All posts by Felix

The FCRC’s International Ambassador

In recent years, the Fort Collins Running Club has experienced exponential growth and now has over 800 members. But did you know that the club not only has members who reside within Larimer County and elsewhere along the Front Range, but also someone who has never even lived in the United States? It’s true!

Three years ago, Antxon Corta of San Sebastián, Spain, was preparing to run the Chicago Marathon. A popular thing among Spaniards is to represent a club during a race, and since Antxon had not already belonged to a specific organization, he looked for a running group in the U.S. to join. Somehow during a web search, he came across the Fort Collins Running Club’s website.

He liked the FCRC’s inclusive spirit—and its logo of a tortoise and hare—so much that he wrote to the club (in English). He wondered if folks living, oh, 5000 miles from Fort Collins could nevertheless join the FCRC and buy club gear to wear in the marathon. Also: could the clothes be shipped to his hotel in Chicago?

As FCRC webmaster, I (Felix) saw his message and jumped at the chance to correspond with a Spaniard. I wrote back, in Castellano (what we call Spanish), “It would honor the club very much if you wore our jersey in the Chicago Marathon. If you do, I’ll buy membership for you!”

Sure enough, Antxon purchased club gear, which Sport About (the FCRC’s local supplier) shipped to his hotel in Chicago. He then wore a blue singlet sporting a white FCRC logo in not only the 26.2-miler in the Windy City, but also in races in San Sebastián, other towns in Basque Country, and even Manchester (UK)—all while spectators cheered and shouted at the top of their lungs, “Go Fort Collins!”

Antxon at the 2016 Chicago Marathon.
Antxon at the 2017 Manchester Half Marathon
Antxon ran the 2018 Andoain Herri Krossa 10K (Basque Country) in a blazing 38m37s.

When Antxon’s first-year membership came up for renewal, the FCRC board voted to perpetually extend his membership each year as long as he continued to trot around the world wearing the club’s memorabilia. After all, he doesn’t even live in Colorado and cannot reap the club’s membership benefits, yet he was doing all of this free advertising for us! In essence, Antxon had become the club’s de facto International Ambassador.

When I went to Spain in 2017 to walk the Camino de Santiago, Antxon even picked me up from the San Sebastián airport and let me sleep at his home, where his wife Vicky prepared a scrumptious dinner of Spanish tapas. The next morning, Antxon drove me to Irún—a small town on the Spanish/French border—where I officially started my 600+ mile camino.

Eating Spanish tapas at Antxon & Vicky’s home in San Sebastián, Spain in September 2017.

Of course I was more than happy to return the favor when Antxon wrote in late 2018 saying that he and and his wife intended to visit Fort Collins for a week in May 2019 and that he wanted to run the Colorado Marathon. [Race report] Antxon registered for the race and flew over to Denver with Vicky using their own funds. Then they stayed at my place during their entire visit and got to meet more than a dozen of my friends, including several fellow FCRC members.

Jennifer Weinert, Vicky Calvo, Antxon Corta, and Felix Wong at La Crêperie in Fort Collins.
Mel Sirois (FCRC Administrative Coordinator), Felix Wong, Vicky Calvo, Antxon Corta
Felix and Antxon at the start of the 2019 Colorado Marathon.

One thing that surprised Antxon and Vicky were all the people in Fort Collins who spoke their language. “All your friends speak Spanish!” they said (in Castellano) towards the end of their trip, being fully aware of the stereotype that Americans only speak English. Kudos to all my amigos norteamericanos who dispelled the following joke:

Q: What do you call someone who speaks three or more languages?
A: Multilingual.
Q: What do you call someone who speaks two languages?
A: Bilingual.
Q: What do you call someone who speaks only one language?
A: American!

Antxon and Vicky also mentioned how this was a much different experience than their previous visits to the U.S. During this trip, they got to converse with so many Americans and learn about their lives and culture, as opposed to merely trying to buy food or merchandise in broken English.

Of course, their visit was equally delightful and beneficial for me, as it provided over 50 hours of Spanish practice without having to step outside my home state. It is also fun to get to show foreigners your hometown! I can’t wait to see my two friends from San Sebastián again; perhaps next time in Basque Country.

