Chuck Trujillo raised a lot of eyebrows in the competitive running community four years ago when he announced plans for a regular Denver marathon. Plenty of these epics already clogged the fall calendar in places like New York, Chicago and even Minneapolis. But all of those places had a distinct advantage over Denver: air. But air -- or Denver's comparative lack of it -- turned out to be Trujillo's strategy for attracting competitors to the city's 26.2-mile course. The former University of Colorado track star said the Mile High City Marathon would be all about the effort of racing at altitude, as well as setting personal-best and record times.
About 1,500 folks entered last year's competition. And so far, the race has had a local flavor: Sean Larkin of Littleton won the men's marathon last year, with a race time of 2:34:50. Boulder's Heather Burcar won the women's marathon in 2:59.44.
The race starts this morning at 7 a.m. in front of the State Capitol. From there, runners speed into Washington Park, detour through Cherry Creek and loop through Cheesman Park and City Park before crossing the finish line at the Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall. There are also divisions for half-marathon, 5K, wheelchair and race-walking competitors.
Thinking of watching from the finish line? Arrive early to claim a spot; last year, more than 2,000 spectators showed up. And this year, organizers expect a post-race Expo Village to attract more than 20,000 people. Go to www. milehighcitymarathon.com or call 303-375-8121 for more information. Get sweaty! -- Hart Van Denburg
Bike tour cruises on
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Grease your chain: It's time for the fourth annual Park-to-Park Bicycle Tour, a benefit ride for Bicycle Colorado that can take you as far as 100 miles in and around Denver without ever leaving the road. With nary a hill in sight, the Park-to-Park is suitable for all kinds of riders, says organizer Dan Grunig, Bicycle Colorado's executive director. Sure, some hammerheads use the course as suffer-fest. "But it's not at all hard-core," he says. Most folks go easy.
Starting at Cherry Creek State Park, the ride covers the Cherry Creek bike path, parts of the South Platte River Greenway and, for those going the full 100 miles, the C-470 bike path and Bear Creek Lake Park. Start times vary, depending on your planned distance.
The $60 entry fee, plus a $10 late fee if you haven't already registered, helps pay for food and mechanical aid stations every twelve miles, a barbecue at the finish line and Bicycle Colorado's advocacy all year round. For more information, call 303-417-1544 or go to www.bicyclecolo.org. -- Hart Van Denburg