2014 Runner of the Year Nominees

by | Jan 20, 2015 | Awards

Gary Franchi for 2014 Male SCR ROTY   (nominated by Stacey Diaz)

I nominated Gary last year and thought he was a good candidate to win. Gary is not the fastest runner but he is one of the hardest working runners. He has a genuine love of running and I think that is important for the ROTY.

Gary’s body won’t let him do the things he wants to do but it hasn’t stopped him from running. Many others would just give up but not Gary. He just has accepted what he can do and does it without (much) complaining. He has competed in half ironman distance as well as 5K to the half marathon distance. Gary has been a runner for more years than I can count. I would call him an avid runner which I believe is a huge compliment. He has guts and heart which has kept him running despite his health issues when many others would just give up.

Gary has also been involved in the club since almost the beginning. He was newsletter editor for many years and won numerous awards for his work. He is also a volunteer at many races and can be found in his lawn chair at many finish lines running a clock/time machine. Now Gary is our club secretary.  I believe that this year is Gary’s year to win Runner of the Year.


Roger Giordano for 2014 Male SCR ROTY  (nominated by Kim Arline)

Roger Giordano is a phenomenal runner, club volunteer and mentor to many club members making him the ideal choice as our 2014 Male Runner of the Year.  Roger has been a mainstay at many local races, predict runs and more distant Colorado races for ten years.  His personal racing history this past year includes many PRs, another Boston Qualification marathon time and numerous overall and age group podium finishes such as:  

Winter Series – 2nd in AG, SRO 10K – 3rd overall and male masters, Blizzard Run – overall winner and 5k PR, Colorado Marathon – 1st in AG, Boston Qualifier, Barr Trail Mountain Race – New PR for race, 2:01:16,  Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon – First Pueblo finisher in both, 4th AG in marathon, 7th fastest doubler,  Denver Rock and Roll Half – PR, 1:29:59, Home Of Heroes 5k – 3rd overall, YMCA Turkey Trot 5K – 5th overall, new 5k PR (second this year!), Rock Canyon – top 20 and new PR, 1:26:28

Roger has been a dedicated volunteer with the Mini Mortals and Ordinary Mortals Triathlon since the race came back to Pueblo in 2011.  He learned how to time the race, helps mark the course and direct traffic.  Roger is the kind of guy we know isn’t afraid to stop traffic and protect our participants.  Roger is also involved volunteering at the Rock Canyon, Spring Run Off (even delivers patio heaters on freezing mornings for the volunteers), and took on co-hosting the Temple Canyon Predict race this past year.

Two years ago Roger and his wife, Sheri, started the Tour de Fair Predict race at the State Fairgrounds breathing new life into our urban running habits and typical format of runs.  The Tour de Fair reconnects many us with the pure joy of running like a kid on the playground through stables, around barrels and over stages with fun sprints to the finish.

But where Roger really shines as a running ambassador is how he welcomes so many local runners he meets along our trails and roads and encourages them to get involved in our running community and to join Southern Colorado Runners and Triathlon club.  He is responsible for half a dozen new members joining our club the past year.  He truly reaches out to other runners, offers advice, hosts group trail runs and track workouts.  His track workouts have helped Nelson Brentlinger, Jason Castro, Paul DallaGuardia, Rob Pratt, Kim Arline and Gwen Steves find a bit more speed. Two club members, Jason Castro and Melanie Ripke, admit Roger is who inspired them to challenge themselves and run their first marathon.  Jason is blessed with his own speed but benefited from Roger’s experience and trained together so Jason could qualify for Boston on his first marathon. 

Roger truly is a gifted, graceful runner.  We all wish we could run with his amazing economy of motion and glide across the ground at his speed.    But we appreciate his advice, his kind words of encouragement and struggle along behind him, hoping just to catch a glimpse of the Greek God running back on an out and back course as he effortlessly offers us a smile and friendly hello!


