Craig Duathalon scheduled for June 2010

The Craig Duathalon route

• The first 5K of the race will be run on the cross-country course at Loudy-Simpson Park, 500 S. Ranney St.

• The next phase will be a 30K bike ride starting from Loudy-Simpson and looping on Ranney Street.

• The final 5K also will run at Loudy-Simpson Park

The race is open to everyone, but registration is required. For more information, call Trapper Health Club at 824-6932

The third year was the charm for Jim Gregoire’s dream of a running and biking event in Craig.

Gregoire, manager at Trapper Health Club, had been trying to add Craig as a venue to the Steamboat Springs Running Series, and at 8 a.m. June 26, his dream will become reality.

Craig will host the Craig Duathalon, a 40K running and biking race sponsored by Colorado Northwest Community College and the health club.

“This took three years to put together,” Gregoire said. “The first year I was here, I thought ‘Why don’t they have a race here? They have one in Hayden, one in Kremmling.’”

But the first year he tried to get an event in Craig, Gregoire said he wasn’t able to get any traction on the proposal.

This past year, however, he was able to get the deal done with the help of a new director, Cara Marrs.

“She is a longtime acquaintance, and I ran into her and mentioned it,” Gregoire said. “She said, ‘Craig should have something; it’s in the same valley.’”

The first Craig Duathalon will start with a 5K (about three miles) run, then a 30K (18 miles) bike ride and another 5K run.

“It will be on the Moffat County cross-country course for both runs,” Gregoire said. “The 30K will be two loops around the power plant block and out onto the highway to First Street, onto Ranney and back.”

Gregoire said he scouted various locations around Craig.

“We looked at Cedar Mountain and the trails there are nice, but the logistics were a little too tough to make the bike race interesting and safe,” he said. “But, at that time of year with all the mountain running they have, I thought maybe a flat, fast course would be better.”

The course at Loudy-Simpson and the road near the Craig power plant are appealing for several reasons, Gregoire said.

“It’s a pretty course — the 5K is really flat and the two laps on the power plant road onto the highway offers a couple rollers, and it’s what I would call an honest bike course,” he said. “Todd Trapp has been gracious enough to set up his cross-country 5K course. That’s a big relief, because he has a beautiful course out there.”

The course offers something other venues do not, Gregoire added.

“There’s some grass running on the soccer field, which is true cross-country running and there is nothing like it in (the Steamboat Springs Running Series),” he said. “That’s truly a cross-country run. It’s usually on trails or asphalt, so we’ll have a good mix.”

The power plant loop, located on Ranney Street, is one of the roads Gregoire frequents on his road bike.

“I like it, it’s a demanding little loop,” he said. “I even don’t mind getting to the power plant — you look at those stacks and know they are some of the cleanest stacks in the United States, and there’s always something about the loop that’s satisfying.”

Gregoire said participants can tackle the course as an individual or on a team.

The goal of the duathalon is to introduce the area as a running destination, Gregoire said.

“We’re not going to make money on this the first year and eventually, we just hope to break even,” he said. “These aren’t money making ventures.”

Gregoire said he would like to see the Craig Duathalon become a fixture of the running series and to have it attract out-of-town athletes.

“I think in a few years, if we can put together the quality race I think we can, we’ll be able to generate some tourists,” he said. “A lot of locals do these races, but the majority of people who do these are from out of town.”

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