Steamboat Half-Marathon goes virtual; 10K, marathon remain in-person |

Steamboat Half-Marathon goes virtual; 10K, marathon remain in-person

Ben Anderson, winner of the men's division of the 2019 Steamboat Marathon, runs through the banner for the cameras.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The 40th annual Steamboat Marathon and 10-kilometer race will be in-person June 6, but the half-marathon will be virtual. Half-marathon registrants will be automatically registered for the virtual challenge or can opt to run in the marathon, 10K or defer to 2022.

“We’ve spent an incredible amount of time on this, trying to make it work out if at all possible,” race director Paul Sachs said. “But the reality is, given where we are with COVID, getting 1,000 runners up to the half start in buses, which we can only fill halfway, then having them all wait together, there’s no way we could meet the social distancing requirements we have to meet.”

The marathon was more feasible to continue in-person with just 500 people and more space to spread out in Hahns Peak Village. The 10K also has just 500 participants and will have staggered starts to prevent too many people from mingling at the start. Sachs said he expects to implement staggered starts for the full marathon depending on guidelines at the time, something that couldn’t be done for the half because Routt County Road 129 cannot be closed for an extended period of time. The road actually won’t be closed at all this year.

So, those opting to run the half-marathon virtually can complete the 13.1-mile race wherever they please between 5 a.m. May 31 and the end of the day June 6. Participants will receive instructions on how to claim the virtual challenge entry and will be mailed a packet with a finisher-medal, T-shirt, towel, Honey Stinger and access to challenge features including a race bib and online tracking.

The challenge can be tracked on GPS with popular GPS devices and apps or can be entered manually if runners don’t have or choose not to use a GPS device.

Half-marathon runners are asked not to run the course on the day of the event. There will be plenty of traffic on County Road 129 as the marathon is sold out. The entire event is sold out for the first time in about 15 years, Sachs said.

“We’re fuller than we’ve been in many many years with a waitlist,” Sachs said. “And I think that’s partially because we’re one of the few races that’s even trying to go on.”

As a celebration of the event’s 40th anniversary, the event is throwing it back to the ’80s and hopes to continue that theme in every way possible while still following local guidelines.

“We’re still hoping to have a band somewhere, probably on Lincoln Avenue, not on the courthouse because we’re going to discourage anyone from hanging out.”

For more information about the changes made to the 2021 Steamboat Marathon, visit

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