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Run Rabbit Run ultramarathon returns to Steamboat on Saturday

2011 Running Series schedule

— It’s not just that the spots in the annual Run Rabbit Run 50-mile trail ultramarathon go quickly, it’s who the spots go to, event director Fred Abramowitz said, surveying the field of competitors expected to gather bright and early at 6 a.m. Saturday at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

“It’s an incredibly deep field,” Abramowitz said, pointing to a pair of past champions and numerous top finishers from the biggest ultramarathon races.

The Run Rabbit Run event started small but quickly has grown into a trail ultramarathon that many extreme athletes see as a can’t-miss event.

This year’s version of the race will challenge athletes the same way previous versions have. The day begins with a grueling climb up and over Mount Werner. There’s a long stretch of trail that leads runners to Long Lake, then all the way to the base of Rabbit Ears Peak. And finally, they turn around and come back, doing it all over again.

The race’s inclusion in the Montrail Ultra Cup circuit has helped bump the race’s interest level among elite athletes. Many are enticed by guaranteed entry into the Western States 100 for the top two finishers of each gender.

That affiliation and their participation has helped shine the light on Steamboat’s event for the ultra novices, too.

“A lot of people are making this their first ultra,” Abramowitz said. “It’s a wonderful thing to see the big names finish, but what really gives me a thrill is watching the first-time ultra runners do their first 50.”

There is a 15-hour cap on the race. Top finishers should begin trickling into the Gondola Square finish area after 1 p.m.

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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