Trail running races continue to grow

by | Dec 1, 2006 | News Articles

Fit to be Tied Column
January, 2006
From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi GaryFranchi

Trail running races continue to grow

There should be no wonder why the number of off-road races and marathons is proliferating in Colorado. The events are just following the growing popularity of trail running among runners looking to get off the roads and seeking the thrill of new adventures.

Few would question that Colorado, with its ample wide-open spaces and beauty, is the perfect breeding ground for races in the hinterlands, and each year more runners are discovering the joys of the state’s tranquil trails.

A typical new devotee is Kaija Staley, a 30-year-old Pennsylvania native who transplanted with her husband, Marc, to Pueblo West from Florida three years ago.

A first-grade teacher at Irving Elementary in Pueblo, Staley had run some track in high school and two years of cross country at Stetson University in Florida. She took up long-distance running and got into marathons after starting her teaching career in Florida.

But it wasn’t until the Staleys moved to Colorado that Kaija (pronounced KY-ya) took up trail running, mainly to follow the lead of her hubby, who has run a couple of Leadville 100-milers. Now, she runs trails exclusively off road and considers trail races fun and full of adventure and interesting people.

“I just like to be outside and I like to try new things,” she explained. Try them she has and with excellent results, as her performances since July would attest:

• First female finisher and fifth overall in the Leadville 50k with a time of 5:13:08.
• First female finisher and fifth overall in the Breckenridge Crest Mountain run with a time of 4:08:58.
• Second female finisher (behind Tammy Stone of Florence) at the Danielesque Marathon with a time of 5:32:42 despite running off course and adding four extra miles.

Typical weekends for the Staleys include long training runs like last Saturday’s two-hour jaunt south of the reservoir as they prepare for the Collegiate Peaks 50-mile race on May 6. With such race distances, 50- and 60-mile training weeks are common. And, yes, they are on trails. As are all of the races they compete in.


Jane Chess of Florence was the only local runner to place in the top three of her age division of the Fall Series, taking second in the 50-54 bracket.


Seven local runners experienced the thrill of running down the famous Las Vegas Strip and finishing in front of the Mandelay Bay hotel in the inaugural Las Vegas Marathon last month. Leading the contingent were Chief Reno, 43, of Pueblo in 3:31 and Vicki Meier, 36, of Cañon City in 3:35. Others were Amy (30) and Larry Trujillo (34) of Cañon City in 4:03 and 4:53, respectively; Patrician Cisneros (42) and Laurie McGowen (39), both of Pueblo West and both in 5:50; and Jessie Quintana, 62, of Pueblo in 6:52. Earlier, Marv Bradley, 66, of Cañon City led three local finishers in the Durango Marathon with a time of 3:56. Also completing the distance were Pueblo siblings Debra Wall, 39, in 4:09 and Steve Wall, 41, in 4:22. Bradley and Cheryl Cook-McCoy, 61, of Salida completed the Richmond (Virginia) Marathon in 4:19 and 5:34, respectively. Bradley followed that with a 4:15 in Memphis on Dec. 3.

2006 Marathons: Colorado will have 15 marathons in 2006 beginning March 18 with the inaugural Turret Marathon in Salida. This won’t be for the faint of feet, but it could be perfect for adventure-seekers. Another first-time marathon will be the Colorado Colfax Marathon on May 21. In contrast to the Turret, this will be a mostly flat, point-to-point run from Aurora to Lakewood and through downtown Denver.

Multi-Sport News

The Ordinary Mortals Triathlon in Pueblo West has been pushed back a weekend this year to May 20-21 because of Mother’s Day, which is a week later than usual on May 14. That was a good, smart decision by the Pueblo YMCA folks who organize the event.

Upcoming Pueblo-Area Races

• Feb. 4 – Frostbite Five, 5M, 9 a.m., Pueblo City Park, (543-5151).
• Feb. 11 – Valentine’s Twosome, 1.6M each partner, 9 a.m., Pueblo City Park (947-3682).
• Feb. 19 – Spring Runoff Tune-Up (Prediction Series race), 6M, Pueblo City Park (564-0847).
• March 5 – Spring Runoff, 2M walk, 5K, 10K, 10M, 1M kids fun run and Toddlers Race 9 a.m., Dutch Clark Stadium (547-2777).
SCR Calendar Link

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