Trail running series to kick off Wednesday
BRECKENRIDGE – What was an afterthought in the minds of many five years ago – a trail-running series, in Summit County? – returns this summer finally looking like an established event ready to stop doubling in popularity.The Nike Summit Trail Running Series (STRS) kicks off on Wednesday with a race at the Baker’s Tank trail off Boreas Pass Road in Breckenridge. Organizers say it’s not likely to be “bigger than ever,” which will be a change from recent years. Since the town of Breckenridge took over the series’ organization four years ago, it has gone up in numbers like a flu bug hitting a senior center.The effect it’s had on the county’s off-road running community isn’t lost on the runners themselves.”I was always jealous of the mountain biking series (Summit Mountain Challenge) because that was always a big draw for people, and I’m more of a runner than a biker,” said Kim Eytel, an STRS regular and series champion who has lived in Summit for 12 years. “I wanted something like that.”Done. From 200 total competitors in 2003, it grew to 500 runners in 2004, then 731 runners in 2005. Series organizer Stacey Todd of the Breck Recreation Department said she expects the numbers to finally plateau this summer.
“I think it will continue to grow a bit,” she said, “but they’re good size races and I think this year and the next couple years, we’ll probably see it level out a bit. I highly doubt we’ll see it double in size like it has.”Todd said most of the courses that have become series stalwarts will remain the same, though there could be at least one change. She said series officials are awaiting news on a permit application from the Forest Service that could spawn a new course for one of the races.Other than that, the song remains the same. Series pre-registration – which ends today – is still $75 for all six races, and includes a gift from Nike. Single-race registration remains $15 in advance, and $20 on the day of the race.Once again, runners 18 and under will be able to race for free; “this year we’ve already got 10 to 15 kids pre-registered, and half the names are new,” Todd said.All races will include both a short and long course, and will take place on Wednesday afternoons at 5:45. The series continues to benefit Friends of Breckenridge Trails.
Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.Nike Summit Trail Running SeriesJune 14 – Baker’s TankJune 28 – Flumes
July 5 – New Nordic WorldJuly 19 – Little FrenchAug. 2 – Horseshoe GulchAug. 23 – Carter Park*Series pre-registration ($75) ends today at 5 p.m. Call (970) 453-1734 for registration sites and details on how to sign up.
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