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Don’t send in the clowns

It’s been said that runners, especially long distance runners, have a high tolerance for boredom.

That may be true on the long training runs in preparation for an even longer race. But on race day, race directors, it seems, are morphing into part entertainment directors as well.

Maybe it wasn’t enough to advertise that the course was pancake flat, that energy gels were available at miles 15 and 20 and they’d provide free pictures of you crossing the finish line. Nowadays you could entice potential participants with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at mile 9, jazz band at mile 13, the famous dancing flamingos and singing parrots at mile 16, the sword swallowers at mile 21, and videos of thrilling Olympic Marathon finishes shown on super big screen at mile 25.

This all reminded me of how the plethora of entertainment at some races had turned into a virtual smorgasbord of performances. It often begins with the over enthusiastic, non-runner jazzercise instructor who thinks the idea of a marathon pre-race warm up is five minutes of furiously active high impact dancing to the theme from Flashdance.

Their goal seems to be, partly, to divert the runners from thinking about what they are actually doing and/or disassociate them from any discomfort that might be occurring. Nothing like thinking back on that sword swallowing that you just witnessed at mile 21 to make the time seem to go a little faster before you get to mile 25.

I find these diversionary tactics amusing. I recognize there are those distractible runners that find these diversions necessary. But I say to embrace the pain. Don’t send in the clowns.

Looking for a tried and true run sans the sword swallowers? The Mountain Chile Cha Cha promises no diversions other than killer views, rolling terrain and clean crispy Rocky Mountain air.

The fifth annual Mountain Chile Cha Cha will wrap up this year’s local running series put on by GECKO on Saturday, Sept. 25. In addition to race distances of 3 miles, 7 miles and 15 miles, there is also the Children’s’ Race of approximately 1 kilometer. The Children’s Race will start at 7:30 a.m. followed by the 3, 7, and 15 milers at 8 a.m.

Post race is when the entertainment begins. At noon food and music will be dished up in quantity and quality in Town Park (same location as the races).

Registration can be done online by visiting www.joingecko.org/events. Don’t wait; join now. However, if you are waiting till the midnight hour, registration can be done on Friday, Sept. 24, from 5–8 p.m. at The Hub (during race packet pickup). An exception is made to allow only registration for the Children’s Race before 7:30 a.m. on race day.

Racquetball tournament

The 2010 High Altitude Racquetball Tournament is just around the corner. A month later than usual, the tournament will be held at the recreation center Oct. 22-24. Players, local and out-of-town, will converge on the racquetball courts to play in their specific divisions. To cater to a wide range of abilities, there will be divisions for beginners and novices, going all the way to the open divisions for the top flight players. For additional information on the tournament, call Todd Ormonde at the recreation center (731-2051).