The Steamboat Marathon races are true classics in Colorado. I have run the past 15 years; 2013 will make 16! The Half Marathon is one of the few where the 1000-plus entrants get so spread out that you really feel the rural landscape that you are running through. The Half begins with a nervous shuttle up the beautiful Elk River Valley to the start. In the cool mountain air it’s always so nice to mingle with old friends as well as new ones that you made on the bus ride up. The race starts with a few short rolling hills before you get into a pattern of rolling and flat sections, at least what is considered flat for Steamboat!
The temps are cool at this point as you run past sections of beautiful ranches with the first flowers of summer blooming. The Elk River flows alongside the road through this section as you run into what I always think about as the halfway point at Mad Creek. This section is where you are much more exposed to the sun, heat and hills so save something for the last half. Many people make the mistake of going out too fast in the first 6 miles or so and then start to suffer in this last 7 miles, I know because I’ve been there!
The hills over the next few miles to mile 10 can take their toll; it’s the time to relax and finish strong for the end where the crowds are waiting. As you crest mile 10-ish you will have a sharp downhill until you hit the final road section into town. Keep your head up your almost there and as you pass our beautiful library on your right you can begin counting down to the finish line at 5th Street! The Steamboat Marathon has a great flow as the last 10K runners will be coming in with the first Half Marathoners and the same goes for the Half Marathoners and Full Marathoners. It creates a great flow of runner traffic where everyone has an opportunity to be cheered on with that wonderful Steamboat spirit lining the streets of downtown!
I love this race! It’s a road race that has a beautiful mountain feel to it because of the spectacular scenery for all 13.1 miles. You have green pastures and rolling hills with a good chance to see some wildlife as well. For much of the race you will also have stunning Mt. Werner in your sights snow still covering its upper slopes. Good luck to all of the runners in 2013 and if you have not already signed up then you should do it, it’s one you won’t forget! You’ll enjoy this special race and the amazing town of Steamboat Springs!