If you go

What: Boulder Spring Half Marathon, 10 mile and 10K runs

When: Sunday; races start at 8 and 8:15 a.m.

Where: Boulder Reservoir

More info: Details and registration at bouldermarathon.com

B efore last year, area runners had to go to Moab to get a half marathon in March, said Kali Abel, manager of the women's racing team for Fleet Feet Sports in Boulder.

But the Boulder Spring Half Marathon has filled the gap in the racing calendar.

This weekend, Abel's team will have nine runners in the various races at the second annual Boulder Spring Half Marathon. (Abel is also running, in the 10K, she said.)

"This kind of kicks off the season of longer races," Abel said. "And it's a nice kickoff, actually."

Jeff Mason, race director for the Boulder Spring Half Marathon, said he expects to have 2,000 runners at the Boulder Reservoir on Sunday for the run -- the same number he had last year, in its first iteration.

The half marathon starts at 8 a.m.; the 10-mile and 10K start at 8:15. And you don't have to run -- you can walk.

Often, people training for runs like the Boston Marathon, on April 18, will do half marathons like this as part of their training, said Colleen de Reuck, a four-time Olympian and Boulder resident.

"A lot of runners will be using it as a good steady tempo run," she said.

De Reuck said she'll be running Sunday, but not really racing.

"I'm not that fit and fast anymore," she said.

Her husband and coach, Darren de Reuck, is doing the run as well.

Mason said when he learned that Colleen would be running in the half marathon, he was overjoyed.

"Just the fact that she's running speaks to the fact that the race has become very popular," he said.

Abel said she's not surprised that the Spring Half is popular. With the time of year, the three distances offered at the Spring Half and the ease of heading to the familiar Boulder Reservoir, the run is a good opportunity for an early-season race, she said.

"In this town ... people see a new race and are like, 'I can do that,'" she said.

Besides, even after a mild winter, Abel said, "We're all kind of antsy to get out the door."

As a runner himself, Mason wanted an early-season distance race, too.

"For years I thought, someone's going to do a major half marathon in the spring, and what better place than Boulder County?" he said.

Since no one did, he did it himself. As the organizer of the Boulder Marathon, he said he had a head start on putting together the Spring Half.

"I started talking to the Res a couple of years ago about getting an open date on a spring weekend, and they gave me the weekend and they made it happen," Mason said.