Veteran director starts race in Fountain

by | Mar 14, 2007 | News Articles

Veteran director starts race in Fountain

My how the racing calendar heats up once spring time arrives! From here on out until fall, runners can race almost every weekend somewhere in Southern Colorado.

While a few runners from the Pueblo area are certain to run the popular annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K this Saturday in its new location in downtown Colorado Springs, even more will probably participate in the Widefield 5K walk and 5-mile run the following weekend (March 24) in Fountain. This will take place on the Fountain Nature Trail and produced by former Pueblo YMCA administrator Ben Valdez, long-time director of several quality running and multi-sport races in the Pueblo area. Go to the Southern Colorado Runners website for details, race flyer, directions, etc. The St. Patrick’s Day race, by the way, is again part of the Grand Prix of Running series.

April will bring two traditional SCR Prediction Series favorites to the calendar with the Ramsgate 8K on April 7 in Belmont and Ben & Matt’s Trail Mix (10+ miles) on April 29, starting and finishing at the Nature Center and run on the dirt trails on the bluff above the Nature Center and out toward Liberty Point. These are no-frills, predicted-time races that are as popular for their camaraderie as for the running adventure. Details, including event and course descriptions, are also available on the SCR website. Note that the Trail Mix was rescheduled from March 25.

On April 21, the 2-race Toyota Benefit Running Series will begin with the James “Spank” Blasing 5K at CSU-Pueblo. The Walk for Athletics is part of this event. The second half of the series is the Paula Arriaga 10K on May 6. Runners can choose to run just one or the other, but they get a nice discount by running both races and would be in the chase for Runners Roost gift certificates. There are many amenities for series participants including a micro-fiber T-shirt, water bottle, post-race breakfast, massages and even health tests. It’s a steal.


Horrible weather plagued the Winter Series in the Colorado Springs area this year as two of the four races were cancelled, including the final one in Black Forest where a blizzard struck on race day. This area had some overall individual winners for the two races. In the short series, there were Michael Cernoia, 14, and Jill Montera, 40, both of Pueblo West. Rich Hadley, 51, of Florence won his age division in the long series. Dale Papineau and Matt Sherman, both of Pueblo West, topped the short and long series, respectively, in the Clydesdale division.

New or renewed races

A new race has been added to the schedule on April 14 – the John Neumann Panther Run, a 5K run and a kids fun run based in City Park. A T-shirt design contest among the John Neumann School students gives promise of a quality, want-to-wear shirt.

It appears that the old Dam Run, put on by state hospital employees for several years in running’s first heyday, will be resurrected this fall, with an Oct. 6 or Oct. 7 date being considered. The previous Dam Run included 7.5- and 4-mile races from either the dam or the Nature Center to the Colorado Mental Hospital in Pueblo grounds. I hope to have some specifics in this space next month.


The Southern Colorado Trail Builders will conduct an off-road race on April 22 at the South Shore canyons south of Lake Pueblo, starting near the dam. There will be separate 15-mile courses for beginners and expert cyclists. Race time will be 9 a.m.
Cyclists looking to test their riding endurance without biting off a week-long tour such as the Ride the Rockies might consider the 22nd annual MS150 that will take place July 7-8. This year’s loop goes from Broomfield to Fort Collins to Broomfield, taking a different route for part of the return. There also is an optional extra 25-mile loop both days. You would also be riding for a good cause – to benefit multiple sclerosis research.

Closer to home and just a couple of months away, the Buena Vista Bike Fest is scheduled for May 19. This includes a century (100 miles), metric century (62 miles), and 50- and 40-mile distances. The event is produced by the Colorado Springs Cycling Club, and information and registration is available online.

To those who don’t mind traveling a bit, the 36th annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in Durango is now registering for its extravaganza coming up May 26-27. The Iron Horse consists of a 47-mile road race against a steam-powered train, a 52-mile road tour, a downtown criterium and kids races. Go to its web site for more information and to register.

Race Calendar

• March 24 – Widefield Fitness Challenge, 5K walk & 5M run, 8:30 a.m., Fountain Creek Nature Center (391-3515).
• April 7 – Ramsgate 8, 8K, 8 a.m., 8 Ramsgate in Belmont (544-9633).
• April 21 – Spank Blasing 5K run and walk, CSU-Pueblo campus (549-2013).
• April 14 – Panther Run, 5K run and kids fun run, 10 a.m, City Park (568-2941).
• April 29 – Ben & Matt’s Trail Mix (Prediction Series race), 10+M, 9 a.m., Pueblo Nature Center (547-8182).
• April 29 – That Dam Run, 10K, 8 a.m., John Martin Reservoir in Hasty (719-456-0452).
• May 5 – Blossom Day Run, 5K run/walk & 5M run, downtown Canon City, (719-269-8790).
• May 6 – Paula Arriaga Memorial Run (former Cinco de Mayo), 5K & 10K run and 1.5M fun walk, 7:30 a.m. (564-7659).
• May 13 – Yappy Dog Run (Prediction Series race), 8.6M, 8 a.m., South Mesa Elementary School, 23701 Preston Road, (543-6982).


• Spring Runoff: runoff
• Southern Colorado Runners:
• Grand Prix of Running:
• Pikes Peak Road Runners:
• Iron Horse:
• CS Cycing: or

Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at