Directors of the Run Rabbit Run Ultra Races in Steamboat Springs are revving up the action: they’ve not only added a 100 mile race to their event this year, but they’ve put the cherry on top by offering a $40,000 prize purse for top finishers. Furthermore, both the 50 and 100 mile races are part of the Montrail Ultra Cup.
The classic 50 mile race, now in its 6th year, begins at the base of the Steamboat Springs ski area and is an out-and-back style course. The initial 6.4 miles of the race is approximately 3,600 feet of elevation gain, after which runners will be traversing jeep roads and trails in the beautiful Routt National Forest. The low point of the race is 6,699 feet and the high point sits at 10,534 feet. Runners in the 50 mile will take on about 9,000 feet of climbing.
While most of the prize money will be for the 100 mile finishers, the classic Run Rabbit Run 50 miler will, as usual, attract some of the best ultrarunners from around Colorado. Check out the top finishers from 2011 below.
2011 Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile Top Males
1. Zeke Tiernan, 36, Carbondale, CO, 7:24:00
2. Nicholas Clark, 37, Fort Collins, CO, 7:26:00
3. Ryan Burch, 31, Fort Collins, CO, 8:08:00
2011 Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile Top Females
1. Jenny Pierce, 28, Livingstone, MT, 9:34:20
2. Tina Lewis, 38, Boulder, CO, 9:55:00
3. Stephanie Lynn, 30, Fort Collins, CO, 9:57:30
The brand new 100 mile race also begins at the ski basin but takes a different route than the 50 mile course. The race is a “beautiful bunny hop” through the autumn foliage around gorgeous Emerald Mountain. With about 7.8 miles of paved road, 68 miles of trails and the rest rough jeep roads, the 100 mile racers will ascend and descend over 20,000 feet of elevation and spend quite a bit of time above the trees.
With $40,000 on the line, the Run Rabbit Run 100 has attracted quite an array of elite ultrarunners from across the country. The race director has divided the race participants into “Hares” and “Tortoises,” and handicapped the Hares (top competitors) to ensure a fair and competitive race. Most of the prize money will be divided among the Hares, but there are some great cash prizes for the Tortoises as well.
Below is the breakdown from the race director of the top entrants for both the Run Rabbit Run 100 and 50 mile races.
Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile Hares
1. Tim Olson, 29, Oreg. – Liked him here before; after Western States win and phenomenal course record love him now. Strictly the one to beat.
2. Arnulfo Quimare, 32, Mex.- Tarahumara hero of best-selling ”Born to Run” make surprising foreign debut here; said to be the real deal; not sure he can go with the Big Rabbits from up north but suspect he can.
3. Mike Wolf, 34, Mont. – Two seconds to world ultra phenom Kilian Jornet and defeated him in last effort; hard effort at Transvulcania hurt Western States chances; expect him to rebound.
4. Dylan Bowman, 26, Co. – Young, improving; 7th in recent Western States; dark horse pick.
5. Miguel Lara, 22, Mex. – Another Tarahumara said to be every bit as good as Arnulfo if not better; we’ll be serving pinole at the aid stations.
6. Duncan Callahan, 29, Co. – Two time Leadville winner; big threat here.
7. Jason Schlarb, 34, Co. – New kid on block is USATF National 50 mile trail champ; recent win at San Juan Summer Solstice very impressive; untried at distance.
8. Karl Meltzer, 44, Ut. – 32 wins at distance no fluke; must know something – beer at finish will inspire.
9. Jason Loutitt, 38, BC, Can. – Speedball Canadian former road racer assures hot early pace and helps set it up for patient ones; still, dangerous if allowed to dictate pace.
10. Dave James, 34, Az. – Two-time and defending USATF National 100 Mile Champ but, hey no offense, this isn’t the Burning River 100; faces much tougher field on much tougher course; appears willing but will need to step up game to contend.
1. Lizzy Hawker, 35, Switz. – Five time winner of Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and like Thoroughbreds on grass they seem just a bit better on the other side of the pond; probably best in the world when she’s going good, and right now she’s going very good; will set blistering pace that will intimidate even the boys; short turnaround from recent race and jet lag is only concern, but she’s not jetting here from Europe to earn frequent flyer milers.
2. Nikki Kimball, 41, Mont. – Three-time Ultra Runner of the Year; 5th in recent Western States; as good as they come when going good, has chance to upset top selection if on her game; expect her to be coming late.
3. Jenny Pierce, 29, Mont. – Last year’s Run, Rabbit, Run 50 mile winner; improving; learning the 100 mile game; taking a flier that she completes the two of three Montana podium finish.
4. Aliza Lapierre, 32, Vt. – 3rd place in recent Western States but up and coming ultra superstar reputation tarnished a bit by 4th place at Leadville; looks to make amends; harder course, high elevation here and short turnaround may not suit, but definitely one of the ones in an increasingly contentious women’s field.
5. Rhonda Claridge, 44 Co. – Respect consistent 100 mile runner; boasts course record at Bear, 2nds in Leadville, Bighorn and recent Hardrock 100s; potential winner if others falter.
6. Ashley Arnold, 25, C0. – Member US Mountain Running team; 3rd Leadville two years ago; sky is the limit if continues to improve.
7. Michele Suscek, 29, Co. – Olympic Trials marathoner has been testing the shorter ultra waters but 100′s are to marathons like chalk is to cheese; another addition to the early speed mix and another potential upset winner. Do not discount.
8. Sandi Nypaver, 24, Co. – Another one young and improving; may be a notch below top selections but clearly with a chance.
9 Melanie Fryar, 32, Tex. – Texan is always in the mix but yet to face a field this tough; high elevation may pose challenge.
10. Wendy Mader, 39, Co. – Former World Amateur Ironman Champion tries something new; blog says she’s training forwardly; might just take to this.
Run Rabbit Run 50 Mile Hares
1. Zeke Tiernan, 37, Co. – Two time winner here and defending wire-to-wire RRR 50 champ; 5th Western States, 2nd in recent Leadville; full time teacher takes the rest to school.
2. Aaron Heidt, 36, BC, Can.- Canadian rocket specializes in this distance; gives top selection a run for his money.
3. Jesse Haynes, 39, Ca. – Another rocket specializing in shorter ultras; Californian adds to top two speedball mix.
4. Tavis Eddy, 42, Wyo.- Wyoming runner said to be tough as they come; unlikely to have faced field this deep; not without a chance.
5. Bill Goldsmith, 36, Co.- Rooting for local runner who knows course and is targeting this; needs to step game up a notch to contend for podium spot.
1. Kerrie Bruxvoort, 36, Co. – DNFed last year but so did others; virtually unbeatable since until recent Leadville DNF; wheels back to favorite distance; bet she plays catch me if you can and gets slight nod in incredibly deep and contentious 50 mile women’s field.
2. Joelle Vaught, 37, Idaho. – Run, Rabbit, Run 50 mile former winner and current course record holder; looks extremely tough here but waters run deeper this year; still would be scarcely a surprise.
3. Tina Lewis, 39, Co. – Blossoming ultra super star was second here last year; rookie of the year at Western States; winner recent Leadville 100; obvious contender as she wheels back to shorter distance but would prefer her in the 100.
4. Pamela Smith, 37, C0. – That 4th place woman in recent 100 K World Championships is picked fourth here speaks to the depth of this field; not sure she’ll take to trails or mountains, but watch out if she does.
5. Silke Koster, 29, Co. – Another on the improve with a fighting chance in a contentious and wide open women’s field.