PikesPeakSports.us and the Triple Crown of Running are proud to introduce the 2018 PikesPeakSports.us Triple Crown Runners racing team ... aka "The Mighty Marmots!" The team includes runners of various abilities who have dedicated themselves to completing the Triple Crown series: the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run, the Summer Roundup Half Marathon, and either the Pikes Peak Ascent or Marathon. Click for more info about the Triple Crown. Along the way, they'll share their experiences on PikesPeakSports.us. Look for their updates every couple of weeks.
John Skolout, 30, Freelance environmental policy consultant
How long have you been a runner and how did you get started? It’s been a long, gradual process over the last five years. Running used to be a miserable chore - I always liked the idea of it, but rarely enjoyed it in practice. Then, about 4 years ago I had an emergency operation related to Crohn’s disease that left me struggling to walk for several months. I would hobble from park bench to park bench getting sad watching the runners zoom by. After recovering, I decided that if I could run, I shouldn’t take it for granted. While that is easier said than done, the shift in mindset was all I needed - running gradually changed from a chore to a healthy hobby to something I adore.
Tell us about your best running experience. When I lived in Boston, a large group of friends and I would dress up for a series of 5k races held every quarter. From elves to lederhosen to leprechauns, the outfits were fun and ridiculous (I like to think that people were laughing with us, not at us). It was a whole lot of fun with great people - some racing competitively and others just trudging slowly towards the beer at the finish line. Everybody pushed themselves in their own way while always having a blast.
That, and I really adore running in slot canyons. There is a strange ethereal beauty about them that I can’t get enough of. I once did an overnight run/hike through Buckskin Gulch and the Paria River along the Utah/Arizona border, with a side hike to the Wave, a spectacular rock formation. The gulch gradually turned from a narrow winding slot canyon, into a much deeper and wider ravine with sheer monolithic walls. Along the way I was forced to play a game of chicken with a rattlesnake that had fallen in, and found out the hard way that I consume far more water than most, but loved every minute of it and can’t wait to go back.
What attracted you to the Triple Crown of Running series? The settings of the races are gorgeous on all counts. The three races are very different from each other, which keeps it varied and interesting. I’m a big fan of staying motivated through incremental progress, and the TCR fits that mantra perfectly - each race is more challenging than the last.
Why do you run? I like to get out and see the world around me. For me, running is simply the healthiest and most enjoyable way to do it. In the short term, runner’s high is real, and in the long term I’ve seen major benefits to my overall health - my Crohn’s disease is significantly easier to manage than it used to be. I also find it relaxing in general. When running, I have time to think. When sitting on the couch, I have time to overthink.
Where is your favorite place to run in the Colorado Springs area, and why? I get bored easily, so I’m lucky there are so many options around here. The one route I never get bored of, though, is a 10-11 mile loop combining Red Rocks Canyon Open Space with Section 16. It’s extremely varied - even the soil and rocks change color multiple times. You get rolling hills, long straight stretches, banked curves, rock hopping, a steep climb, and a glorious long smooth downhill gallop. One mile you feel like you’re in the desert, the next in an alpine forest.
When you aren't running or working, what do you like to do? My dog Betty is the best dog in the world, hands down. Fortunately, I don’t have to leave her behind to enjoy one of my other favorite things - Colorado Springs has a lot of dog friendly breweries. My other hobbies include cooking, hiking, snowshoeing, traveling and volunteer work.
Sarah Roueche, 34, Event coordinator at Summit Catering
How long have you been a runner and how did you get started? I always thought I hated running. A friend talked me into signing up for a 5k with her back in 2009, so I somewhat trained for that, managed to get through the race, and then refused to run anymore. Then a couple years later I found out about a group that runs (or walks) in honor of fallen servicemembers, and as I was a military spouse at the time that really resonated with me. It gave me a purpose to running that was outside of myself and suddenly I was running every week, and eventually joined the group in training for and running my first half-marathon. But then I moved and lost the group support, and running became sporadic again for a few years. Then I moved to Colorado in 2014 and found the incredible running community here, and really fell in love with running!
Tell us about your best running experience. Running the Garden of the Gods 10 Miler for the first time. It was the most beautiful race I'd ever done and made me feel so strong. I never would've thought I'd be capable of running that type of course but I did it!
