|Follow these links for the Results of Previous Coal Creek Cross Country Challenge Races|
2003 Coal Creek Cross Country Challenge
by Bruce Kirschner and Randy Luallin
One hundred and six (106) participants were treated to a classically beautiful fall weather day with orange leaves at their peak for the 5th annual Coal Creek Cross Country Challenge (CCCCC) in Louisville. According to CMRA veterans, this was the largest field the club had hosted for any race in memory. This was unexpected considering that Denver's massive Race for the Cure had been rescheduled to the same day. The large CCCCC turnout may have had something to do with the weather -- with temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s, the morning featured near perfect racing conditions.
Despite what race registrants might have thought, this was not the set for the new “Beverly Hillbillies” reality TV show. The scribbled words on a large wooden sign amid abandoned vehicles just south of the registration table even proclaimed, “FREE APPLES TAKE ALL YOU WANT” (Note: co-race director Randy Luallin later commented that taking a bag of apples may well be a race registration requirement in 2004). This was just the Luallin Ranch in east Louisville and the 2003 CCCCC start line venue (well, the starting line was just over the railroad tracks).
The race began with its usual firecracker start and participants soon found themselves winding their way along Coal Creek. It would be several miles before their first challenge: successful crossing of Coal Creek ... without a bridge. Although the race directors had dammed the water crossing point the day before, Randy Luallin was unable to serve as “creek crossing marshal” this year (he assumed the pace bike role instead) to ensure that every participant got at least one leg in the creek. As a result, a number of participants attempted to maneuver across without getting wet. Boulder's Chris Valenti, the first to make the attempt (and eventual 2003 CCCCC champion), achieved the noteworthy feat of very nearly completely hurtling the 10 foot wide creek - managing to only moisten the back of one of his heels (Luallin later stated, “That's criminal! Next year we just won't give him his beer [award]”). Second overall finisher Hector Martinez tried to cross the makeshift branch twig dam only to get thoroughly wet in the process. Longmont's Jim Stewart later succeeded in staying dry using this “traverse the dam” race strategy. But just about everyone else had a more difficult time, including one female competitor who reportedly fell into the creek face forward(!).
The next challenge was the farmer's field, the condition of which is always a mystery and a surprise. Past years have featured plowed furrows, soggy mush, and knee high brush. The year participants were in luck - dry conditions and Boulder County Open Space had recently bought the property from the owner in Sri Lanka - so no furrows. Runners and walkers could also avoid the undergrowth if they stayed in the tire tread tracks left by Randy Luallin's pickup truck the day before, making the field crossing significantly less arduous.
Valenti bested the course record he set in 2001 by nearly 2 minutes, finishing in 30:33 and several minutes ahead of second place finisher Hector Martinez. Sara Tarkington was top woman finisher and 9th place overall in 36:03, almost 3 minutes ahead of second place female finisher Amanda McCracken.
At the post-race awards ceremony a number of age group winners were treated to Buffalo nickel necklaces, handmade by Randy Luallin. This year's race also had the distinction of having 4 runners in the “70+” age group. A special recognition award for “Racers From The Most Distant Location” goes to Rod and Sandy Hurlbert of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, who stopped in on their way home from Bryce Canyon National Park, where they had served as seasonal campground hosts.
A hearty thanks to all the volunteers who made this event possible. Rob Fisher and Keiko Takeshi did a fine job with the registration. Jim Price, Joe Baird, Jerry Murch, and Joe Sanchez performed finish line timing and scoring duties in their usually superb manner. Other volunteers along the course were Mark Bailey (road crossing), Caleb Luallin and Jody Pinteric (water stop), Lori Dill (creek crossing), Pete Wolfe (fence crossing), Sue Schmidt (parking), Lee Palmer (ditch marshal) John Augustine (course set up) and Donna Luallin (parking). The club also extends its appreciation to Jim Vinsen, for loaning his traffic cones, and to V-3 Construction, for use of their portable toilet. CMRA Quartermaster Joe Sanchez assisted with equipment transportation and logistics as well.
Special recognition to our commercial race sponsors and supporters for prize drawing merchandise: Runner's Choice of Boulder, the Arvada Great Harvest Bakery (Barry Sparks), Louisville's Blue Parrot Restaurant, and the Old Louisville Inn.
This year marked Odell Brewing Company's fifth anniversary at the event. The race's biggest sponsor, Odell has been a fixture at the race since 1999. Headquartered in Fort Collins, the microbrewery makes fine beers such as “90 Shilling” and “Cutthroat Porter”. Odell Sales Manager Rick Newell was able to attend the CCCCC despite his son's confirmation that same day. This continues to be the only CMRA event that features beer as a post-race treat and participants showed their appreciation by finishing off the entire “Easy Street Wheat” keg. In the past, Odell has awarded a case of beer to the top male and female runners, but this year also awarded 12-packs to the 2nd place male and female finishers. The company also contributed t-shirts and hats to the post-race prize drawing.
A final acknowledgement to all the participants who have contributed to the race's success by promoting this special event by word-of-mouth. We expect to see everyone back here next year on October 17, 2004...and bring at least one newcomer for a unique racing experience!
|COAL CREEK XC CHALLENGE|
|Oct. 12, 2003|
|Coal Creek X Country Challenge|
|Oct. 12, 2003|
|AGE Group Awards|
|Overall Man||Overall Woman|
|Chris Valenti||30:33||Sara Tarkington||36:03|
|70 and Over|
|65 - 69|
|1.||Ken Randall||41:49||Judy Smythe||53:09|
|2.||Jim Peterson||50:08||Vici DeHaan||59:20|
|60 - 64|
|1.||Bill Faulkner||44:35||Connie Ahrnsbrach||45:56|
|2.||Kent Mitchell||45:25||Sandy Hurlbert||1:13:48|
|3.||Tom Chambers||46:25||Gail Stewart||1:13:48|
|55 - 59|
|1.||Bill Smitham||38:50||Mallory Norway||1:01:54|
|2.||Steve Myers||40:55||Irene Betin||1:13:19|
|50 - 54|
|1.||Jesus T.||40:36||Peggy Muhn||40:06|
|2.||Gramm Wilson||40:58||Lucia Gill||53:20|
|3.||David Lemon||42:08||Pat Emigh||56:38|
|4.||Warren Sill||42:52||Chris Vanoni||1:13:05|
|45 - 49|
|1.||Scott Chamberlain||36:43||Kim Massey||43:47|
|2.||Jeff Young||38:04||Polly Zimmerman||44:19|
|3.||Stan Gill||38:07||Carol Johnson||52:41|
|40 - 44|
|1.||Dan Tomlin||34:13||Sara Hanifin||41:36|
|2.||Adam Feerst||34:48||Terri Sommer||43:52|
|3.||Bob Jones||35:26||Ellen Dennard||44:09|
|35 - 39|
|1.||Andrew Helton||34:01||Pam Pruto||40:28|
|2.||Kenn Seibel||34:37||Trish Ramos||41:51|
|3.||Eric Patterson||37:39||Michelle Delpiccola||45:26|
|4.||Rick App||46:07||Marianela Truijilo||48:04|
|34 and Under|
|1.||Chris Valenti||30:33||Sara Tarkington||36:03|
|2.||Hector Martinez||32:21||Amanda McCracken||38:47|
|3.||Matt Biviano||35:02||Laurie Naguchi-Hawn||41:34|
|4.||Neal Henderson||36:13||Michelle Slingsby||52:01|
|5.||Mike Hankanson||36:52||Kirsten Ruiz||58:21|