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Runoff race officials test odds with later date

Here’s a bit of advice for all of you planning to run the 31st annual Spring Runoff this year: Don’t show up on the traditional first Sunday of the month, which is this Sunday. You’ll be in the Dutch Clark Stadium parking lot all by your lonesome, waiting aimlessly in your car, the previous few days of carbo-loading gone to waste.

That’s because for the first time since the race was moved from February to March back in its infancy when it was held at the Pueblo Mall, this year’s Runoff will be held on the second Sunday of March. That’s March 8 according to my USA wall calendar.

Credit Runoff race officials – and their good memories – for the date change. All during the past year, they remembered shivering while working in the 2008 Runoff’s frigid temperatures and robust near-gale-force windy conditions that, while no picnic to run in, made it even worse to work in. Thus, when selecting the date for this year’s extravaganza, race officials figured staging the race even one week later might increase the odds of having a better weather day.

Last year’s conditions, while a burden for workers, certainly didn’t affect the number of entrants. The 1.6-mile walk, 1-mile fun run and the 5K, 10K and 10-mile races had 698 finishers, which was a new Runoff record. And it didn’t include many more who signed up but didn’t make it to the starting or finishing line.

What’s incredible is that 50+ unregistered runners woke up in the morning last year, saw their tree limbs being tossed about by the wind, slurped down some warm coffee while throwing on cold-weather running gear, signed up before the 9 a.m. starting gun went off and ran their race of choice, proving once again that runners are on a different planet than much of society.

But that’s the beauty of the Spring Runoff. While it isn’t the first race of the year for some, it usually serves as the opening barometer for many to test their level of racing fitness following a reloading early in the new year. It becomes the opening benchmark they use in implementing their training plan geared toward another big year of racing.

Besides the race date change, the other biggest change will be the logistics before the race. Packet pickup and race-day registration will be in the concession area on the opposite side of Dutch Clark Stadium, where the visitors normally sit for football games. But the start will be in its usual place on the west side of the complex.

Most important is that the long-sleeved T-shirts will be attractive, there will be ample course marshals, and accurate finish times will again be provided by the Southern Colorado Runners. As hinted earlier in this column, the official distance of the walk is now listed as 1.6 miles instead of incorrectly referred to as two miles in previous years.

Runoff notes

Early registration will close at 5 p.m. this Friday, and race forms are available at The Pueblo Chieftain, Gold Dust Saloon, Pueblo YMCA and online at www.socorunners.org. Complete race information is available on the entry form.

As of mid-week, the Runoff field had swelled to close to 300. That means that less than half of the anticipated field is procrastinating and waiting to register in the final week leading up to the race. After Friday, the fee goes from $20 for adults and $12 for those 18 and under to $25 for everyone. Race-day registration will be $30, and it will close at 8:15a.m. so that the race can start on time at 9 a.m.

Forty-seven runners prepped for the Runoff by running in the Southern Colorado Runners’ Spring Runoff Tuneup, a 10K Prediction Series race held Feb. 22 on the Runoff course but starting and finishing at the west end of City Park.

As it is intended, the Runoff is again attracting a wide age spectrum. As of mid-week, the youngest registered entrant is 5-year-old Caprina VanCura, who is doing the walk, while the most mature is John Holiman, who at the healthy age of 82 will be running the 5K.

Race series

The Spring Runoff will not be part of a three-race series as it was a year ago. The Toyota Series turned out to be a one-year deal that will not be staged this year. The other two races are – the Spank Blasing 5K & 10K and the Cinco de Mayo 2M walk and 5K and 10K runs – are again behind held, on April 25 and May 3, respectively.

The Blasing run will have chip timing this year, making it the first running race in Pueblo ever to use that technology. Chip timing actually was used in 2006 for the final Ordinary Mortals Triathlon that was held.

Race Calendar

• March 8 – Spring Runoff, toddlers, 1.6M, 5K, 10K & 10M, 9 a.m., Dutch Clark Stadium (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
• March 22 – Nature Center Trail Run, 10M & 4M), 9 a.m., Nature Center (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
• April 4 – Ramsgate 8 (Prediction Series race), 8K, 8 a.m., 8 Ramsgate in Belmont (dlpfost11@mindspringcom).
• April 18 – Panther Run, 5K & 2M fun walk, 10 a.m., Pueblo City Park (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
• April 25 – Spank Blasing 5K & 10K, 9 a.m. CSU-Pueblo (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
• May 2 – Blossom Day Run, 5K & 5M, 8 a.m., Centennial Park in Canon City (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
• May 3 – Cinco de Mayo, 2M walk, 5K & 10K runs, 7:30 a.m. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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