Paul LaBar for 2014 Male SCR ROTY  (nominated by Carrie Franchi, Dave Diaz)

We would like to nominate Paul LaBar for Runner of the Year.  Paul is a valuable SCR member serving as webmaster for 7 years and past SCR President for 3 years.  During that time he helped the club spending many hours doing computerized race timing and added the ability for the club to do chip timed events.  In addition to that he helped the club transition to an online content management web site that allows many members to more easily add and update information.  He also helped the SCR Tri Team become part of SCR and was involved with the Ordinary Mortals and Mini Mortals triathlons.

Paul’s running achievements have included the 2014 Hardscrabble 45K Trail Run, as well as doubling at the Peak, that is on Saturday he completed the Pikes Peak Ascent then the next day, Sunday, completed the Pikes Peak Marathon.  He has run the Colorado Marathon twice and the Ascent twice, as well as several half-marathons.  Paul has a great attitude when it comes to his running…“I haven’t placed but I’ve always finished!”



Paulette Arns for 2014 Female SCR ROTY  (nominated by Kim Arline)

Paulette Arns is a longtime, behind the scenes power house volunteer in the Southern Colorado Runners Club.  She just finished a 6-year stint as our Treasurer tracking finances for countless races including entry fees, porta potty, Sheriff, food and drink costs.  Anyone that has directed a race is quite familiar with how much work our Treasurer does behind the scenes to keep all the bills paid and members happy! But until the past year, SCR was very involved with outside organizations hosting races and Paulette had to deal with additional fees for those organizations during those busy years. 

Not only has Paulette dedicated countless hours to our club’s finances, she has been one of the main backbones in our club race timing crew.  She is an expert in the complicated chip timing system, race director software, integration of registrations into the system, as well as the old timing system.  The hours Paulette has dedicated to making sure participants get a quality race time are too numerous to count.  While the rest of us went home to warm up after the cold Spring Run Off,  Paulette spent another 6 hours that day going through every race time to rectify problems encountered with freezing temperatures that interfered with the computer and timing system, amongst other challenges that threw a wrench into that freezing morning.  She kept her head down and quietly worked hours to create quality results to publish later. 

Paulette gave up more than half her weekends during the busy race season to help other organizations host races.  She did this without complaint and without fanfare.  Paulette quietly works behind the scenes and gets the job done.  She even volunteered for the monthly Pueblo West Walk and Bike to School Days making sure kids safely crossed the busiest trail intersection and got a participation raffle ticket along the way!  Paulette truly has been instrumental in helping Pueblo become a healthier place to live and play.  We owe her a tremendous amount of gratitude for her countless hours dedicated to promoting running in our community!

But this nomination is not complete without a mention of her running accomplishments.  When Paulette is not busy with club business, she actually gets to run once in a while herself.  She often places in the top three or four in her age group, especially at longer distances races such as the Pikes Peak Marathon, Pikes Peak Ascent, and ultra marathons such as the Hardscrabble 45 km (3rd), and Greenland Trail 50 km (1st).  She quietly trains and kicks butt on the course, just like she quietly goes about volunteering in our community.

Nominated by Stacey Diaz and Kim Arline


Patti Canchola for 2014 Female SCR ROTY  (nominated by Sheri Giordano)

I believe Dr. Patti Canchola embodies the criteria and vision for Female Runner of the Year. She is “young” at running and despite “newbie” injuries; she continues her passion of the sport.

Patti’s running and racing experience was pretty “newbie”. She started with her first treadmill run Sept 2011 and over the past three years has learned AND experienced everything from what to eat when and why; to recovering from injuries A thru Z! 

2014 was probably her best racing year ever- Just like wine, we all do get better with age!   This year she had her most Personal Record’s (PR) and most First and Second place wins in her age bracket. She claims that she is still pursuing the ever eluding half marathon PR- maybe in 2015!  She completed her first marathon in (Rock n Roll) Denver, October of this year. She crossed the finish line in good spirits and good shape ready to run another!

