After days of morning fog, the Valentine’s Twosome race was blessed with warm sunshine and happy people. In spite of the potential confusion caused by a late date change, 32 couples showed up to celebrate, many in clever costumes. Some came to race, most to enjoy the day, each other, and the unusual relay format.
Tina Gray neared the exchange zone second a close second to a male runner. When she passed the baton to her fiance´ Kyle Reno, victory was all but assured. Neither member of the couple is as racing fast as when they competed for UCCS, but Kyle brought the baton across the line in 20:34. That is the third fastest time in the web recorded records going back through 2000, and 40 seconds faster than the second team, Lacey and Thom LeDoux.
I was having too much fun to report adequately on the race, but I did have an interesting conversation with Jan Huie before the race started. She and Lou spent much of January in Guanajuato, Mexico in an intense Spanish language course. She said that board and room, including delicious home cooked meals, was $39 per person per day. Jan and Lou won the 100-119 division with a time of 25:42.
I also found out that while Matt Drake had signed up with a 16 year-old girl, he ended up running with his mother. He may have had a faster partner. They finished 7th overall in 23:04 and second in the 60-79 division.
It was certainly family day. Five Khoslas ran. Zane Khosla teamed with Rachel Kleiner, each 11, to form the youngest team. Nine year-old Kaylene teamed with her father Rocky to win the Most Romantic Baton, for a heavy solid glass slipper. Twins Jace and Jherica were the fastest Khosla pair and took second in the 30 & under category with a 26:24. Hilbert Navarro, his daughter Rosa, and his grandchildren Alyssa and Jared Bruce had the only three generation family running that I know of. Leona and Ben Chavez of Colorado Springs decided to pair up with their children, Michelle and Michael. Leona and Matthew were slightly faster, 25:03, and took third in the 60-79 age division. Michelle and Ben ran 25:15.
Older runners continue to do well. Connie Arnsbrak and Ross Westley came down from the Denver area and won the 120 & up age division in 24:42. Their combined age of 137 is a record as far as I can tell. There were three couples over 100. The Huies were the babies of that group at 117.
Anna Marshall and Jamen Cox won the 30 and under division and fifth overall with 22:00. Even though they were 29, there were three teams younger. Pueblo West freshman swam in the SCL championships the previous two days.
I didn’t write down the names of the baton winners but the ugliest baton went to Doug Hansen and Shayne Taylor, Canon City male neighbors who chose to run knowing that they couldn’t win a division prize. Their chewed dog bone was a no doubter. Betty Armfield and her boyfriend 7’1” tall Scott Witkowski won the Most Creative baton award with a framed picture of themselves captioned “The Odd Couple.” Betty is probably of above average height, but Scott is a giant compared to, well, almost everybody.
Jill and Jordan Montera won the award for the Biggest Baton in an audience vote. Their rainbow-colored boa was certainly the longest when stretched out. It must not have slowed them much as they finished fourth overall in 21:51. Jill’s costume of black tights, white long-sleeved top and red glitter skirt and wig was definitely eye-catching. If we’d had a costume contest, mention should also be made of Scott Witkowski’s shiny black Afro wig and his flared pants with gussets of gold glitter. My pick, however, would have been Terri Tibbs’ nun costume, if you can believe in a slender nun in black tights.
One other amazing fact. 11 of the 32 couples were from out of town, not counting Pueblo West.
I want to mention here how much we take Shelly and Ruth for granted. I tend to do minimal preparation, and as I was marking the course, I realized that I hadn’t talked to either of them about the race. Since I’d already jumped off that cliff, I tried to talk myself out of panicking, but it was great to see Ruth get out of her van just as I finished the course. And she stayed to help with traffic control. Thanks Ruth..
Paulette Arns came early enough that she could watch the registration table while I did the course, then pulled tags, and even cleaned up after the race. Brian Ropp who was awaiting results of an MRI on a possible ACL tear, kindly ran the printing timer. Thanks to them as well.
An hour and a half after the race started, all the races were run, awards given, and some of the stories were told. I was a little sad to lock the door to the Pavilion, but as the old Brooklyn Dodgers said, “Wait till next year.”