Young runners test mettle in national races

by | Dec 15, 2006 | News Articles

Fit to be Tied Column
December 15, 2006
From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi GaryFranchi

Young runners test mettle in national races

If exposure to national competition is any barometer of future success, we may be seeing big things up the road from a pair of young local runners. Middle schoolers Abigail Duran of Pueblo and Jordan Montera of Pueblo West recently competed in national cross country races after qualifying in regional events. Both performed admirably and came home proud of their achievements. Duran, 13, who attends Heaton Middle School, finished 73rd in the nation out of 240 girls by recording a 16:10:61 time for the 4-kilometer (2.48 miles) race in the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships. The race was held Dec. 9 in Spokane, Wash., and she had qualified by finished 15th in her age division in a regional meet held in Tempe, AZ in November. Duran, who is a member of the SoCo Spartans team, also competed at nationals last year when it was held in Rhode Island. She has been running for just a year and a half. Montera, 14, who is an eight-grader at Skyview Middle School, traveled to Orlando, FL for the AAU Cross Country National Championships on Dec. 2. There, Jordan ran a 14:57 time over a 4-kilometer distance to finish 32nd out of 151 in the Boys Youth division. He had qualified for nationals by placing third in the Rocky Mountain regional held in Brighton. Jordan is a member of the Colorado Springs-based Landsharks Running Club, which sends him his workouts online. He recently ran the four-race Fall Series in the Colorado Springs area and took first in his age division. He also was part of the Team No Train contingent that captured first place in the coed team division. Other members were Troy Chantala and Brian Ropp of Pueblo and Jordan’s mother, Jill.


Besides Chantala and the Montera mother and son, several other area runners placed in the top three of their age division in the Fall Series that wrapped up last month. Former Puebloan Kyle Reno, 24, now attending college in Colorado Springs, won the 20-24 division and placed seventh overall. Pueblo’s Henry Hund took first in the 65-69 bracket, Cañon City’s Jennifer Moore headed the 20-24 division and Ropp topped the 40-44 category. Others who placed were Cañon City runners Steven Carter, Thom Ledoux and Brian Vaniwarden. As is tradition, many local runners will wake up New Year’s Day, shake off the cobwebs, drive up to Colorado Springs and start 2007 on the right and left feet by running the traditionally popular Rescue Run in Palmer Park. The 10 a.m. starting time is a concession to the previous night’s celebratory revelry. As in the past, both 5K and 10K races are offered, and runners don’t have to make their choice of distance until they reach the point where the race courses split almost a mile from the start.


Las Vegas continues to be a big lure for area runners looking to combine the sights and sounds of the Bright Light City with running what has become fascinating marathon and half-marathon courses that start and finish on the famous Strip at Mandelay Bay. This year’s extravaganza drew approximately 16,000 runners in the two races including 75 Elvis impersonators and 28 couples who were married or renewed their vows at the 5.5-mile mark. Only in Vegas. Four local runners survived 20-mile-per-hour, shifting winds and cool temperatures to finish the marathon. Pueblo’s Kristine Spinuzzi, 37, covered the course in 4:28:52 to complete her first-ever marathon. But leading the locals was Pueblo’s Gina Benfatti, 45, who annexed her third marathon in 4:11:33. Marv Bradley, 67, of Cañon City continued his marathon odyssey, finishing in 4:37:53, while running partner Cheryl Cook-McCoy, 62, of Salida crossed in 6:14:01. Running the half-marathon from Pueblo/Pueblo West were Joyce Carrigan (3:43:07), Lorraine Hoyle (1:51:10), Diane Lopez (1:55:27), Jessie Quintana (2:27:05) and John Roman (1:54:30). Joining them was ex-Puebloan Marijane Martinez, now living in Vegas, in1:58:03.


Distances for the Pueblo YMCA’s inaugural Splash ‘n Dash swim-run aquathon (swim and run) scheduled for July 14, 2007 still haven’t been finalized. The run will probably be a 5K, but the swim leg distance in the Rock Canyon swim beach is being studied. The event will replace the long-standing Ordinary Mortals Triathlon. Participant feedback is making Victoria Herrera of the YMCA think she may reconsider the decision to drop the Y-Bi and instead might have it in mid-May in the usual time spot previously occupied by the Ordinary Mortals. If you have feelings about the Y-Bi, contact her at 543-5151.

Race Calendar

• Saturday – Rudolf’s Reindeer Romp (Prediction Series race), 4.25M, 9 am, 10 Nona Brooks Dr. in Pueblo (719-56100741) phone number.
• Saturday – Jingle Bell Run/Walk, 5K, 10 a.m., Ripley Park in Raton, NM (505-445-2546).
• Jan. 1 – Rescue Run, 5K & 10K, 10 a.m., Palmer Park in Colorado Springs (719-473-7848).
• Jan. 13 – Winter Series I, 5K & 10K, 10 a.m., Fox Run Regional Park in Colorado Springs (719-598-2953).

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