Steamboat Marathon is here to stay
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Despite a drop in participation, there are no plans to drop one of Steamboat’s signature events.
Sunday’s 37th annual Steamboat Marathon put on by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association drew 174 finishers. The half-marathon had 754 and the 10-kilometer race 376. Only the 10K had more runners than last year. The marathon was down by 56 finishers and the half by 132. The 10K gained 29.
“It’s a special Steamboat tradition that will live on for years to come,” Maren McCutchan, the Chamber’s public relations manager, said.
The Steamboat Chamber hosts the scenic Steamboat Marathon because it is a way to draw hundreds of visitors to town during a time when town otherwise would not be busy.
“We really see it as the kick-off to summer,” McCutchan said.
McCutchan said participation in Steamboat Marathon events have fluctuated over the years.
“I think a lot of people are really into trail running and that type of thing right now,” McCutchan said.
Before that, the popularity of adventure races drew away participants from traditional running events.
This year, the Steamboat Marathon was also on the same weekend as the Revel Race in Denver, which is a popular race for those wanting to set a personal record because the course is all downhill.
“This year, they decided to move to the same date as us,” McCutchan added.
Race director Paul Sachs said he thinks the decrease in participation is not unique to Steamboat. There are more races to choose from including trail runs and ultra-endurance races.
Participation in road race events is down 20 to 25 percent, Sachs said.
Sachs said the biggest dip in numbers was for those who did the full marathon. Despite that, he was pleased with the overall numbers.
“You get so many repeat runners that just love it,” Sachs said. “I’m not going away. We’re not going away.”
Runners are surveyed after each Steamboat Marathon, and the Steamboat Chamber knows most people find out about the event by word of mouth.
“Every year we’re looking for different avenues,” McCutchan said. “We’ve definitely been doing a lot more social media marketing the past couple years, which has really helped.”
There are no plans to make any drastic changes to the event in coming years.
The race acts a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, and any changes to the marathon course would require re-certification.
Despite the drop in participation, McCutchan said the Steamboat Chamber does not lose money on the event.
“It’s expensive to put on a race and really the goal is to make sure we can cover our costs,” McCutchan said.
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