sachs said the races will include the marathon, half-marathon and a 10-kilometer run and walk. More than 300 runners signed up for the full marathon, and more than 1,100 will take part in the half-marathon. He was not certain of how many people will participate in the 10K run and walk because registration is allowed until 5 p.m. Saturday.
This year’s marathon will begin at 7:30 a.m. north of Steamboat in the Hahns Peak Village. The route follows Routt County Road 129 along the Elk River and then travels on the shoulder of the east-bound lanes along U.S. Highway 40 into downtown Steamboat before reaching the finish line in front of the historic Routt County Courthouse.
It’s a journey of just over 26 miles that will take runners through a scenic landscape that includes ranches, distant vistas and wide-open pastures.
“People love coming up here to do it,” Sachs said. “You get to enjoy the scenery and the people and hang out in Steamboat.”
Runners taking part in the Steamboat half-marathon, which also begins at 7:30 a.m., will start at Moon Hill Meadows, roughly halfway along the marathon course. Those athletes will cover a little more than 13 miles before reaching the finish line in the heart of downtown Steamboat following the same route as those in the marathon.
There will also be a 10K run and walk that starts at 7:30 a.m. near the courthouse in downtown Steamboat. The course will lead runners out of downtown along a loop that travels through downtown into Strawberry Park. They will make a turn just past Routt County Road 38 before making their way back to downtown where they will also finish in front of the courthouse.
Sachs has been the event’s race director for the past 19 years and said he has a great group of volunteer coordinators who help make the event go smoothly.
“I enjoy it,” Sachs said of directing the races. “It’s a good group of people that I work with, and I do enjoying seeing all these people every year. It’s a good thing for the community, and it’s part of what I feel is my ‘give-back’ to get to live here.”
Sachs said commuters should expect a lot of runners on Routt County Road 129 and U.S. Highway 40 Sunday morning. There will also be runners making their way through downtown and out into Strawberry Park in the morning.
He said motorists should expect road closures and detours and will need to be aware of runners on the road.
From 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday, the westbound lanes of Lincoln Avenue will be closed from Fifth to 11th streets. In addition, Sixth Street between Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street will be closed during the races. Motorists may also encounter a rolling closure between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Fifth Street from Lincoln to Oak.
North of Steamboat, traffic control and pilot car operations should be expected, along with one-way traffic and detours on County Road 129 from U.S. Highway 40 to Hahns Peak. Vehicles should also anticipate numerous runners, support vehicles and emergency apparatus on U.S. 40 west of Steamboat and on C.R. 129 until early Sunday afternoon.
“The best thing to do is to be downtown on the courthouse lawn or anywhere along Lincoln Avenue and then you can watch all the different racers finish,” Sachs said. “We have some food tents and vendor tents, and I think that is the best place to be. It’s a big fun event downtown all day.”
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