Series titles still up for grabs as running series hosts final race |

Series titles still up for grabs as running series hosts final race

Longmont's Paul Moth, left, competes in 2015's 8-mile race, part of the Howelsen Hill Trail Run on Emerald Mountain in Steamboat Springs. This year's race will take place at 9 a.m. Sept. 24.
Courtesy Photo

— The weather forecast is calling for chilly temperatures this weekend, but that will not be enough to cool off the competition as the Steamboat Springs Running Series prepares to host the final event of the 2016 season Sept. 24.

“I have never looked at the points before,” said Pearson Alspach, who is leading in women’s overall results headed into the Emerald Mountain Trail Run. The race will take place at 9 a.m. Sept. 24 and starts at the base of Howelsen Hill.

This year, however, Alspach, who works as director of admissions at Steamboat Mountain School, said she couldn’t help taking a peek at the series standings.

“I took a look a few weeks ago, and I found out that I was leading … It’s a lot of pressure.” said Alspach, who expects current second-place runner Heather Golnick to pull out all the stops.

But while Golnick plans to keep the pressure on the leader, she acknowledges it would be unlikely for her to make up the seven-points that separate the two runners.

“She would have to have an off day,” Golnick said. “She’s a really strong runner, and she’s really fast … but I’m going to show up and give it my all.”

Though the women’s race is close, the men’s side promises a showdown.

Steamboat Springs runner Allen Belshaw holds a one-point lead over Daniel Goding, who lives and works in Fort Collins, but also owns a home in Steamboat. Belshaw said he has been training hard since the last race with hopes of defeating Goding.

“I have not beat Dan this year, so things are not looking really super bright for me. He has two fewer races than me in the point series, and he is still right there,” Belshaw said.

Still, the longtime local isn’t throwing in the towel as he heads into the final weekend.

“It makes things more exciting,” Belshaw said of the race for first place. “I’m also excited, because my whole family is going to be doing the longer race this year. It should be a fun day.”

Cara Marrs, who organizes and directs the Steamboat Springs Running Series, said the weather is expected to be cool, with periods of drizzle. However, she doesn’t expect conditions to be awful and said most runners are thankful when temperatures are cooler.

“It’s great, because this is the last race of the season, and it’s a true fall race,” Marrs said. “The course is beautiful, and the leaves are turning. It’s a great way to end the season.”

The run will stretch 12-kilometers, or nearly 8 miles, and takes place mostly on a single-track trail that winds across Emerald Mountain. The event will also feature a 12K hike, a 5K run and a 1-mile fun run. The course features 1,500 of elevation gain, which comes in the first mile and a half of the race.

Normally, the awards celebration is held just a few yards from the start/finish line. But due to the forecast, race organizers have rented Olympian Hall. If it’s cold and rainy, the post-race party and end-of-season awards ceremony will take place inside.

Runners can register online until 8 p.m. Sept. 23. Racers can also register from 7:30 until 8:15 a.m. the day of the race. There will be a post-race party and awards ceremony at Olympian Hall in the Howelsen Hill lodge after the race.

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

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