OURAY – With an anticipated 700 runners from across the country, including an Olympic athlete and a top finisher in the 2014 Boston Marathon, the Mt. Sneffels Education Foundation hosts its 14th annual half-marathon and its fourth annual full marathon on Saturday, Aug. 9.
Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team (10,000 meter), is competing in this year’s race. “I’ve actually run most of the half-marathon course before when visiting family in Silverton, and I’d love to come up there and take a shot at the course record,” she said.
Cherobon-Bawcom is the current U.S. 25-kilometer and 10-mile record holder, and her half-marathon personal record is 1:09:55.
“This woman is the most accomplished runner our race has ever seen,” said race director and former MSEF president John Ferguson. “I am thrilled she is coming!”
Jeffrey Eggleston, the 8th-place finisher in the 2014 Boston Marathon, will also be participating in this year’s race, along with course record holder Mario Macais, and two-time returning women’s champion Christie Foster.
Both the half-marathon and full marathon boast USTAF-certified courses, with stunning scenery along the way. “I can attest that the Mt. Sneffels race course is amongst the most beautiful of any marathon in the world,” said Ferguson, who has run in marathons on every continent across the globe.
The half-marathon course begins at the Ouray Hot Springs Park, winds its way through Ouray (elev. 7,700 feet) under the shadow of Mt. Abram, then heads north on County Road 17 to County Road 23 along the picturesque Uncompahgre River Valley with long views of the Sneffels and Cimarron mountain ranges, ending in the Town of Ridgway (elev. 7,000 feet). The full marathon starts in Ridgway, goes to Ouray, and returns to Ridgway along the same lovely course.
The Mt. Sneffels Education Foundation is a local organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for Ouray County’s youth. The organization aims to involve the Ouray County community in developing resources to enrich our students’ lives and broaden their educational experiences. Founded in 1992, the organization has raised funds for such activities as arts and music programs, athletic events and travel opportunities. In 2013–2014, 39 projects were funded for a total of approximately $65,000.
The Mt. Sneffels Half-Marathon and Marathon have grown to become an important source of fundraising for MSEF over the years. The Half-Marathon, now in its 14th year, attracts over 500 runners annually. The Marathon, which began four years ago, is quickly gaining in popularity, and already attracts more than 80 runners each year. Runners come from more than half of the 50 United States.
For more information about Mt. Sneffels Education Foundation, please visit mtsneffels.org. To learn more about the Mt. Sneffels Half-Marathon and Marathon, visit mtsneffelsmarathon.com/index.php/race-info/course.html.
It is not too late to register for the race. To inspire runners, there will be a free screening of Spirit of the Marathon II at the historic Wright Opera House in Ouray on Friday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. Julie Weiss, (aka Marathon Goddess), is featured in the film and will introduce the film. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Seats are limited.