Area runners have their pick of sweet races

by | Jun 1, 2000 | News Articles

June, 2000 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi

Area runners have their pick of sweet races

For serious runners, it doesn’t get much better than summertime in Colorado. And if you live in Southeast Colorado, beginning in June you can race almost every weekend in the triangular area that includes Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Cañon City.

Summertime for the racing season kicked off early — on Memorial Day. OK, so the Bolder Boulder isn’t in Southeast Colorado. But each year, a large contingent of runners from this region makes the trip to run that race.

This year, they were part of 44,342 runners and walkers who registered for the Bolder Boulder. Quite impressive was that a native Puebloan — former two-time state high school cross country champion Chris Borton — finished 37th in that huge field. Chris, 24, who now lives in Castle Rock, had a super time of 34 minutes and 12 seconds on a very warm morning.

Tim Vigil was the first Puebloan to finish, recording an excellent 35:09 time for 59th place.

Upcoming Races

The fun just keeps coming from here, with some very popular races on tap this month. The two June local races are both this weekend — the Holy Family Fun Run on Friday (6:15 p.m. start) and the Cañon City River Run Classic 5K & 10K the following morning (8 a.m.). Both have fast courses and great organization, and once again this year there will be some outstanding post-race giveaways to be drawn at the Holy Family Run.

The biggest attractions are in Colorado Springs — the Garden of the Gods 10-mile race this Sunday (June 11) and the Sailin’ Shoes 5K & 10K races on June 17. Those are nap days for area runners since they have to rise so early in order to make it for the 7 a.m. starting times.

The Garden is a love/hate race. The course is extremely difficult, but the scenery is so spectacular and the challenge so captivating that runners find it hard to resist. The race also is part of the renewed Triple Crown of Running series in the Springs area.

THE PEAK — In case you had any thoughts of running either the Pikes Peak Ascent or Pikes Peak Marathon in August and you haven’t registered for them yet, forget it. Both races have been filled since April 29, and race officials stopped taking names for the waiting list on May 6.

FOR WOMEN ONLY — The first of Pueblo’s two annual women-only races will take place on July 1 when the Women’s Distance Festival 5K run and walk is held at City Park. This is a nice, low-key and non-threatening race for those women who might be considering racing for the first time. Entry forms are available at the Pueblo YMCA and the Gold Dust Saloon, or call Race Director Marijane Martinez at 564-6043.

AFTERMATH — Florence High School cross country coach Rich Hadley had exquisite back-to-back weekends recently, winning both the inaugural Run in the Valley 5K held May 27 in Westcliffe and the Run for Rio (3.2 miles) that took place Saturday (June 3) in Rye.

De La Cerda gives his best shot

Alamosa’s Peter De La Cerda ran in the U.S. Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials last month and barely missed qualifying for the upcoming Olympics. De La Cerda, a history teacher, led for 10 miles until being passed by eventual winner Rod DeHaven during the 23rd mile. He finished runnerup in 2:16:18 in just his second marathon, and his 5:12 per-mile pace was just one second per mile slower than DeHaven. Unfortunately, only the winner qualified for the Olympics.

De La Cerda has Pueblo ties. He is married to Rhonda Leyba, former running standout at FLorence High and daughter of Ray and Theresa Leyba of Pueblo. Peter, who ran at Adams State College, was a double winner in the Spring Runoff this year and won the HARP Riverwalk Run last July.

They ‘tri-ed’ their best

The three Puebloans who made the trip to Perth, Australia for the International Triathlon Union World Championships at the tail end of April represented their city well and will remember the event for what it was — the experience of a lifetime. While it was impossible to blow away the competition, they didn’t do too badly over the Olympic distance course that included a .9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike and 6.2-mile run.

Mike Orendorff was a solid 15th in the 45-49 male division with a time of 2:12.36. South High teammates Ryan Dorsey-Spitz and Blake Ottersberg competed despite being a bit under the weather. Even so, Dorsey-Spitz still placed 27th in his age division with a time of 2:16:41.

Ottersberg wasn’t as fortunate. His Elite Junior Male course included a bike leg that had six loops. A unique rule eliminated any riders who were lapped during the bike, and Blake was one of 14 riders lapped. With two years of Junior eligibility remaining, he will be out to do better should he qualify again next year.

Ottersberg, who will attend the University of Colorado this fall, got back on track by placing third overall in a sterling Ordinary Mortals Triathlon field held May 21 in Pueblo West.

Area cyclists await Ride the Rockies

A number of cyclists from Pueblo and Cañon City were lottery selections to participate in the seven-day, 458-mile Ride the Rockies bicycle tour that will begin June 18. More than 4,000 cyclists registered for the lottery in which 2,000 riders were selected. The tour begins in Trinidad and finishes in Idaho Springs on June 24, traversing five mountain passes along the way.

Pueblo cyclists drawn in the lottery were Joe Chorny, Keith Kepler, Steve Milligan, Victor Olguin, John Oribello, Gerald Puls, Elizabeth Ross, Robert Shifflet and Alton Warren. Cañon City riders eligible to ride are Michael Banker, Barbara Berge, Lowell Miller, Thomas Roemer, and Jane and Kirk Yamaguchi.

I say “eligible to ride” because all of the above won’t necessarily be riding on the tour. The names were drawn in February, and things happen during a four-month period. Like injuries, for instance. And lack of necessary training miles, for another. Those participating, however, will be adding to their list of memorable lifetime experiences.

EVENING RIDES — In Pueblo, casual mountain bikers can enjoy the series of moonlight rides that have been scheduled by the Great Divide. They begin at 7:30 p.m. at the City Park swimming pool parking lot and are about 12.5 miles in distance. The Great Divide has about 15 bike lights to loan out for these rides on a first-come basis. The next ride will be Friday, June 16. Call the Great Divide (564-2453) for subsequent ride dates.

Until next month, be thankful you are healthy and living in the greatest state in the country.

Send thoughts and comments to Gary Franchi via e-mail at