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Scenic holiday trail run a favorite among locals, visitors

Steamboat Pilot & Today
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— Earlier this week, Penelope Freedman headed to the top of Rabbit Ears Pass planning on logging a few training miles on the 10K at 10,000 Feet race course.

But, as she made her way around the demanding course, the training run became more of a scenic journey. A few miles later, she realized she had not only run the course, but completed it twice.

“What can I say? I really like the course on this race,” Freedman said. “It’s just so beautiful, and the wildflowers up there this time of year are simply stunning.”

Apparently, there are more than a few runners in Colorado who agree. Event organizer Scott Myller said the race normally draws more than 130 runners, and he isn’t expecting anything different this weekend.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Myller said.

The race director was planning to ride the course Friday on his bike to set up the signs directing runners. But he said the warm, dry weather is sure to make this year’s race special.

“The vistas are amazing,” he said. “There are parts of the course where you feel like you can see forever.”

He credited the course and the holiday weekend for the race’s popularity among locals and visitors, alike. Because of the location and the scenic beauty of the course, he said, the event normally draws numerous runners from the Front Range.

“I think a lot of people are looking to get out of Denver for the holiday weekend, anyway, and this race just happens to work for them,” Myller said.

Freedman also understands the draw of the race but said her attraction to it is only partially explained by the venue. She’s also aiming to see if she can improve on last year’s time and looking for challenges that will prepare her for an XTERRA event later this month.

“This is one of my favorite races of the season,” she said. “Because it’s so close to the end of the running season in Steamboat, I like to reflect on the whole summer.”

While the event will be the first in September, it is not the final race of the season.

Other races include Monday’s Oak Creek No Fun Run, which challenges runners to complete 6-kilometers on the roads and trails in the Oak Creek area.

There is also the Run Rabbit Run event, featuring 100-mile, and 50-miles races Sept 16 and 17 in the mountains surrounding Steamboat. The series ends Sept. 24 with the Emerald Mountain Trail Run.

Freedman’s path will take her to Ogden, Utah, Sept. 17 and 18 for an XTERRA event at the Snowbasin Resort. Last year, Freedman won both the 10K at 10,000 feet and the Steamboat Springs Running Series. She also collected a third-place finish at the 2015 Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship Half Marathon at the Kualoa Ranch in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

“Last year’s running series prepared me for some of the bigger races,” Freedman said. “Running in local races boosted my esteem. There is always great community support, and that helped me believe in myself. I’m very thankful for the Steamboat Springs running series. It holds a real special place in my heart.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966


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