Hayden Cog Run set to return Saturday | CraigDailyPress.com

Hayden Cog Run set to return Saturday

Joel Reichenberger

Joy Stearns powers her way up Cog Road in 2010 during the annual Hayden Cog Run. The race kicks off this year's Steamboat Springs Running Series at 10 a.m. Saturday in Hayden.

— Jill Delay said the running community in Hayden — by reputation, a town more likely to go for a horse ride than a jog — isn't so much thriving as it is blossoming.

"Up and coming," she said Wednesday.

The annual Hayden Cog Run never has catered to an elite class of in-town runners, however, and this year Delay and other organizers are hoping the long-running event can reach new heights with a special formula. They hope to combine runners from Hayden — those experienced in races and otherwise — runners from elsewhere in the county and runners from the Front Range to make the 36th annual event a hit.

"We have been trying to ramp it up," Delay said. "We are expecting quite a crowd."

The early numbers for the race, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Hayden Town Park on Third Street, are positive. Whereas two racers a year ago signed up a week ahead of time, this year 35 had.

The Craig Hotshots forest firefighting crew has promised to come if it can, bringing about 20 more runners. Efforts to spread the word of the Cog Run — which bills itself as the longest-running running race in Colorado — on the Front Range seem to be paying off, as well.

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"We ordered 100 shirts," Delay said. "If we gave them all away, I will be ecstatic."

The Cog Run includes a 5-kilometer run across a flat course, perfect for those who aren't regulars in running races. And it includes its namesake race, an 8.4-mile jaunt up the steep pitch of the Cog Road.

Registration is available for both races online at http://www.runningseries.com for $25.

"The fact that you're going 4.2 miles up the Cog, then back down, that is craziness in my book, but a lot of people like it," Delay said. "It's a type of tradition with a lot of people. They want to make sure they get out and do it every year."

The entry fee includes a T-shirt and winners will get medals hand-crafted by welding students in Hayden.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9