Steamboat dropped as championship site
World Mountain Running Association to relocate event after resignation
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs has been dropped as the host site for the 2009 World Mountain Running Trophy. The World Mountain Running Association announced in a Feb. 1 news release that, “due to the resignation of the (Local Organizing Committee) chief, the attempt to stage the Trophy at this venue has been abandoned.”
The LOC chief was John Chapman, director of the Steamboat Springs Running Series, who was responsible for single-handedly spearheading the drive to bring the world championship event to Mount Werner from Sept. 17 to 19, 2009.
On July 3, 2007, the Steamboat Springs City Council unanimously approved a request from Chapman that included a $25,000 grant from the city’s 2008 budget to help cover the $228,470 projected cost to host the event, as well as a letter of support from the city. Then, on Sept. 14 of last year, Chapman flew to meet with the WMRA Congress in Switzerland, where he made a presentation and was awarded a U.S.A Track & Field-approved bid to host the event.
But Chapman, who was working as a controller at SmartWool, said he doubted his ability to take on the task after recently relocating to “pursue a better job opportunity on the Front Range.”
Nancy Hobbs, WMRA Treasurer and the only member of the international council based in the U.S., said that in January, a series of provisions for the host bid were moving along from the WMRA Council president to Chapman, awaiting a signature he never provided.
Chapman said he couldn’t commit Steamboat to the bid, citing the challenges of remotely having to recruit and organize a corps of 150 volunteers and finding a title sponsor to foot the remaining $125,000 necessary to host the event.
“He was the glue holding it all together,” Hobbs said.
Chapman helped grow the local series in participation and exposure, which earned a nod in Colorado Runner Magazine’s November/December issue as the state’s best race series. Chapman said he would fulfill his commitments to the 2008 Running Series by helping with the transition to the series’ newly named director, Shannon Carlin.
“She’s excited to get more into the community and has the enthusiasm and desire to take it on,” Chapman said of Carlin.
The U.S.A. Trail Championships will return June 29 to highlight the series, but Chapman and Hobbs said they were unsure about the future of the 2009 national event.
Hobbs said the WMRA will consider looking at other U.S. sites to host the worlds event, mentioning spots in Minnesota, Washington state and California.
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