Dr. Patti has been a Southern Colorado Club Member for the last three years.  Some of her memorable volunteer moments; the first two were overshadowed by injuries-

  1. Boston Marathon Fund Raiser-
  2. Rock Canyon Half Marathon – handing out medals
  3. Race Packet Stuffing’s
  4. Race Packet Pick-ups
  5. Participation in Prediction Runs.

Community Involvement

Currently, Dr. Patti is the staff veterinarian for the Pueblo Animal Services (PAS).  To those not familiar with shelter medicine, it is both physically and emotionally grueling.  Dr. Patti’s passion of helping animals and her position at the shelter afford her the opportunity to be involved in some of the most necessary and rewarding aspects of shelter medicine – that of saving lives, helping control diseases, caring for neglected and abandoned dogs and cats, and of course the spay/neuter programs.  

On weekends, Dr. Patti opened St. Martin’s WellPet Clinic in April, 2011 and Amazin Amos’ Pet Pantry in June, 2011.  St. Martin’s is open on Saturday’s only, and is a low-cost alternative for non-emergency routine pet care.  Amazin Amos’ Pet Pantry helps families feed and care for their pets, many who would not be able to do so without the assistance of St. Martin’s, Amos’ Pet Pantry, or both.  Through Amazin Amos’ Pet Pantry, Dr. Patti has given food to many animal owners who have found themselves in a financial emergency situation. Clients must show evidence of need, for example, disability, or government aid. No one is turned away on their first visit, regardless if they qualify or not.  She does her best to help people keep their pets when money is short.  Amos’s Pet Pantry is Pueblo’s only non-profit pet pantry.

In addition, she provides free vaccinations and wellness checks each summer for the Posada Community Picnic, provides Colorado wide 9News Pet Check; free vaccinations and routine veterinary care to underprivileged families. This summer she also worked a weekend spay and neuter-a-thon with Paw Co- a non profit state wide adoption and spay neuter service. Also in June of this year she also was a team member for the Relay for Life Cancer Awareness weekend.

A culminating event for community service was Dr. Patti’s selection in May of 2014 with  the prestigious YWCA Anna Tausig “Women of the Year” Award for Professional Achievement.

A positive role model for others to attempt a new distance or event,

As you can imagine, working with neglected or lost animals can be stressful, running is a healthy alternative and with that, in the past 3 years Dr. Patti has help motivate a big handful of friends at her work place. Some even signing up for their first 5k or their first marathon! Just recently she inspired a colleague recovering from a horseback running accident to resume her running! The two will be running the Colorado Marathon together in 2015!

 Has coached others or overcome obstacles to reach a new level in his/her own running. 

Dr. Patti started training for the Rock n Roll Marathon 10 months in advance. After knee surgery in Dec 2013, she resumed building a base that started with a 5k seven weeks later.  Over the past 12 months she has completed: Nine 5k’s; Three 10k’s; Three Half Marathons; Her first Marathon; Completed the Saucony 500 mile challenge; and a handful of Southern Colorado Runners Predicts as well as virtual runs.


Gloria Montoya for 2014 Female SCR ROTY  (nominated by Anonymous)

I want to nominate Gloria Montoya for SCR runner of the year 2014.  Gloria has been a long time SCR club member and a long time runner. Gloria is very consistent in her running and since turning 60 regularly places in her age group.  She took 1st place in the following 2014 races:  Spring Runoff, Platte River Half-Marathon, Colorado Springs Half-Marathon, Denver Rock n Roll Half-Marathon, Rock Canyon Half-Marathon, and age group winner in the PPRR Winter Series.

Gloria has volunteered at a couple of events this past year namely packet stuffing and packet handout for both the Spring Runoff and Rock Canyon Half-Marathon.

I have known Gloria for a long time and I find her to be very encouraging to other runners. I also think she is just a nice person.