When Chuck Smead got to the Pavilion area before the start of the 2006 edition of the Valentines Twosome, I asked if his drive over La Veta Pass was snowy. He said it was cold, 19 below at the top according to his cars outdoor temperature sensor. The temperature in Pueblo was considerably warmer, maybe about 20 at race time. The sun was shining, but a noticeable breeze out of the west kept it from feeling tropical. Chuck, who grew up in California, is not one who delights in freezing conditions. Still the 54 year old ran the fastest split of the day (9:17), about 5:50 mile pace. His wife Carol runs for health and fitness and her first ever race put Chuck close enough that he ran down everyone he could see. Together they took second place overall and first in the 101 (combined ages) and over division.
Trent Brady led off for his team and was the first to exchange to his partner Rachael Walker. At that point the lead was so great that Pat Berndt said she thought the race was decided. The third person to make the exchange was Chavonne Bowers. Chavonne is one of the County High runners the club is supporting for the trip to the Simplot Games in Pocatello. She has made dramatic improvement in the last year due to steady work. She came through in 11:47. Her partner and boyfriend, Keith Dugan, caught the two runners ahead and pulled away steadily and crossed the finish line first, over a minute ahead of the Smeads.
Twenty other couples ran and seemed to enjoy themselves, one of which I want to mention. Sister and brother Ashley and Andrew Smith were the youngest couple with a combined age of 18. I think that means they can compete six more years together before having to move up an age category, but in six more years Ashley may have a boyfriend. Choose a runner, Ashley. Even though twenty=two couples was the second largest number in the seven years the club has results on the web site, it was still small enough to be friendly. The batons this year seemed particularly good except in one category. I dont think anyone is really trying to make or find an ugly baton. Maybe ugliness is in the eye of the beholder, but I liked the gourd that won the ugly award this year. My personal favorite was the rose Matt McIntyre made for his girlfriend and running partner Casey Atterberry. The stem is copper tubing with an OD of about 1/4″, the leaves are hammered sheet copper and the petals are also hammered but enameled a deep crimson as well.
There were four couples in the 101+ category this year, more than any other except the 30-39 and 50-59 groups which also had four. Im thinking of adding a 121+ category next year. I will continue to try to be sure that everyone who runs gets chocolate. Netties Colorado Candies gives us a good discount and I urge you to try their amazing range of candy. In spite of the relatively small runners who run this race, it continues to be a moneymaker for the club and the profits go directly to the youth fund. I havent seen any of the entry forms but my estimate is that somewhere between $125-$150 will be added to the fund this year. I hope to see you there, with hearts on, February 10, 2007.