Running Against the Denver Broncos in Woodland Park

More than 1,000 participants expected for fitness race downtown

~ byRick Langenberg ~

The Denver Broncos may have disappointed fans last year in their first failed playoff bid since 2010.

But quit whining and forget all about the quarterback controversy and speculation over Tony Romo’s possible emergence as the next offensive leader for Denver and questions about retiring stars. In fact, even with a mediocre record last year, Bronco fever is still alive and well in the high country. And to help gear up for next year’s season, Woodland Park will host the 7K Fit Series, a Denver Broncos themed seven kilometer running, walking and strolling race through “The City Above the Clouds” on May 6. More importantly, the race will feature Bronco players, cheerleaders, Miles the Mascot and more, with the opportunity to win prize and even tickets to games. Woodland is one of three venues for the popular pre-season gala and fitness rally.  

The event is part of the Broncos Fit Campaign and expands on the annual Broncos 7K run held at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High during Labor Day weekend. It is sponsored by UC Health, King Soopers, Children’s Hospital Colorado, 24 Hour Fitness, KUSA and the El Pomar Foundation. According to the Denver Broncos’ website, the event provides opportunities for “Broncos’ fans to” combine their love of the team with the desire to run and walk.”The race, starting at 10 a.m., will begin and end at the Woodland Park High School, with a free ceremony following the competition. According to Woodland Park Special Projects Director Jane Mannon, at least 1,000 participants are expected to compete in the event locally. She assured the council last week it is designed for all fans, whether they want to run, walk or just watch, and that includes elected leaders. “This is huge,” admitted Mannon in announcing the May 6 race that will definitely add to the town’s growing stature in hosting big athletic-oriented events. “It is very exciting stuff.”  Woodland Park served as the launching area for a main stage of the USA Pro Challenge cycling competition several years ago.

Unfortunately, that race, which trekked across the entire state for a week, went bust, even though it attracted 1 million-plus viewers and featured some of the best cyclists in the world. How did we get picked, questioned several council members at last week’s meeting. Mannon said the Broncos fitness campaign and running race was typically held in Denver. But this time, the Denver Broncos’ organization opted to expand the event to a smaller mountain town in Colorado.

And Woodland Park, largely through its connections with El Pomar, got the nod, explained Mannon. The other venues for the race are Fort Collins and the Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver. For the race in Woodland Park, participants can walk or run along a route that stretches through downtown, somewhat mimicking the course held during the annual Mayor’s Cup competition in August. The details of the course are still in the works, but preliminary details indicate that parts of Rampart Range Road, Gunnison, Kelley’s, Lake and Sundance streets and avenues will be used for the race.

Following the competition, a free community celebration will be held featuring current Broncos’ players, cheerleaders, Lombardi trophies, Miles the Mascot and fun activities. Race participants will receive a unique finisher’s medal, bib and t-shirt. Different activities are planned for other races in Fort Collins and Denver. Interest in the event spread from the previous 7K race held at Mile High last year.

Mannon expressed much optimism about the event at last week’s council meeting, especially with a region filled with Broncos’ fans and with the fitness craze of the Pikes Peak region. She said a lot more details have to be worked out, and for right now, officials aren’t sure which members of the Denver Broncos will partake in the event in Woodland Park.

In any case, the race is expected to generate plenty of spectators, with reports estimating that the event could attract more than 5,000 people.  For information on signing up, visitwww.denverbroncos.com/7kseries.