What attracted you to the Triple Crown of Running series? It's such a good way to keep me motivated and on top of my training over the summer, and the races make you feel like a badass.
Why do you run? To stay fit, enjoy the outdoors, and challenge myself. Oh, and spend time with friends...because almost all my friends are runners.
Where is your favorite place to run in the Colorado Springs area, and why? Garden of the Gods, both roads and trails. You can run in it every day and it never looks exactly the same.
When you aren't running or working, what do you like to do? I love to read, cook & bake, cuddle with my cat, and binge too much Netflix.
Brian McCarrie, 49, Lead Web Developer at The Gazette
How long have you been a runner and how did you get started?I've been running for about 30 years. I started as a Junior in college because my roommate was a runner and I had some friends on the track team so I figured I give it a try. My roommate gave me his old running shoes and out the door I went.
Tell us about your best running experience.My best running experience by far was several summers ago before the Waldo Canyon Fire. I was running the Waldo Canyon trail with a friend on a wet and cloudy day. Running by the creek in Waldo that day I felt like I was somehow transported to a rainforest. There were ferns and it was so green. Every time I'd run past or brush up against a low hanging branch drops of water would go flying everywhere. Because we live in such a dry climate days like the one I had in Waldo are few and far between. I felt like I was one with nature and I truly appreciated the experience. It was really special and I'll never forget it.
What attracted you to the Triple Crown of Running series? Again, years ago when I first moved to town I started to participate in some of the local 5 and 10Ks. A co-worker of mine at the time had signed up for the Pikes Peak Ascent and was going to pick up his race packet and he invited me along on our lunch break. What I saw there was just such a cool vibe. I guess that I expected it to be packed with "elite" runners and there were definitely some but most of the people there were just like me. I remember saying to my friend "I should be doing this!". The next year I signed up.
Why do you run? I run for a lot of reasons. To stay in shape, to be connected with the outdoors, to be a part of the local running community. But the main reason that I run is because it helps me to sort things out in my head. Sometimes when I am stressed for one reason or another, nothing helps me to figure it all out more so than running. It lifts me up when I'm down and has helped me to cope during very difficult times. No mater what happens to be going through my mind when I come back from a run I feel centered and focused. I have more energy, creativity and an improved attitude all because of running. I run because it's a part of me.
Where is your favorite place to run in the Colorado Springs area, and why? The Garden of the Gods. I live in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood about a 1/2 mile from the trail in the Garden. I'm in there several times a week early in the morning when nobody else is around and I have the whole park to myself. I've had so many awesome runs in the Garden and I know just about every rock on the trail. The scenery is amazing but the trails are challenging and fun. Other favorite places are Palmer Park and Waldo Canyon back before the fire.
When you aren't running or working, what do you like to do? When I'm not running or working I'm spending time with family or drawing and creating art.
Wendy Stalnaker, 40 (newly minted 'masters' athlete!), Entegris, Data Analyst
How long have you been a runner and how did you get started? I might have done a Turkey Trot or two in my hometown in New Jersey growing up, but I didn't actually start to try running as a 'thing' until I was in college and my best friend wanted to run at the gym as a break from studying. I remember when I finally started running outside, instead of just on the treadmill, as a senior in college - I could finally do 3 miles continuously! Something about being outside for the run instead of just on the treadmill made it so much easier to run without walk breaks!
Tell us about your best running experience. I've had so many amazing running experiences, from getting to travel to some of the most beautiful parts of Colorado such as Imogene Trail Race, to my first trail almost-marathon (25miles) at Collegiate Peaks Trail Race (which got me started on this long distance running life!) to 'fastpacking'/trail running in to Assiniboine National Park in western Canada . Each time I travel to a new place for a running race or adventure, I'm so thankful for the ability to see all the awe-inspiring sights b/c of my run training.
What attracted you to the Triple Crown of Running series? I love that each part of the series is a totally different challenge- the Garden 10 is one of the very few road races I do each year, so it's fun to see what type of speed I can manage on such a hilly course. The Summer Roundup , no matter the location, always seems to be rolling hills, such that I think I should run 'hard' but after a few miles I start to wonder how I can possibly do ultra-marathons when an hour is so difficult! And then of course the final challenge of climbing up a local mountain- it's the perfect test of your fitness as well as race strategy- did I save up enough energy for the top? Or should I use the energy lower down because I won't be moving fast at the top anyways!?
