CHEYENNE – Consider last year a test run.
The inaugural Cheyenne Marathon was a big success. Around 800 runners entered, and the feedback was mostly positive.
“The runners enjoyed the event,” said Lisa Taylor, who both competed in the race and was a mentor for those running around her.
But there almost always are drawbacks – questions, concerns and opinions alike – after every first-time event. That was the last fall.
After coordinating the event last year, Cheyenne Marathon Commissioner Amber Ash stepped down from her post when the Cheyenne Kiwanis Club took over as the governing body.
“It’s logistically a very big event to put on,” Ash said. “It needed to be housed with a large organization for the long-term management of a project that size. The reality of it is, is that there’s a lot of … safety measures that go into making sure everybody has a fun and safe race, and it needs a larger group of people to manage it.”
In stepped Taylor, a Cheyenne Kiwanis Club member herself, who is now the Cheyenne Marathon race director.
The most common feedback Taylor has heard over the last year has been the layout of the racecourse, along with the start and finish lines. So, she and her staff “revamped” the course, she said. Among the biggest changes for Sunday’s second annual Cheyenne Marathon are competitors will now run on F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
The full marathon starts at 6:30 a.m. between Pioneer and Carey avenues on 15th Street. The half marathon will begin at 7 a.m. from 15th Street and Capital Avenue, and the 10k race starts at 9 a.m. at 17th Street and Morrie Avenue.
Each race will end at the Cheyenne Depot Plaza.
“Really, with the exception of ending at the Depot Plaza, and some of the components are consistent, but for the most part, it’s a complete course revamp,” Taylor said. “So, there are quite a few changes. We still have the four different events, but actually where the different runs go with the exception of ending at the Depot Plaza, it’s all a brand-new course.”
Taylor said she also received concerns about the hill along Vandehei Avenue, which has been removed from the course for Sunday’s race, she said.
“(It) was pretty difficult, and we got some feedback about maybe that wasn’t the best place,” Taylor added.
The number of entries for Sunday’s race is down from last year, Taylor said. She expects around 500 competitors this year.
“I don’t know if part of it is just it’s not (the) inaugural event,” she said. “I know we advertised in some of the same locations, but maybe not all of them. I don’t know exactly why we don’t have the participant numbers. That’s one of the areas that we need to figure out.”
Chris Mocko won the overall marathon last year in 1 hour, 48.38 minutes.
After seeing how successful the first Cheyenne Marathon was last fall, Taylor expects much of the same this year.