We’re covering the running and fitness bases

by | Apr 1, 2000 | News Articles

April, 2000 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi

We’re covering the running and fitness bases

Some of you may recognize my name, since I wrote a little bit of sports for this newspaper many moons ago before moving on to other chapters of my life. Although my athletic ability is very limited, over the years I’ve become somewhat addicted to physical exercise, first as a distance runner and then as a multi-sport devotee. I’ve chronicled the local multi-sport scene the past 16 years as newsletter editor for the Southern Colorado Runners.

I’ve chronicled the local multi-sport scene, among other things, the past 16 years as newsletter editor for the Southern Colorado Runners. Now, I hope to bring some of that local running and fitness scene to you Chieftain readers. Once a month, anyway.

This won’t be a “results” nor a “calendar” column. Instead, I’ll focus on some of the more notable accomplishments by local athletes and upcoming events that I think will have some interest to those of you who share my quest for physically fitness.

I hope I can give you something you’ll look forward to reading. But, hey, if I don’t, you can always look elsewhere in this Sports section to read about litigation cases. Or athletes using drugs. Or pro stars hasslin’ their spouses.

Thanks to the upbringing I received from my parents, you won’t recognize my name in those stories.

Westerman to fulfill runner’s dream

The year 2000 will soon become a memorable one for Kim Westerman. At the age of 38, the Pueblo West resident will be realizing the typical runner’s ultimate dream April 17 by running in her first Boston Marathon. Kim qualified last November by running a 3:45:04 at the Santa Clarita (Calif.) Marathon.

Actually, he was four seconds over the qualifying cutoff time for her age and gender, but race officials accepted her entry time as a qualifier anyway.

Boston will be Kim’s 24th marathon since she started running the 26.2-mile distance six years ago. To qualify, she ran a 48:35 split in the last 10K (6.2 miles) at Santa Clarita. How do I know that? Well, a little chip told me so.

Runners at Santa Clarita ran with computer chips attached to their shoes, making it possible to record their exact times at several “chip mark points” along the course.

A cool thing about the computer chip concept is that a runner’s time doesn’t start until he/she crosses the starting line. Boston uses computer chips, too. It’s a good thing, because some runners are so far back in the 20,000-runner race field that it takes them 10 or 15 minutes to get to the starting line after the gun goes off.

At Boston, Kim just wants to run, ha ve a good time taking in the unbelievable crowd support, and finish. She isn’t concerned about her time, saying, “I’m not going to try to beat any records out there.”

Kim has a unique training regimen. She runs 10 miles on all of her training runs, and she tackles Pikes Peak once a week. For body strength, she both lifts weights and swims religiously at the Pueblo YMCA.

While Kim will be the only Puebloan running Boston, three other runners from nearby locales also are entered. The other Pueblo County runner is Shaun Gogarty, 40, of Colorado City. The other two are from Fremont County _ Marv Bradley, 61, of Canon City, and Hector Leyba, 49, of Penrose.

While Marv and Hector have run Boston before, this will be Shaun’s first trip. He qualified the hard way — on a trail course. But his 3:20:29 effort at the Northern Central Trail Marathon in Sparks, MD, last fall bettered his age and gender qualifying cutoff time by 30 seconds.

Three Puebloans headed to Australia

In what may rank as one of the more phenomenal fitness feats in the city’s history, Pueblo will have three multi-sport athletes competing in the International Triathlon Union World Championships April 29 in Perth, Australia. Michael Orendorff, 48, along with Ryan Dorsey-Spitz and Blake Ottersberg, both 17, qualified for “Worlds” at the USA Triathlon Championships held last fall in St. Joseph, MO.

With triathlon to be an Olympic event for the first time this September when it’s held in Sydney, Australia and with “Worlds” being a qualifying points races for the upcoming Olympics, the field at Perth will include elite athletes from all over the world.

“Most of the Olympians will be there,” noted Martin Ottersberg, who will be leaving with his son and Ryan, both South High School students and next-door neighbors, a week early to acclimate to Australia.

The triathlon will consist of Olympic distances _ a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40K bike and 10-kilometer run. To those still stuck on mile measurements, those distances translate to a .93-mile swim, a 24.8-mile bike and a 6.2-mile run. Blake will be competing in the Elite Junior division, while Ryan and Michael will participate in their respective age divisions. All three have been training feverishly to get ready.

For instance, Blake spent his recent spring break in Florida competing in two triathlons and a bike race while staying with his triathlon coach.

Since undergoing hiatal hernia surgery in February 1999, Ryan has made dramatic physical strides in the past year thanks to his fiery, competitive drive.

Meanwhile, Michael adopted a new training schedule this winter (two hard weeks of training followed by an extremely easy recovery week) to get in probably the best shape of his life. This was evidenced by recent efforts on his favorite 25-mile time trial bike course and in a 1,650-yard swim during a masters meet in Denver.

Michael has savvy on his side considering that he competed in the Hawaii Ironman a few years ago.

It takes a special kind of talent and commitment to compete at their level, so wish these guys well if you see them.

Multi-sport season on tap in Pueblo

With the Drag’n On In Triathlon having been slain dead a few year ago, the only remaining multi-sport events left in Pueblo are right around the corner. Actually, they are in Pueblo West. The Y-Bi Classic Duathlon is scheduled for April 30, and the Ordinary Mortals Triathlon will take place on May 21.

The Y-Bi consists of an 11.2-mile bike leg and a 5.5-mile run, and it usually attracts about 125 athletes. The Ordinary Mortals is comprised of a 525-meter swim, 12-mile bike and 5K (3.1miles) run.

If you intend to compete in the Ordinary Mortals, register now because the race field is limited to about 216 participants and will be filled before you can blink. Entry forms for both the Y-Bi and Ordinary Mortals are available at the Pueblo YMCA.

The bulk of the fields in both events consist of out-of-town competitors, so these races help contribute to the local economy’s coffers. The YMCA and the Southern Colorado Runners conduct both races.

If you’d like to be part of the Ordinary Mortals as a volunteer, give Ben Valdez a call at the YMCA at 543-5151.

Here’s where to get a fast 10K time

The first big race since the Pueblo Chieftain-sponsored Spring Runoff will be the Cinco de Mayo 10K on Sunday, May 7. If you want a fast time in order to get a high seeding wave at the Memorial Day Bolder Boulder, this is the race to do it. The Cinco will take place at the Colorado State Fairgrounds beginning at 8 a.m.

Until next month, train hard but play harder.

(When not training or writing about fitness, Gary Franchi is the Communications Specialist at Pueblo Community College. Send your thoughts and comments to him via e-mail at csports@chieftain.com