talanta Race Celebrates 25 Years

by | Nov 1, 2004 | News Articles

November, 2004 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi


Atalanta Race Celebrates 25 Years

While women runners are accepted as commonplace today, it sure wasn’t that way two and a half decades ago.

So when thoughts drift to the significance of this Saturday’s 25th annual Atalanta Women’s 5K at City Park, the real noteworthy aspect is the race’s roots. That’s when Judy Tucker and a band of other local women founded the race at the start of the women’s running movement.

Tucker was the instigator of organized women’s running in Pueblo soon after she had completed her first marathon in 1979 at the age of 46. She recalls placing a notice in The Pueblo Chieftain seeking women interested in doing fun runs together.

About 40 showed up the first time and approximately 70 for the second training run. They formed their own running club and in 1980 joined forces with the Southern Colorado Striders to start the Southern Colorado Runners (SCR).

That also was the year the women started the inaugural Atalanta Women’s 5K, with Tucker the race director. She noted that Jeff Arnold, the first president of the SCR and still one of its most active members, provided much of the expertise that made the race possible, and that men from the new club actually conducted the race.

Tucker still has fond memories of the inaugural Atalanta race, recalling that a field of around 40 participated on a cool day following a light snow that didn’t stick on the course pavement. The overall winner was Joyce Rankin, who had recently moved to Colorado Springs from California. Today, Tucker still keeps in touch with Rankin, who now lives in Carbondale.

The tradition of male volunteers has carried on ever since and will be in effect when the starting gun goes off at 9 a.m. Saturday for runners and walkers of all ability levels. Tucker, who now lives in Las Vegas, NV most of the year, was invited to attend this year’s milestone race but will be unable to attend because she is having knee meniscus surgery this week.

“I send my deep gratitude to the Southern Colorado Runners and the people who have kept this race alive,” Tucker said via e-mail recently. “I am proud to have been part of this tradition.”

Now as then, Kathie Arwood will be creating home-made awards for the top finishers. The golden apples she produced the first year helped tell the story of Atalanta, who was a Greek mythology goddess and an outstanding runner.

There will be some nice twists to the race. Co-Race Director Stacey Diaz will have the majority of shirts and sweatshirts from the previous 24 years on display. This year’s long-sleeved shirts are stylishly “cut” for women, and they boast an attractive design.

Too, a new course has been laid out that eliminates the regular two loops through City Park. This time, it will include a scenic neighborhood route that drops down Reservoir Rd. and picks up a side road there.

Race-day registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the City Park Pavilion. Whatever your age or ability level, if you are a woman, you have the opportunity to be part of this great 25-year tradition on Saturday.


Laura Schilf of Cañon City had a successful start and finish to her October, running the Easy Street Marathon in Fort Collins (4:51:43) on Oct. 3 and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. (4:56:48) on Oct. 31.

Toy Trot

The Trinidad YMCA and the Trinidad Fire Department are sponsoring a toy drive run that will take place along the riverwalk there on Dec. 4. The entry fee for what is called the Trinidad Toy Trot, a 5K run/walk, is $10 and a new, unwrapped toy. The race will benefit youth sports, and it is being conducted through the Fisher’s Peak YMCA.

Fall Series

Four area runners placed in the top three of their age division in the four-race Fall Series that concluded Sunday in the Colorado Springs area. Rich Hadley, 48, of Florence and Henry Hund, 63, of Pueblo took first in their age brackets. Brian Ropp, 41, of Pueblo West was second in the 40-44 division and Wendy Garrison, 37, of Pueblo was third in the 35-39.

Rim Rock Run

Roger Cain and Joe Stommel of Pueblo took third place in their respective age division of the Rim Rock Run held Saturday in Grand Junction. Cain, 42, navigated the scenic but tough 37K (22.94 miles) course in 3:04:40, while Stommel, 55, finished in 3:32:50.

Upcoming Area Races

  • Saturday – Atalanta Women’s Run, 5K run/walk, 9 a.m., Pueblo City Park (564-9303).
  • Nov. 27 – Temple Canyon Run (Prediction Series race), 4M, 9 a.m., Cañon City (784-6514).
  • Dec. 4 – Rock Canyon Half-Marathon, 13.1M, 9 a.m., City Park (564-9303).
  • Dec. 4 – Trinidad Toy Trot, 5K run/walk, 9 a.m., Trinidad (719-845-8796).
  • Dec. 12 – The Excellent Adventure (Prediction Series race), 8M, 117 Regency (564-6043).

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

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