New courses bode well for Runoff participants

by | Dec 1, 2000 | News Articles

December, 2000 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi

New courses bode well for Runoff participants

While playing “dodge cars” against real autos with your own body might sound like a real blast for assorted masochists, some runners probably won’t miss those activities at the old Spring Runoff courses on Pueblo’s north side. Certainly not after they run the new courses from Dutch Clark Stadium.

Yes, runners (and walkers), you are in for a real treat next year when The Pueblo Chieftain-sponsored Runoff is held on March 4. I mention walkers because the 2001 Runoff definitely is adding a 2-mile walk division for the less hard core of our populace.

Note, too, that the 5-kilometer, 10-kilometer and 10-mile races have been retained, making the Spring Runoff an “event for every taste” of sorts. All four races will start together in the stadium parking lot and finish, a la the Bolder Boulder, with a three-quarter-lap loop on the stadium track before finishing in front of spectators in the north stands.

Without getting into specifics, the 10K and 10-mile courses will head toward City Park and drop down to the River Trail, which will eventually lead them up to the stadium from the back entrance. The 2-mile walk and 5K run will go toward City Park and return to the stadium parking lot before dropping down to that same river-side entrance.

Proving that it appeals to the masses, the Runoff will offer a $2 discount for everyone who pre-registers. Members of the Southern Colorado Runners will get a $2 discount since the SCR produces the event. The Chieftain will periodically publish an entry form boasting a $2 discount coupon. And the Spring Runoff web site, accessible as a hot link on the Chieftain’s home page, also will contain a $2 discount.

Those discounts won’t be available to kids 18 years old and younger, but there’s a good reason for that. The fee for youths who pre-register is just $10, making the race especially attractive to families.

Look for Runoff brochures in January, hopefully boasting the cool logo created by Chieftain artist Janna Camera. To build momentum, The Chieftain will publish a series of articles by a variety of community members leading up to the race.

You also will be able to register online from the Runoff’s web site or from

Multi-sport update

Multi-sport competition, once the exclusive realm of fanatics, has exploded and gone mainstream throughout the world. Consider that triathlon finally became an Olympic sport this year. Or that the Hawaii Ironman has become so popular that only a small fraction of “tri-geeks” are able to gain berths in it.

Colorado, a relative paradise for training, has caught this fever, with the number of triathlons in the state growing annually. This year, a half-Ironman was added in Aurora after plans to conduct it at the John Martin Reservoir were thwarted by logistical problems.

Next year, Boulder, a mecca for elite athletes, will host its own Ironman for both professionals and amateurs on Aug. 26. Also, a five triathlon series will be launched in Colorado, and it will include everything from the short “sprint” distance to the Sun Desert Half-Ironman in Grand Junction.

The ripple effects of this interest have even extended to Pueblo West, home of the Ordinary Mortals Triathlon. This event started rather modestly a few years ago as an opportunity for multi-sporters to test their cross-training skills in a low-key, competitive atmosphere.

That spirit still lives, but it has been caught by athletes of all ability levels from throughout the state. Each year the number of Ordinary Mortals entrants has grown, and race director Ben Valdez of the Pueblo YMCA has increased the number of participant slots.

Last year forced his hand, as the race field of 216 triathletes filled six weeks in advance and caused Ben to turn away about another 100 or so potential participants. What to do?

Well, an idea fostered by a fellow YMCA associate has led him to double the format of the Ordinary Mortals in 2001 to two days from one day. The first day – May 19 – will be for just females. The following day will be for just male triathletes.

The main challenge for Ben will be to find the volunteers to conduct two separate triathlons. He’s hoping that male-female “couples” will spend that weekend in Pueblo, participating one day and volunteering the other day while their significant others or friends compete. It would also be appreciated if members of the new Pikes Peak Triathlon Club supported the races by helping to conduct them.

Upcoming Area Races

* Dec. 10 – Excellent Adventure Prediction Run, 8+M, 9 a.m., 117 Regency.
* Jan. 1 – Search and Rescue Run, 5K & 10K, Palmer Park in Colorado Springs.

See ya next month.

Gary Franchi likes to receive e-mail, so send insightful thoughts and comments to him at