Nasty storm forces rare Running Series race cancellation |

Nasty storm forces rare Running Series race cancellation

— If Cara Marrs and a small gathering of friends had not attempted to train for some upcoming ultramarathons at 2 a.m. Saturday, there may very well have been a much larger, much unhappier group of runners about seven hours later.

Marrs and a few friends met at the base of Steamboat Ski Area at 2 a.m. with the mindset of training for the September Run Rabbit Run race, and they were going to do so on the same course that roughly 110 runners were scheduled to hit for the annual Continental Divide Trail Run on Saturday.

Marrs said the small running group headed up the ski area, over to Mountain View and down to Fish Creek, where the Continental Divide race was slated to begin.

But things got cold and wet — really cold and wet — for Marrs and company. The group, decked out in full winter running gear, only managed to get a few miles into the training run before the awful trail conditions and plummeting temperatures took hold, threatening them with hypothermia.

The Friday night and Saturday morning storm that swept through the high country and the valley floor not only forced Marrs and her friends off the trail, but it also canceled the Steamboat Springs Running Series race.

It was the first canceled Running Series race that Marrs can remember in the 17 years she has lived in Steamboat.

“We never cancel,” Marrs, a race director, said. “If that race was on a different trail or a road race, we would have never canceled it. We just have different standards to uphold, especially with the Forest Service letting us use their trails.”

Heavy rain and unseasonably low temperatures made the 15 miles of Continental Divide trail extremely unsafe, Marrs said.

“The trail conditions were so horrendous that it wasn’t even funny,” she said. “Mountain View was basically a lake.”

Food, shirts and insurance already had been purchased for the race. Many of those registered were coming from out of town, or even out of state, Marrs said.

“It’s such a hard decision to make, especially for people who travel across the country to get here,” Marrs said. “It breaks my heart. Our main concern is that we’re not doing damage to the trails, and absolutely damage would have been done to it. Also, our concern is that our runners are safe, and people wouldn’t have been safe up there.”

Prizes and race memorabilia likely will be thrown into a random raffle for registered runners. Prizes will be shipped to whichever athletes are from out of town.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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