Jackets extra incentive for runners
Participants appreciate events classy apparel
By MERI-JO BORZILLERI
At the least, theyre a conversation-starter. At best, theyre a badge of honor. Theyre running-race T-shirts, and most who are doing the 50th Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon this weekend have dresser drawers stuffed full of them.
How does the Pikes Peak race stack up, sartorially speaking, with world-famous marathons like Boston and New York?
Put it this way: Pikes Peak would make Mr. Blackwell proud.
Some of the Pikes Peak ones they do are just the best, said John Campbell, 60, of Carbondale, who has run Pikes Peak for 30 years. I actually wear one in semi-formal situations. My experience is they do a great job in general.
Its about to get even better. Because its the 50th, for the first time the race will give posh, embroidered fleece jackets (retail value $60). This years catch you have to finish to get one.
For todays Ascent, a 13.32-mile run up the 14,115-foot peak via Barr Trail, organizers will hand out the jackets at the summit. Finishers of Sundays 26.21-mile upand-down race get theirs at the bottom.
That makes the gifts even more prized to those who will suffer to complete the lungsqueezing, calf-trashing, hourslong march to the finish line.
Robyn Goldstein, 45, is a first-time Ascent entrant. She lives in Lake Mary, Fla., where it was 102 degrees this week.
I dont care. Im wearing that to work Monday, Goldstein said. Just getting that wonderful jacket, I think its awesome.
Pikes Peak garments get kudos for variety and simplicity. Like the revered Boston Marathon, the nations oldest continuously run marathon, Pikes Peak doesnt clutter the back or front with sponsor names. Instead, sponsors get space on volunteer and support crew shirts.
One of the major compliments we get is, `Thanks for not making us look like a billboard, said Melody Lundin, who teams with Dave Vanderkolk of Tayco Screenprinters to design Pikes Peak shirts or jackets annually.
Lundin, the races merchandise director, knows aesthetics. She is a protocol officer for Peterson Air Force Base, planning things such as retirements, promotions and public affairs events at bases nationwide. To research design ideas, which Vanderkolk executes, Lundin consults with her husband, Les; reads running magazines; checks other races; and brainstorms on business trips. She came up with this years Pikes Peak, Rare Air idea on a plane. Pikes Peak items are popular among runners because the event has not done a traditional cotton shirt since 1995. Entrants have received synthetic shirts that wick away sweat, embroidered microfiber windshirts and mock turtlenecks, all with the recognizable mountain logo.
Not all races are created equal when it comes to shirts. Karen Van Rite, 49, of New Berlin, Wis., remembers a Las Vegas race where the shirt was hideous.
The logo is orange, she said. I dont know if it has dice on it.
But she still kept it. Badge of honor? Not quite.
Its in the closet, she said. I use it for washing the car.
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Copyright 2005, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.