December, 2001 Fit to be Tied Column
From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi
“There comes a time when you realize that virtually anything is possible.”
– Kobi Yamoda
Pueblo’s Reno chases his dream as walk-on runner at Adams State
Kyle Reno is a believer. Somewhere along the way, Reno began to believe that he could accomplish great things as a runner.
For one, he was touched by a speech given by legendary former Adams State College running coach Joe Vigil in Pueblo Central High School’s auditorium a few years back. He also was inspired by Vigil’s “Road to the Top” book, which Reno took home from there that night. In addition, the High-Altitude Camp for runners that he attended in Alamosa following his sophomore year at Pueblo County High School ignited the spark further.
Whatever the motivations, Kyle has a dream. And unlike most others, he is seriously chasing his dream.
The quest has taken Reno to Adams State College, where running is legendary, as evidenced by the nearly 30 national championships that have been earned by the ASC men’s and women’s cross country teams under coaches Vigil and his successor, Damon Martin.
The list of past All-America runners at ASC is lengthy and includes Olympic athletes Pat Porter, Julie Jenkins, Mirsada Buric, Martin Johns and Shane Healy. Adams State has the distinction of being the only school in college history to sweep the top five places in a national championship meet, which the men did in 1992 in Slippery Rock, Pa, with an incredible four-second pack time.
“He had always dreamed of going there because all the good runners go there,” said his mother, Diana Reno.
As a walk-on, Kyle, who is studying English, just completed his freshman cross-country season at Adams, adhering to the somewhat reduced-mileage training schedule that most ASC freshmen follow. Although he wasn’t a member of the “first team,” Kyle still trained extremely hard and fast, and the 60+ weekly mileage he ran represented a significant jump from the 30-35 miles per week he ran during his prep cross-country seasons. Reno also competed in a couple of 10K races in college meets as an “unattached runner.”
His coach, Martin, likes what he saw in Kyle this season.
“He’s a great kid who works very hard and he’s getting a lot better,” noted Martin. “He has a great attitude. Mentally, he’s tougher than a lot of our kids. He can continue to develop and get better and better.”
What makes the Reno saga so intriguing is its unlikely nature.
Kyle doesn’t have the typical body of a runner. He isn’t lean, slight or short. Instead, he is somewhat tall, big-boned and has some meat on those bones. As Martin pointed out, though, “By and large, runners come in all shapes and sizes.”
Reno showed up at a County High cross-country practice as a freshman only because he was accompanying a friend, Ryan Singleton, who was on the team. At the time, Kyle was a pudgy kid who looked more like a football player. He had no intention of running that day, but Jeff Arnold, the County High coach then, asked him to run with the group.
“He didn’t even remotely resemble a runner,” said Arnold, adding that he never expected Reno to come back and run the next day.
But Kyle did, and he was smitten by the sport. Over his high school career, he grew four inches, dropped four belt sizes, got inspired and trained hard under Arnold’s nurturing coaching style. Probably too hard, since the young runner developed a hip problem that plagued him throughout his junior year and still requires occasional chiropractic touches from Dr. David Biby.
Reno’s cross country and track accomplishments in high school are notable but still somewhat modest for someone who goes on to run in college, especially considering the caliber of a running factory like Adams State. His only visit to state was as a sophomore, and his best cross-country times were in the 19-minute range. His track PRs are 4:58 in the 1,600 meters, 10:51 in the 3,200 and a 2:07 split on the 4×800 relay.
But he’s always been a highly motivated runner.
“He wanted to be good more than any other kid I’ve ever had,” said Arnold. “I had other kids who worked as hard as him, but nobody wanted it more.” That’s saying something since Arnold has coached, among others, such notables as Steve Cathcart (an All-American at Western State), Paul Koch, Mark Koch, Jeff Wooten and Stone Wasowicz.
Reno is making great strides. He’s run many road races over the last two or three years and has dropped his 5K and 10K times considerably.
This summer, while following the rigorous Adams State training schedule that “bridges” the mileage and intensity gap between high school and the freshman year of college, he improved his 5K time to an 18:38 in the Holy Family 5K in June and then to a 17:32 while finishing fourth overall in the Grand Prix Mayor’s Cup field in Woodland Park in August. Now he’s got to step up that pace to his training at Adams State and to the 10K college distance.
Indeed, Reno, notes that “with every good workout, I get inspired.” He also admits that if he could accomplish anything in running at ASC, he’d like to go to at least one national meet, where he would have the chance to make All-America.
“We always said Kyle was going to be the one who was going to chase his dreams,” noted Mrs. Reno.
But they’ll only come true if you chase them because you believe.
Kyle Reno believes.
Think runners take a break over the holidays? Hardly. If anything, some have even more time to train because of vacation days. Hey, and what better way to relieve stress and burn off some calories than to get in a few long, base-building jaunts.
Racing-wise, however, last Sunday’s Rock Canyon Half-Marathon marked the end of the 2001 regular racing season in Pueblo, since only a Prediction Series race remains on the schedule. That will take place this Sunday when The Excellent Adventure is held on the South Side. This is a low-key, eight-mile run in which runners predict their times and run without watches. For information, call the number listed below.
Racers have the chance to start 2002 on the right foot once again by heading north for the Search and Rescue Run in Colorado Springs on New Year’s Day. The 10 a.m. starting time gives revelers some time to shake out the cobwebs in the morning. Many runners from the Pueblo area traditionally make the trip for either the 5K or the 10K races. Entry forms are available at the Pueblo YMCA, the Gold Dust Saloon or via the web site of the Pikes Peak Road Runners.
Upcoming Area Races
* Dec. 9 – The Excellent Aventure, 8M Prediction Series race, 117 Regency, 9 a.m. (564-6043).
* Jan. 1 – Search and Rescue Run, 5K & 10K, Palmer Park, Colorado Springs, 10 a.m. (719-473-7848).
* Feb. 2 – Frostbite Five, 5M, Pueblo City Park, 10 a.m. (543-5151).
Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at email@example.com.