Weather does a number on early racing
A road race seldom isn’t held because of poor weather conditions, but then winters like we’ve had this year don’t come around very often either.
For starters, the first of the four-race Winter Series at Fox Run Regional Park in Colorado Springs was cancelled in mid-January because deep snow made the courses inaccessible. The single-digit temperatures that morning didn’t even play a part in the series being trimmed to three races as the decision to cancel had been made the previous day.
Then on Feb. 3, the start of the racing season in Pueblo was delayed when the Frostbite Five was postponed by an icy river trail that would have made running the course, let along racing it, a treacherous adventure. The race has been reset for March 10, by which time it is hoped that mild weather will have melted the snow and ice on the trail.
This doesn’t even take into account that hundreds of runners had to proceed with caution on snowpacked and icy Rescue Run 5K and 10K courses in Colorado Springs’ Palmer Park on Jan. 1. At least those courses were negotiable, even if the runners’ times were slower.
So we head into the relatively low-key Valentine’s Twosome this Sunday (Feb. 11) with the 29th annual Spring Runoff on the horizon on March 4. With a variety of racing distances, enjoyable courses and the chance to finish on the track in Dutch Clark Stadium, the Runoff has been a rousing hit since moving from the north side of Pueblo several years ago.
More than 600 runners and walkers have finished the past three Runoffs, and a good-sized field is anticipated again.
That’s assuming that Mother Nature will show us her softer side over the next month and on race day, when dozens of participants register despite the higher entry fee.
To get a sneak preview of the Runoff 10K, a Prediction Series race will be held on Feb. 18. While it will cover the same course, it will start and finish near the City Park swimming pool parking lot and will be the same distance. This is a low-key Prediction Series race that has no entry fee, shirts or frills; just the chance to predict your finish time, run the course and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow runners.
Anxious to begin the process of carving themselves into racing shape despite the poor weather conditions, a huge number of area runners participated in the second race of the Winter Series at El Pomar Youth Sports Park on Jan. 27. Sitting atop their age divisions with two races to go in the series are Michael Cernoia, 14, of Pueblo West; Jill Montera, 40, of Pueblo West; Rich Hadley, 51, of Florence; and Michael Orendorff, 55, of Pueblo. Hadley opted for the long series race (8 miles) while the others ran the short distance (4 miles). The next race is this Saturday (Feb. 10) on the Santa Fe Trail off Baptist Road, with the distances 5 miles for the short series and 10 miles for the long series.
The Grand Prix of Running series in Colorado Springs will start March 17 with the St. Patrick’s Day 5K, but the site has been moved from its traditional Old Colorado City to downtown Colorado Springs. Other series races are the Take 5 in the Garden on May 5, the Sailin’ Shoes 5K & 10K on June 16 and the Classic 10K on July 28.
Trail Runners can be in their element at the annual Ben & Matt’s Trail Mix that has been moved to a new date – Sunday, March 25. The race starts at the Nature Center and is run on the trails above the river trail and toward Liberty Point, covering 10+ miles. This also is a Prediction Series run.
Todd Kelly, athletic development director at CSU-Pueblo, has settled on a two-race Benefit Running Series this year and it will include the James “Spank” Blasing 5K on April 21 and the Cinco de Mayo 10K Run and Wellness Walk on May 6. Participants will receive a cool micro-fiber T-shirt, and there will be overall prizes based on lowest total times for the two races.
Registration for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon begins March 1, and the fields for both August races should fill that day.
Congratulations to Puebloans Sydney Mondragon, 23, and Ryan Regrutto, 26, for finishing the P.F. Chang Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon in 3:52:35 and 3:23:19, respectively. Erin Regrutto, 26, settled on the half-marathon there and completed it in 2:25.
Persons interested in joining the Southern Colorado Runners can access its website for an application form. The group meetings are at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at the Pueblo YMCA and are open to anyone interested.
Registration began Feb. 4 and runs through Feb. 23 for those wanting to be included in the lottery to select the 2,000 cyclists for this year’s Ride the Rockies. The seven-day tour will be a Frisco-to-Frisco loop that will cover 422 miles, cross four mountain passes and include stops in Steamboat Springs, Craig, Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Aspen and Leadville. The $315 entry fee includes camping sites, complete course support including refreshments, entertainment and many other amenities.
• Feb. 11 – Valentine’s Twosome, 1.6M both partners, 9 a.m., Pueblo’s City Park (947-3682).
• Feb. 18 – Spring Runoff Tuneup (Prediction Series race), 10K, 9 a.m. Pueblo’s City Park (564-0847).
• March 4 – Spring Runoff, 9 a.m. for 2M walk and 5K, 10K and 10M runs, 8:45 a.m. for toddlers race and 1M Funner to be a Runner race at approximately 10:30 a.m., Dutch Clair Stadium (547-2777).
• March 10 – Frostbite Five, 5K walk and 5M run, 10 a.m., Pueblo’s City Park
Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at email@example.com.