Run Rabbit Run’s new trails attract wide range of elite runners |

Run Rabbit Run’s new trails attract wide range of elite runners

Avery Collins, in white, and other runners in the elite hare division of the Run, Rabbit Run 100-mile trail ultramarathon head out from the starting line at the base of Steamboat Resort.
Joel Reichenberger/file
Steamboat Springs 100-mile Tortoise Participants:
  • Andrew Miller M40-49
  • Peter Surgent M30-39
  • Ryan Ernstes F20-29
  • Charlie Macarthur M30-39
  • Travis Mattern M40-49
  • Michael Kelly M40-49
  • Zac Barbiasz M30-39
  • Mandy Miller F50-59
  • Cara Marrs F40-49
  • Ryan Larson M40-49
  • Natalie Larson F30-39

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Slow and steady won’t win the race or the $12,500 guaranteed purse at the Steamboat Springs Run Rabbit Run 50- and 100-mile races this weekend.

An estimated 400 runners from 47 different states and 12 different countries will compete in the 100-mile race, which is split into tortoise and hare divisions. The tortoises will receive a head start start at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14, while the hares start at noon at the base of Steamboat Resort.

Hares are professional ultra runners capable of completing the course in under 30 hours without pacers or hiking poles. Tortoises are referred to as “civilian” racers, who may be elite but are not racing to win the prize money.

“We have a world-class field, always had a world-class field,” race director Fred Abramowitz said. “Historically, the winner has always managed to pass the top tortoise and finish at 6 a.m. on Saturday.”

Two-hundred runners will line up for the 50-mile course at 6 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15.

But this year, there’s no telling when people will finish, since the course has been re-designed to incorporate new single-track trails — Flash of Gold and Grouse — totaling 20,391 feet of vertical ascent and descent throughout the race.

Run Rabbit Run has always attracted an elite crowd, since it is one of seven Hard Rock 100 qualifiers in the United States and the only one currently in Colorado.

“It’s a prestigious thing,” said Cara Marrs, Steamboat Springs Running Series director. “It is so awesome to have a 100-mile race in your own hometown. Not that many people live in towns where they have a 100, and this is really hard mountainous one.”

The new trails intrigued Marrs and prompted her to sign up this year. Marrs’ first 50-mile race was the 2012 Run Rabbit Run, which was also the first year that offered the 100-mile option. She ran the 50 in 2013 and was unable to finish the 100 in 2014 and 2015 due to injuries.

“Run Rabbit Run is an interesting race, because I know, without a doubt, 20 people —a couple locals and elite — that have not finished it at least two times,” Marrs said. “It gets very cold at night, hot during the day, throws a lot of people off.”

Marrs did finish the 100-mile race in 2016.

“The coolest thing about 100 mile races is it’s like a lifetime in a day and a half,” Marrs said. “I didn’t feel well the first half, then I flew down it. You’re kind of like ‘how am I doing this? I was walking 30-minute mile an hour ago.’ It shows you that we have so much more than we think we do.”

Marrs leads a busy life, working as a nutritionist at her private practice, managing the running series and taking care of her son.

“I’m not somebody who is running 100-mile weeks,” Marrs said. “I don’t have time. I try to get a lot of climbing in; the cornerstone is getting your long runs in on the weekends and doing a couple races.”

Marrs finds creative ways to get her feet moving. She’ll wake up at 5 a.m. in the winter for back-country ski training and fit in weekend long runs in the summer.

“I’ve just seen a lot of horrible tragedy that makes me truly feel that life is really short,” Marrs said. “And you have to live it, and I’m able-bodied so I’m going to do it while I can. My goal is to still be running when I’m 80.”

The hardest part of any race, she believes, is making it to the starting line.

“It’s really in the trying,” Marrs said. “It’s always good to do something that scares you.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

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