Wildfires make life difficult for runners, cyclists, triathletes

by | Jul 1, 2002 | News Articles

July, 2002 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi


Wildfires make life difficult for runners, cyclists, triathletes

No one, it seems, can escape the affects from the rash of wildfires that have plagued Colorado this summer, and that includes fitness devotees.

While yours truly has had to move a morning run to Pueblo because of smoky air around his residence in Colorado City, others either have had or are still experiencing more difficult circumstances. Let me run down a few of those:

Runners lucky enough to have been accepted into either the Pikes Peak Ascent or Pikes Peak Marathon in mid-August find they aren’t so lucky when it comes to training for those races. Because of extreme fire danger conditions, Pike National Forest has been closed since June 10, meaning the favorite training route has been taken away from these runners. They’ll have to be more resourceful to get their bodies adapted to climb to the altitude of Pikes Peak.

Your may have read in The Chieftain last week about the Tri the San Luis Valley Triathlon, originally scheduled for June 30 at San Luis Valley Lakes State Park, being moved to Aug. 24. The reasons were diminished air quality caused by wildfires along with additional demands placed on emergency personnel.

Triathletes don’t need poor air quality. Hence, this was a wise decision. Plus, the date change may prove to be a blessing since this inaugural triathlon was going up against a triathlon in Loveland that is part of a five-race Colorado series. With the new date for the fast, flat bike and run legs, the 200-participant field should have no trouble filling its limited field of 200. Distances are a 1K swim, 20K bike and 5K run. You can register at www.active.com. E-mail Kim Eggert at golddust@amigo.net for more information.

Because of the smoky air that hampered breathing (and reduced visibility), some cyclists wore masks during portions of a couple of legs of the week-long Ride the Rockies that was held June 16-22, and parts of two of the legs were changed. The course went from Alamosa to Pagosa Springs to Durango to Silverton to Montrose to Gunnison and to Salida before finishing the loop back in Alamosa. The Pueblo/Pueblo West contingent of six riders had to battle brutally strong headwinds the last 20 miles of the final leg into Alamosa.

The Beulah Valley Arts Show part of the Beulah Challenge has gone by the wayside, but it shouldn’t hurt entry numbers at all for this August 3 event that includes a 5K walk and a 10K run. Competitors come from all over the region to experience the beautiful setting of this challenging course.

Running Notes

One of the half-dozen or so times it actually rained in Pueblo West this year happened this past April on a day that the Run for the Summit 5K had been scheduled, contributing to a less-than-robust turnout for the race. So organizers have rescheduled it for this Thursday as a kickoff to the Fourth of July holiday activities there. A 7 a.m. starting time from its new location at Lovell Park ensures that the race will be completed before the city’s parade begins. Entry forms are at Big 5 Sporting Goods, Pueblo YMCA and the Gold Dust Saloon. Race-day registration will begin at 6:30 a.m.

Ladies, if you’re planning to run or walk in the Women’s Distance Festival this Saturday, note that the starting time has been moved up a half-hour from previous years to beat the heat. Hence, the walk will start at 7:15 a.m. and the run at 7:30. The event is based at the City Park Pavilion.

The annual Pioneer 5K (run/walk) in Colorado City is set for 7 a.m. July 13 on the Hollydot Golf Course’s “west 9.” It’s not often you get the chance to run a cross country course! For more activities, stick around for the pancake breakfast aferward and Greenhorn Valley Days in Greenhorn Meadows Park.

The chances of qualifying for next year’s Boston Marathon got better when officials raised the qualifying times for runners 45 years of age and older as they plan to increase the field to 20,000 runners compared to the 15,000 that qualified for the 2002 run. (See www.baa.org for specifics). In addition, three new age divisions have been created – 70-74, 75-79 and 80-over.

Upcoming Pueblo-area Races

* July 4 – Run for the Summit, 5K run, 7 a.m., Lovell Park in Pueblo West, 547-4125.
* July 6 – Women’s Distance Festival, 5K run/walk, walk at 7:15 a.m., run at 7:30 a.m., City Park, 564-6043.
* July 13 – Pioneer Run, 5K run/walk, 7 a.m., Hollydot Golf Course in Colorado City, (719) 676-3353.
* July 27 – Moonlight Madness Prediction Series Run, 5M, 3685 Verde Rd. off Exit 87 south of Pueblo, 561-3343.
* Aug. 3 – Beulah Challenge, 10K run and 5K walk, 8 a.m., Beulah School, (719) 485-3820.
* Aug. 18 – Tunnel Drive Prediction Run, 5M, 7:30 a.m. Cañon City (784-6514).

Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at gfranchi@fone.net.

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