Last Sunday I ran the Steamboat Springs half marathon. Before I start this race recap, let me just say this. If you’ve ever thought about doing the Steamboat half marathon or marathon, DO IT! This is truly a great race, if for nothing else than the fact that you get to enjoy amazing scenary throughout the entire run.
The half maraton course begins at the mid-point of the marathon course at an area called “Moon Hill” at an elevation of 6,990′. One thing that’s pretty unique to this race is that you literally just run down one road the entire way – Country Road 129. At points we ran by pastures filled with cows, at other points we ran along the Elk River, which was raging given that it’s the time of year when all the snow has just melted.
A couple pictures from the start of the race:
Like with most races things are a bit of a blur, but from what I recall the first 7-8 miles consisted of rolling hills, with more downhills than uphills, as well as some flat stretches. The weather was in the 50’s at the start, and when we finished it was in the high 70’s. I felt great the first 5-6 miles but then the sun really started beating down on me. Once we got past mile 9 or so it was essentially downhill from there into downtown Steamboat. I felt like I was flying down the downhills. I wouldn’t say this is a PR course necessarily, but I think if I trained on hills it could be possible given that there are so many great downhills. The mistake I made was I started out too fast because it was hard to NOT just want to fly down the downhills. But oh well. The race finished in downtown Steamboat and when I crossed the finish line they gave me a bandana soaked in ice water – nice touch since it was so hot and I kind of felt like I was going to pass out at that point!
Steamboat is a great town! I may be biased, as I’ve been coming here to ski since I was a kid and my parents are out here a good chunk of the year, but come on, check out this scenary! (I’m the one in the neon yellow top by the way – thanks to my parents for getting some good photos from their bikes).
I was here for a few days prior to the marathon and all about town were signs welcoming the marathon runners:
I would love to do the marathon someday, but also am a little hesitant given how hot it got by the end of the half. I am not sure how typical this weather is for early June in Steamboat, but just something to be mindful of if you think about doing the full.
Running at Altitude
For someone who trains in St. Louis, MO, I definitely found the altitude a little challenging. My body felt strong the whole race but I felt like I was breathing twice as hard as I normally do. That was probably the biggest impact the altitude had on me.
The guy who drove our bus up to the start said that the total number of entrats this year was ~ 1700, with most of those in the half marathon. Given the nature of the route, there really weren’t many spectators until the end when we got into town, but honestly the scenary is so great that it didn’t really matter. My parents were two of the few spectators along the course. Being crazy athletes themselves they decided to bike up the course and then ride down and cheer for the runners.
Aid Stations & Ammenities
This race had aid stations about every 3 miles. I run with a hand bottle so not having a ton of aid stations isn’t really an issue for me, so every three miles was just fine.
The shirts from the race are pretty cool – it’s a women’s specific fit which is always good! No medal for the half marathon, which was fine, but might be a bummer for someone doing this race as thier first half.
One of the coolest things about doing a race in Steamboat is you can go take an ‘ice bath’ in the river afterwards! Amy of Run Write Hike recommended heading to the Yampa after the race, so I did just that. Wow, that water is cold! But seriously, if I lived here I think I would be doing this after every hard long run for recovery.
Finish Time: 1:55:11
Age Group Place: 17th out of 118
Given the altitude factor and my less than ideal training, I was very happy with my finish time! I definitely will be doing this race again and highly recommend it to runners who want a great destination race!
I’ll wrap this post up with a few other random pictures from the weekend:
My post-race breakfast burrito from The Paramount:
Checking out Fish Creek Falls on Saturday – the falls were really moving!
‘Locals Hour’ at Aurum with my mom. good thing they had glass there, as we seriously thought the river was going to come up onto the deck of the restaurant.
Have you ever been to Steamboat, CO? What races do you have coming up?
- Welcome to my blog! I’m Gina, an avid runner living in St. Louis, MO. Check out my blog for tips on running, swimming, race recaps, book reviews, and recipes! Follow me on twitter at @ginabhawalkar, or feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!
March 9th - Quivering Quads Trail Half Marathon
June 1st - Steamboat Springs Half Marathon
August 30th - KT82 Trail Relay Race