‘Funky’ race makes return to Carbondale
Post Independent Sports Editor
CARBONDALE — Brion After calls the Mt. Sopris Runoff a “funky” race.
That adjective seems to describe the 14-mile race fairly well, especially considering its history.
“The guy who first put this thing together,” After recalled with a laugh, “was a pretty funky guy.”
That funky guy was Bruce Gabow, who began the race back in 1978. He he had a very interesting way of running the race, with some of the remnants on the race course still remaining.
So when the Mt. Sopris Runoff takes place on Saturday for its 35th running, it would make sense that some of those things would still be around.
After, who is in his fourth year as the race director after taking over for Gabow, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“There were a lot of things that were really fun when he did it, and it’s still fun,” After said.
The Runoff, a 14-mile run that climbs 1,500 feet in elevation before descending 1,700 feet to the finish line, will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Emma School House in Basalt. It descends down Prince Creek Road before ending at Mountain Fair.
The 4-mile Fair Run will go down Prince Creek Road, giving participants a fast and mostly downhill run. Racers meet at 7:15 a.m. on race day at Sopris Park in Carbondale, where a bus will transport them to the start line.
Registration is $30 for either race, and race-day registration begins at 6:30 a.m. at the site of both races. Each of the first 75 entrants will receive a T-shirt and a goody bag.
After said an average of 90 or so runners come out each year to the 14-mile race, and the Fair Run was added just three years ago. But Gabow, with the way he ran things, gave the race a funky identity of its own.
The race actually began as a 17-mile jaunt, but it still started in Basalt. After said Gabow, year after year, would use the same water jugs and the same equipment for each race, and he’d also use the same marker rocks and paint the same lines on the course.
“When I went with him as he was setting up the race, he’d just paint over the lines that were drawn the last year,” After laughed. “Then he’d go off to the side and dig up the marker rocks and put them on the course.”
Are they still there?
“Oh yeah,” After chuckled. “Some of the rocks are still there.”
The race serves to benefit the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities. After never sees a dime of the proceeds, and anything extra that comes from registrations goes straight to the race cause.
Registrations are still being accepted by calling 970-704-0909, or by going online to http://www.active.com.
Race-day registration begins at 6:30 a.m. After will be setting up the course at around 4:30 a.m., rocks, paint and all.
He won’t, however, be running in the race the way Gabow did on its inception.
“I heard when he first started, he had a group of people at the start line, yelled “Go!” and started running along with everyone,” said After, who was still laughing. “People would kind of cross the finish line and just say what their times were. We do things a little bit different now. Just a little.”
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