I headed over to Steamboat Springs Colorado for a new adventure in trail running. This is not a race on most Ultra Trail runners list, but I had thought over winter about getting out there or Lake Tahoe. In the end I summed up the courage to enter Run Rabbit 100…so named after the Rabbit ears pass you drive through to get to steamboat. I flew from Manchester to Chicago, then to Denver to collect my pre booked small car. The lady was insistent at collection I “Needed a six cylinder” not my small four cylinders as I was going over 3000 metres passes to get to Steamboat and my car would struggle. I thought she was joking so insisted on taking my 1.2 litre Yaris automatic.
There was a lovely atmosphere at the registration the night before which settled my nerves, almost like a fell race. The numbers running the 100 mile race was limited to 350.
The race begins at the foot of Mt. Werner at the Sheraton Hotel at 2200 metres. I began at 8.00 am. The climb was long and hard, but really beautiful. Even a black bear was seen. After that it was single track to Fish Creek falls probably one of the most stunning trails I have been on before heading back into Steamboat for a loop of 20 miles round Cow creek mountain range and back for my first drop bag. I changed socks and filled up with food before it went dark. You head back up Fish creek in the dark and then to Long Lake aid station. It was a harvest moon and clear skies. Luckily I was told how cold it could get. Over the next 10 hours it was going to be a problem as it dropped to – 15 degrees. Lots of people dropped due to the temperatures and the altitude which was about 3200m for long periods. I came close as my hands were freezing. Luckily the aid stations had fires. I spent too long in the relative comfort. Looking back I now realise how good these aid stations were. The food supplied was just fab. Hot drinks, coke ginger beer. Energy drinks (Tailwind), sandwiches, eggs and bacon. Some pizza and various broths. We were very well looked after considering how remote the race was, it was incredible…..super friendly. From long lake there is 5 mile drop to Summit Lake, my second drop bag where I put any spare clothes on. Then essentially a 24 mile out and back to Spring Creek Ponds. In the cold and dark it felt very eerie, but I managed to get through. As the sunrise happened I felt an energy surge. At my drop bag once more at Summit Lake I was able to get back to minimal clothes and sunglasses to try to finish. The trail took me on a tortuous route back to the top of Mt Werner. I ran really well most of the time finishing 26th. Really I should have worn warmer gloves which would have helped me get out of the aid stations instead of lingering so long, all told probably 2 hours or more! As always on these races it is not just about you. There are some lovely interesting runners and volunteers who make the journey worthwhile. I was pleased I made the effort and have looked back this last couple of weeks with a real satisfaction at completing Run Rabbit 100. I won a Glass Tankard and my first Buckle.
And the rental lady was right I need a six cylinder.