Why do you run? To see beautiful places that would take really long to get to by walking, and are too steep to bike!
Where is your favorite place to run in the Colorado Springs area, and why? I love the trails in Cheyenne Canon because it's easier to get up to higher altitudes for the cooler temperatures , as well as to escape the crowds.
When you aren't running or working, what do you like to do? I'm also a member of the Naked Women's Racing Team, so if there's a wknd that I'm not running, it's only because I'm biking instead! Weekdays I like to head to CityRock with my husband Dennis b/c that's a sport that we can do together no matter what level each of us is currently at.
Kimberly Lindsay, 52, Athletic Secretary, Rampart High School
How long have you been a runner and how did you get started? Dabbled a little in high school but started running regularly 25 years ago. It was an easy workout to get in during my lunch hour while my daughter was little and then just kept on running.
Tell us about your best running experience. It’s going to be the 2018 Barr Trail Mountain Race. I’ve DNF’d the last two years so this year I’m going to earn that shirt!
What attracted you to the Triple Crown of Running series? The Triple Crown is a great series that pushes you in each race. I was always afraid of the Pikes Peak Ascent, so I decided for my 50th year on earth I would sign up for the series. This year will be my third year and I plan on running the Triple Crown until I can’t. I’m super excited about the Summer Roundup being down at Cheyenne Mountain State Park this year – another one of my favorite parks.
Why do you run? I love to be outside to explore tunnels, old cabins and whatever else is out there and running gets me to those places. I want to be a Forest Ranger in my next life.
Where is your favorite place to run in the Colorado Springs area, and why? Close to home would be Garden of the Gods. It’s a different park every day, every hour. If I have more time it would be all the trails on Pikes Peak, so many miles and places to go.
When you aren't running or working, what do you like to do? Hike with my family, snuggle with Hyndi and Remi our dogs, take pictures, learn to ride my new mountain bike, anything outside.
Sharon Greenbaum, 55, group fitness instructor YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region
How long have you been a runner and how did you get started?I have been a runner for 40 years, i started in high school when I was cut from the other sports I tried back then.
Tell us about your best running experience. My best running experiences, outside a few memorable races, are on Pikes Peak. One memory is running on longs ranch road with my dog, Sky, on a mild winter day and watching her enjoy the bounding through snow drifts and chasing squirrels. Then she’d wait majestically for me, looking down at me from some rock or ridge, check up on me, and move on...so in the moment and having a great time and making me feel like she always had my back out there.
Another is running with friends to Elk Park, so beautiful, and spreading my fathers ashes in lovely places enroute, as he requested us to do. These memories also remind me life is short! Enjoy your legs and your lungs while they can still carry us to these places, and when you go slow, you see more!
What attracted you to the Triple Crown of Running series? I am drawn to participating in the triple crown of running because life gets so busy with work, family obligations, and busy-ness that, next thing you know, you just aren’t making the space in life to get out and do anything new or different. Entering the Triple Crown in the summers allows me to reconnect with old faces and meet new ones, all while doing something healthy. Each race builds you up slow for the next one, and that helps hold you accountable in your training.
Why do you run? I run, jog, and hike to get outside and enjoy the beauty and the fresh air of my surroundings and to clear my head. It’s at least as much about my mental health as it is about my physical health these days...
Where is your favorite place to run in the Colorado Springs area, and why? My favorite places to run are many of the beautiful parks we have at easy access here in colorado springs, but when it come right down to it, i just love going out my front door for a run, jog, or walk and enjoying the simplicity of that!
When you aren't running or working, what do you like to do?When not running or working, i’m mostly a homebody! I read, cook and clean, watch movies. I enjoy art and crafts, gardening, being with my pets, family, friends. I travel here and there, even if it’s just to Denver to see my daughter or down to Alamosa for a cross country or track reunion, sometimes further on a plane. I don’t like to leave home and my pets for too long, though!
Matthew McCord, 24, Achilles Pikes Peak Athlete