This Saturday’s Run Rabbit Run 50 miler, first run in 2007, is a quiet little gem of a race nestled in northern Colorado’s Steamboat Springs. Though seemingly under the radar of spotlight races, it’s a Montrail Ultra Cup Series event, sells out quickly, and has enjoyed having some of the hottest ultrarunners around show up to compete in this late season 50. Last year saw Ultra Runner Of the Year, Geoff Roes, take the win and set the new course record of 7:11. His time clearly indicates the difficulty of the course. In fact, the race organizers proclaim:
“A word of warning: This is not a beginner’s run. You might find the uphills and downhills fairly steep. You will spend a lot of time at an altitude of nearly two miles. There may be snow. There may be rain. It may be wet, or windy, or then again, it may be hot. There may be wild animals out there, some of them a lot bigger and scarier than a rabbit.”
Roes was chased last year by Bill Fanselow, who happened to be recovering from heart surgery and yet still managed to run 7:22, the second fastest time this race has seen in its four years. This brings us to our mention of the favorites for contention:
Bill Fanselow: Representing Golden, CO, Bill is a former US Mountain Racing Team member and has shown ferocious speed with his move into ultra distance running. The fact that he nearly ran down Roes last year while fresh off the operating table tells me that he can run sub 7 on this course, providing the weather and conditions favor the runners.
Nick Clark: The Fort Collins ultra rock star is likely fired up after the tough drop at UTMB. He’ll need some fire in his legs to run down Fanselow.
Ryan Burch: Another Fort Collins speedster and two-time winner of this race, Ryan had an eye popping run at Collegiate Peaks 50 mile in May where he set a new course record in 6:37. 50 miles is Ryan’s sweet spot, so wedging him in 3rd here in the predictions may be a mistake.
Zeke Tiernan: This Carbondale, CO resident won the inaugural running of Run Rabbit Run in 2007 (it was his very first ultra race). He doesn’t race much but when he does race, it means something. His last ultra race was Leadville 2010, where he earned 2nd overall.
Charles Corfield: I believe he has something like 10 residences but we’ll say he’s from Boulder. At 53 years old, Charles continues to amaze people. Just three weeks ago he ran probably the best race of his life taking 8th overall at Leadville 100 in a zippy time of 19:09. He also ran 2nd to Zeke at this race in 2007. He can run hot and cold, though. If he’s hot, he’ll be podium potential.
Corey Hanson: From Bellvue, CO, Corey has put together an impressive year so far with solid runs, including a course record at the Rocky Mountain Double Marathon, a win a the North Fork 50 mile, and showing his climbing ability with a 9th overall at the Pikes Peak Marathon. As far as I can see, 4th-6th here are interchangeable.
Anita Ortiz: Eagle, Co. Really, does anything else need to be said? Well, she showed that she is in fact human at Western States where she ran 25:20, which is nearly 7 hours off her winning run there in 2009. I wouldn’t want to line up with her here. Make room for a new women’s course record.
Helen Cospolich: This Brekenridge, CO resident is another 50k/50mi specialist. After grinding out a 30+ hour run (and 6th place woman) at UTMB, this will seem like a 10k for her.
Denise Bourassa: Making the trip down from Boise, ID, Denise has been consistent in all her ultras over the last three years and shows skill at all distances (she just placed 2nd at Waldo 100k last month). She’ll be ready to pounce at the slightest weakness shown by the two ladies in front of her.
Good wishes to all the participants.