Simon Gutierrez has enjoyed amazing longevity in competitive trail and mountain running. He started winning races in high places when George Bush Sr. was President.
As a mountain runner, he has represented the USA at the world championship level many times, and he has expressed tremendous versatility as a multiple-time qualifier for the World Cross Country Championships.
And he's now a resident of Colorado Springs. He moved here from Alamosa last summer and immediately found a home in the local running community. It's common to see him on the downtown trails one day, then crushing it on Barr Trail the next
"Colorado Springs was a natural choice," Gutierrez said. "I had wanted to move here for about the last three to five years, but it didn't happen that way. I had a lot of friends here and I had spent a lot of time here before moving here."
The Pikes Peak Region is a runner's paradise, but Gutierrez came for more than just the running. He's a physical therapist by profession. And Colorado Springs is also home to a large medical community.
"The training here is phenomenal, the winters are milder (than Alamosa), but I also wanted to be around a different group of physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons."
The move has also infused his running with new energy. A three-time winner of the Pikes Peak Ascent, it seems fitting that Gutierrez now makes his home at the base of the famous mountain. And sure enough, he is training for another race to Pikes Peak's finish line at 14,115- feet.
"The Ascent gets more competitive every year, which I love," Gutierrez explained.
Does he have a fourth win in him?
"I think I have as good a shot as anybody. It's going to be a great help being able to train up there (on Pikes Peak) more often."
But Pikes Peak isn't his only goal this year. Gutierrez wants to represent the U.S. for the ninth time at the World Mountain Running Championships. The qualifier this year will be at New Hampshire's Mt. Washington road race on June 16th.
"That race will go kind of go hand-in-hand with the Ascent," he explained.
Having found a new niche in the Springs, Gutierrez says, "Colorado Springs has worked out far beyond my expectations."
Whether he is competing in a USA singlet or leading the way up the Peak this summer, Gutierrez will surely give the Colorado Springs running community even more to be proud of.
Nice having such high class runners living in this community. Welcome to the Pikes Peak region Simon. Glad you made it.