Run Rabbit Run: 100-mile marathon brings out biggest, best for many reasons
At $85,000, the Run Rabbit Run prize purse is the largest purse of any 100-mile race in the world.
For some, the money is enticing, but for most, the glory of being crowned champion is all the more desirable. In its 11th year hosting the 100-mile race, Run Rabbit Run took off from Steamboat Resort on Friday morning and will continue until its Saturday night cutoff.
This year’s race features some of the world’s best ultramarathon runners across 43 states and nine foreign countries, with over 90 runners in the Hares division vying for a piece of the prize purse.
“People from all over the country and the world run it,” Race Director Paul Sachs said. “It is a great course, we have a huge prize purse and we are one of the top three in the country now. It’s Western States, Hardrock and Run Rabbit Run. I think people see it as an iconic run, and that is what we set out to do.”
Locally, over 50 Routt County runners are competing including Steve Rossi, a 72-year-old from Oak Creek who is the oldest runner in the event and competiting in the 100-mile Tortoise division.
Steamboat’s Addy Rastall won the 100-mile Tortoise division last year and is taking on the Hares this time around. She is up against Virginia’s Tara Dower, last year’s second-place finisher, and Arizona’s Georgia Porter, who was last year’s 50-mile champion.
Twenty-three women are competing in the Hares division this year, with the winner taking home $15,000. The men’s champion will receive the same prize.
“It’s not a huge female field, but it’s a really good one,” Sachs said.
Men’s headliners include Canada’s Dave Stevens, the 2021 100-mile champion, and Ohio’s Arlen Glick, who took second last year. Sam Collins of Utah finished fourth last year and recently set the course record for the Continental Divide 50k run at the end of August.
Internationally, Japan’s Tomonori Onitsuka is considered one of the world’s best, and he was 19th overall by the fourth checkpoint Friday evening.
Denver resident Michael “Pebbles” Fibich is a recent college graduate tackling his third-ever 100-mile race. While he packs in plenty of long training runs, he said he takes a different approach to ultramarathons than most.
“I think if you hit the nutrition and the electrolytes right and keep your body from breaking down, it does not matter if you can run a sub-five minute mile because, once you become electrolyte deficient, you can’t sustain that time,” Fibich said.
The 100-miler started at the Steamboat Resort base area with a steep climb up Heavenly Daze ski run to Thunderhead Lodge. From there, runners hit Long Lake and Summit Lake before coming around to Howelsen Lodge as the halfway point. The race is essentially a loop back around through the same checkpoints and a return to the resort’s base where the finish line awaits them.
The first finisher is expected around 6 a.m. Saturday morning with the remaining finishers coming across all morning and afternoon. A live stream of the race can be found by searching “2023 Run Rabbit Run LIVE” on YouTube. Official results are updated continuously on the “Live Results” tab at Kandutiming.com.
According to Fibich, you can never start a race too slow. The first to reach the top of Mount Werner at the start does not necessarily win the race. He plans to take things as his body lets him.
“Pacing sort of goes out the window once you are in the mountains,” Fibich said. “Out here, the first five or six miles are completely uphill so that is sort of feeling where your body is at and knowing what you can sustain. You can ruin your whole day on this first climb.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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