Spring Runoff is Truly an Event for Everyone

by | Jan 1, 2005 | News Articles

January, 2005 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi


Spring Runoff is Truly an Event for Everyone

Young, old, big, small, fast, slow – The Pueblo Chieftain’s Spring Runoff has had them all in its 26-year history, and with good reason.

That’s because the Runoff is truly a race for everyone. With five different events — six if you count the 50-yard Toddler Race for those 6 years of age and under — there’s something for every level of conditioning.

Sure, the showcase events are the 5-kilometer, 10K and 10-mile races for seasoned endurance runners. But there’s also a 2-mile fun walk and a 1-mile “Funner to be a Runner” race for first-timers.

So when the 27th annual version of the Runoff is held on March 6 at Dutch Clark Stadium, it wouldn’t be surprising if the number of finishers approaches the 611 that completed last year’s event. The event has blossomed since being moved to Dutch Clark in 2002 after having stints in the Northridge area of Pueblo and at the Pueblo Mall, where it all started in 1979.

Still, for an event that considers itself as being “for the common people,” it is ironic that the Runoff has drawn its share of big dogs over the years.

Olympians Pat Porter and Deena Drossin (now Castor) have raced (and, of course, won) in the Runoff. Maddy Tormoen, a demon in world duathlon competition in her heyday, was a three-time winner in the 10-mile race. Pueblo’s own Dick LeDoux, good enough in his prime to run in the elite international division of the Bolder Boulder, was a five-time Runoff winner.

But it was a former Puebloan who has forged the most victories in the Runoff. That distinction belongs to Steve Cathcart, who has notched seven victories in the Runoff, claiming wins in the 5K, 10K and 10-mile races.

Cathcart, voted into the Pueblo Sports Hall of Fame recently, has now reached the mature age of 40 but is as speedy as ever. Steve now trains in his hometown of Fort Collins, but he annually makes the trip to Pueblo for the Runoff.

In case you were wondering, Cathcart isn’t the only runner to post overall victories in the 5K, 10K and 10-mile divisions. Peter De La Cerda and Phil Castillo have also accomplished that feat.

There is one notable change in the Runoff this year. The 2-mile competitive walk, which was started in 2001, has been changed to a fun walk and will give ribbons and finish times to all participants but no awards.

Too many walkers abused the no-run rule in past years, drawing the ire of the serious walkers. Race officials found it impossible to police the entire field, which totalled 113 finishers in 2004.

One walker who was almost gypped out of his overall victory once was Pueblo’s Sidney Arnold, who was a three-time walk division winner. When officials learned afterward that the supposed overall winner in the walk had run part of the course, they gave Arnold a special award. Sidney, by the way, lowered his 2-mile walk time from 25:29 in 2001 to 21:31 last year, which is hoofing it pretty good.

Look for entry forms to appear in The Chieftain several times leading up to the race. Or you can register online at www.active.com.

Tied into the Runoff again this year is the Southeastern Colorado Area Health Education Center (SECAHEC) Health and Fitness Symposium on March 3 and 4. The symposium has separate health, performance and active living environment tracks, and complete information about speakers and topics is at www.secahec.org.


Arizona is proving to be fertile territory recently for area runners. Pueblo’s Joe Stommel, 55, recorded a sterling 3:44:50 time in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Stan Hren, 63 of Pueblo West and Brent Johnson, 42, of Pueblo finished the Tucson Marathon in 4:15:15 and 4:40:10, respectively.

Marv Bradley, 65, of Cañon City completed his 100th career marathon on Jan. 1, when he completed the 26.2-miler in Kingwood, Texas in 3:55:40, which placed him first in his age bracket. Running mate Cheryl Cook-McCoy, 60, of Salida also won her age division by finishing in 5:43:51.

Area Running Scene

Plans are in the works for the Chili and Frijole Festival 5K to be resuscitated by the Southern Colorado Runners in September with a similar but new course that will start and finish in front of the Gold Dust Saloon. Look for some new twists and developments to make this race more of an “event.”

Don’t forget that, as mentioned last month, registration for the Triple Crown of Running in the Manitou Springs/Colorado Springs area will start on March 1, and online registration will be offered. The series consists of the Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run, the Summer Roundup 12KTrail Run and the Pikes Peak Ascent and/or Marathon.

Good Road Trip

Although there were thousands of runners in the Las Vegas Half-Marathon race field, Cathcart won his age division and was 12th overall with a sizzling 1:12:02 time. Lorraine Hoyle of Pueblo took third in the 55-59 category with a swift 1:47:03 time. In the 5K race the previous day on a course that was determined to be long, Misti Frey of Pueblo West was third in the 35-39 division (29:43) and Marijane Martinez third in the 50-54 bracket (29:58).


The Y-Bi Classic Duathlon, the area’s annual multisport kickoff, has been given a major facelift. The April 10 race has been moved to Pueblo West High School, and the distances have been increased to a 13.6-mile bike leg sandwiched between two 5K runs. Entry forms are already out and registration is also available at www.active.com.

Upcoming Area Races

  • Saturday – Valentine’s Twosome, 1.6M both partners, 9 a.m., Pueblo City Park (947-3682).
  • Feb. 20 – Spring Runoff Tuneup, 10K, 9 a.m., Pueblo City Park swim pool parking lot (564-0847).
  • March 6 – Spring Runoff, 10M, 10K, 5K, 2M fun run, 9 a.m., Dutch Clark Stadium (547-2777).
  • March 19 – Ben & Matt’s Trail Mix, 10+M, 9 a.m., Nature Center (543-5151).
  • April 2 – YMCA Healthy Kids Day, 5K walk/run, 8:30 a.m., 7th St. and Albany Ave. (543-5151).
  • April 9 – Ramsgate 8, 8K, 8 a.m., 8 Ramsgate (544-9633).
  • April 10 – Y-Bi Classic Duathlon, 5K run/13.6M bike/5K run, 9 a.m., Pueblo West High School (543-5151).

Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at gfranchi@ghvalley.net.

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