Aura surrounding Boston Marathonan awesome experience for Puebloan

by | May 1, 2002 | News Articles

May, 2002 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi


Aura surrounding Boston Marathonan awesome experience for Puebloan

You don’t go to the Boston Marathon to set personal records.

There are too many runners and little room to maneuver. The course is hilly and downright nasty if you don’t run on pavement all the time. Then there’s the Eastern U.S. humidity that can be a problem for those who are not accustomed to it.

Instead, you go to take in the entire spectacle, to say you’ve run Boston, to be part of a unique tradition-filled experience. And, since you have to qualify to run it, to do something that most serious runners always dream of doing.

So, with all that in mind, Pueblo’s Katherine Frank is quite content with having run last month’s Boston in the the second fastest of her eight marathons in the time of 3:24:58. In fact, she’s still basking in the glow three weeks later.

“It was awesome,” Frank said of this year’s race, noting the constant cheers from the fantastic crowds that lined the course plus the support she had from a couple of special friends along the way.

As noted above, Boston also is one of those big marathons where you’re always in a group. As Frank pointed out: “It was crowded the whole way.”

To give you an idea of how tightly packed the runners are at Boston, consider that Frank and Cañon City’s Dean Sandoval crossed the finish line three-hundreths of a second apart, yet officially there were 10 other finishers between them.

The hills don’t help, and it’s not just the uphills.

“Boston tears your legs up,” she explained. “My quads really tightened up at about the halfway mark. It’s a rolling course with a lot of downhill and a lot of pavement.”

Still, her time placed her 530th out of 5,340 women and 425th of 3,442 in her age division. In the entire field, she was 4,706th out of 14,578 runners.

This was the 30-year-old Frank’s second Boston (she ran it in 2000 while coming back from a stress fracture) and the third consecutive year she has qualified for it. Her PR is the 3:21:41 she ran in Denver this past November.

Frank ran her first marathon in Honolulu in 1997 as a member of Team in Training, a program that raises money to fight leukemia. Her coach during that training provided her with great insights into speedwork, tempo runs, trail running and strength training and was there to support her at Boston last month.

A Colorado Springs native who attended Fountain Valley High School, Frank has a bachelor’s degree from Bates College in Maine and both her master’s and doctorate degrees in English from the University of Washington. She became Associate Professor of English and co-director of the writing program at the University of Southern Colorado last fall.

She quickly became immersed in the local running scene after arriving in Pueblo last summer, and she was elected 2002 president of the Southern Colorado Runners organization in January. You can usually find her name among the women leaders in just about any race she enters.

Even now, when she’s still recovering from running Boston.

Running Notes

Among the many thousands who ran the Cherry Creek Sneak on April 28 were Pueblo’s Dick LeDoux, who was 24th overall in the men’s division in 28:10 over the five-mile course, and former University of Southern Colorado cross-country standout Stella Heffron, who was eighth overall among all women with her 31:55 time.

For those of you planning to run the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day, you can feel at home despite being hours away. That’s because participants and their supporters from this area meet after the race in section 215 of Folsom Stadium for revelry and to watch the parade of finishing runners, including the elite field.

Mercury Track Club

Athletes between the ages of 8 and 18 from throughout Colorado and also some older ones in an Open division will be in Pueblo on Saturday, May 25, for the Mercury Invitational track meet at Dutch Clark Stadium. Races will be held from 100 meters up to 5,000 meters, at four different distances in the hurdles, in relays, in race-walking and steeplechase and in various field events. This is a Junior Olympic qualifying meet.

Organizers stress that you do not have be a member of the Mercury Track Club to participate. The meet is sanctioned by the USA Track & Field Youth Association though, and you must be a member to compete. Athletes can sign up to become such a member on the day of the meet for $12.

This is the MTC’s 11th season, and it has sent approximately 390 young Pueblo athletes to the Colorado Junior Olympics. Practice for the Mercury club’s summer season begins this week at the South High School track. If you want more information about the organization or the upcoming Mercury Invitational, call Keith Johnson at 564-8815.

Multi-sport notes

Triathletes always love new area triathlons. Hence, spots will fill early for the new sprint triathlon in Alamosa that has been named “Tri the San Luis Valley.” It is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday, June 30, and the event is limited to the first 200 who enter by June 28. The race will include a 1K swim, 20K road bike and 5K run.

Highly unusual for Colorado races are the flat bike and run legs. Of course, you’ll need a wetsuit to avoid going numb first in the cold swim in San Luis Lake. A pasta feed the night before has been scheduled to help fuel the athletes. For information, call (719) 658-2100 or e-mail

Y-Bi Classic Duathlon

The Y-Bi Classic Duathlon last month drew a good – and talented – field for its new run-bike-run format, and noteworthy is that it didn’t have any rain or snow for once. But there was plenty of wind. The top local finisher was Pueblo’s Andrew Hackler, 34, who was 22nd overall with a time of 1:09:50 over the course comprised of a 2.5-mile run, 11.2-mile bike and 3-mile run. Among the 131 finishers were the two oldest – John Holiman, 75, and Gerald Puls, 76, who are both from Pueblo.

Upcoming Pueblo-area Races

* May 18 – Ordinary Mortals Triathlon, women-only race, 525-meter swim, 12-mile bike, 3-mile run, Pueblo Regional Center in Pueblo West, 7 a.m., 543-5151.
* May 19 – Ordinary Mortals Triathlon, men-only race, 525-meter swim, 12-mile bike, 3-mile run, Pueblo Regional Center in Pueblo West, 7 a.m., 543-5151.
* May 25 – Custer 2020 Run in the Valley, 5K run/1M walk/run, Westcliffe, 8 a.m., 1-877-793-3170.
* June 1 – A Caring Pregnancy Center Run/Walk, 5K, run and 2M walk, City Park, 9 a.m. run, 9:30 a.m. walk, 561-3032.
* June 8 – River Run Classic, 5K run/walk & 10K run, Cañon City, 275-1578.
* June 22 – Run for Rio, 5K, Rye, (719) 859-5136.
* June 29 – Little Run on the Prairie, 5K run/1M walk, 8 a.m., Lovell Park in Pueblo West, 547-9273.

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