The concept behind the Colfax Marathon seemed like a can't-miss proposition. After all, Colfax Avenue -- America's longest main street -- runs exactly the length of a marathon, and passes through some very colorful parts of three towns. But what worked conceptually didn't work in reality, according to race organizers, since the east-west route from Aurora to the edge of Golden ended with a punishing, uphill slog, and a west-east route was impossible, because runners would be headed into the sun.
And so this year, the Colfax Marathon will not start on Colfax at all, but in City Park. And it will skip the best part of Colfax, the Bluebird District, completely.
For the past two years, I'd gathered on the patio of Mezcal with fellow fans of spectator sports (and early beers) to watch the runners. But this year, the race is skipping Mezcal's spot at 3230 East Colfax -- as well as a dozen blocks on either side -- and finding a replacement viewing venue has not been easy.
The Colfax Marathon will start in City Park at 6 a.m. on May 18, with the full marathon heading down York to Colfax, then west to Simms, then back to Denver on Colfax, taking a left at Wolff and leaving Colfax altogether for a jaunt around Sloan's Lake, through downtown and then down 17th Avenue back to the park. Meanwhile, the half-marathon will head east from the park on 17th past Colorado, then take Colfax to Aurora and return the way it came.
Which means that other than City Park, there's no place to watch both the marathon and half-marathon. In solidarity with the Bluebird District, so snubbed by the half-marathon, I set my sights on the full-marathon route, and came up with a few viewing spots.
Irish Snug, 1201 East Colfax. The Irish Snug will be opening early on May 18, at 6 a.m., so that you can watch the race from the patio out front. But don't be late: the Snug is just past the second mile, so most runners will be long gone before the Snug can legally serve alcohol (officially, that's at 7 a.m.).
Better alternatives for those who like to sleep in:
Mona's, 2364 15th Street, which opens for breakfast at 7 a.m. -- plenty early to catch the runners who will be on mile 21 when they pass here.
Panzano, at 909 17th Street, a great restaurant that opens for brunch at 8 a.m. - and is just past mile 22.
Steuben's, at 523 East 17th Avenue, which doesn't open for brunch until 10 a.m., but has two streetside patios and fabulous food. This should be a fine place to catch stragglers as they pass mile 23. And who knows? Steuben's may even open early that day. To check, call 303-830-1001. -- Patricia Calhoun