A cold, snowy and foggy mountain morning greeted Colorado Front Range runners on Jan. 9, 2016 for the annual Pikes Peak Road Runners Winter Series of races. A new blanket of fresh powder covered Cheyenne Mountain State Park just south of Colorado Springs, making for a very tough run for the intrepid winter racers.
The first event of this year’s series included three and seven mile runs with the long run heading out on the trails first followed 20 minutes later by runners in the short race. Fog obscured the view of Cheyenne Mountain but runners were treated to beautiful views of a winter wonderland inside the park with fresh snow decorating the scrub oak and ponderosa pine trees along the trails.
In addition to the six inches of fresh powder on the trails, a layer of solid ice made for some treacherous running in places. Shoe prints and bare ice along the trail were evidence of the slippery footing along the trail that landed more than one runner in the snow a bit more close up and personal than they wanted to be. However when asked if anyone required rescuing, El Paso County Search and Rescue personnel were happy to report that there were no known injuries and that they had enjoyed a very easy day in the beautiful park.
Alex Libin age 25 of Colorado Springs crossed the finish line first on the long course with a winning time of 51:02, while 26 year old Kristina Mascarenas of Colorado Springs took first place for the women with a time of 59:14. 31 year old Joseph Gray of Colorado Springs took the first place spot in the short run with a time of 19:40 and 30 year old Alexis Wilbert of Colorado Springs running for the Ute Valley Mountain Thugs running team captured first place, setting a new age group course record for the women crossing the finish line in 23:43. Right behind her was 37 year old Crystal Goecker of Colorado Springs running for the RunnerSnow Best running team, also setting a new age group record with a speedy time of 24:45. 20 year old Katie Gorczyca finished fifth place overall for the women setting a new age group record for this race with a time of 26:02.
Four and eight mile runs highlight Winter Series II, the second event of four in the cold weather running schedule. Those races will be held in two weeks on Jan. 23, 2016 at the Norris Penrose Event Center in the rugged hills of Bear Creek Regional Park. The third event of the series has been moved back to Baptist Road due to problems at El Pomar, so check the PPRR website for the latest information regarding that race. The finale of the series will be held on Feb. 27, 2016, honoring the event’s roots 37 years ago at Wolford Elementary School in Black Forest. The awards ceremony will be held on Mar. 5, 2016 at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs. Again, continue to check the official PPRR website for the latest course and event information.