FCRC members Carl Patterson-Markpwitz, Felix Wong, and Antxon Corta after finishing the 2019 Colorado Marathon. [Race report]

Sunday, April 30: FCRC Member Breakfast

April 30th is our annual member breakfast and launch of our second session of Running U, Zero to 5K program. Meet at Knights of Columbus Hall, 121 N Meldrum Street at 8 AM. We’ll have a run planned and a pancake breakfast to follow. Hope to see you there!

In our second session of Running U, we take runners looking to run their first 5K or just getting back into running and get them race day ready. Our 10-week training plan gradually increases running time and gets runners ready for the Firekracker 5K on July 4th.

  • Mentor lead group runs each week.
  • Informational talks to answer all of your running questions.
  • Beginner & Intermediate training plans.
  • $5 FCRC Buffs

Our intermediate training plan if for anyone already running, but looking to improve their 5k time, plus you get all the benefits of Running U! So even if you’re signed up for Running U’s HTH session, you’ll need to re-register.

Reminder: 2017 Horsetooth Half RunningU Training Program Begins Jan 15


The 2017 Horsetooth Half RunningU Training Program will officially kick off January 15 with a run from the New Belgium Brewery, followed by drink specials and a training presentation from Colorado In Motion. The Sunday before the official kick-off to the Horsetooth Half training season, we’ll be gathering for a ‘soft launch’ at Edora Park for the Fort Collins Running Club’s Tortoise and Hare 8k race.

The 2017 Horsetooth Half RunningU Training Program will officially kick off January 15 with a run from the New Belgium Brewery, followed by drink specials and a training presentation from Colorado In Motion. The Sunday before the official kick-off to the Horsetooth Half training season, we’ll be gathering for a ‘soft launch’ at Edora Park for the Fort Collins Running Club’s Tortoise and Hare 8k race.

Details for the free 14-week training program have been updated on the race website, and like last year there are two programs to choose from. The Beginner Program is designed for participants new to running or new to the half marathon distance. The Intermediate Program is designed for runners with a couple of half marathon finishes under their belts and who are looking to improve their times.

The Fort Collins Running Club’s RunningU training group is offered free to members and includes:

  • A 14-week training program, gradually increasing weekly mileage.
  • Group long runs every Sunday, which alternates between New Belgium (flat) and the race start by Hughes Stadium (hills).
  • Post-run informational sessions at New Belgium Brewery from Colorado in Motion, previous race winners and other race partners.
  • Sponsor giveaways.
  • Peer/mentor support and motivation through a closed Facebook group and email list.

Details for the two programs and the weekend long run and presentation schedules can be accessed from the Horsetooth Half Training Page.

All weekend runs are free and open to anyone, but we encourage you to register for the program if you’d like to be included in the peer mentoring benefits, midweek group run opportunities or just want to get to know your half marathoners in training better. (Update January 15, 2017: Registration is now closed.)

The FCRC in the Chicago Marathon

The Fort Collins Running Club had a few members running last weekend in the Chicago Marathon, including Celeste O’Connor, Joel Philliber, Scott Slusher, and Wendy Sloane. All four of them are long-time marathon enthusiasts who live in Fort Collins.

But did you know that the FCRC was also represented in this race by someone who has never lived in Northern Colorado or even the United States? It’s true!

About a month ago, the FCRC received a message from a 37-year-old runner living in the metropolitan area of San Sebastian, Spain. His name is Antxon Corta. He used to run different distances but the last few years has focused on the marathon. He had already run New York and Boston and this year was running the Chicago Marathon.

He wrote,

I have seen your website and I loved your club, especially the spirit. Here, in Spain clubs are very competitive.

I would like to know if it is possible to be a member of your club despite the distance? It will be an honor for me.

And maybe someday I will run the Horsetooth Half Marathon!

He went on to explain that he hoped to visit Colorado some day—hopefully soon. Apparently, seeing the Rocky Mountains was a dream of his since he was young. He hopes to realize that dream one day and also run a race there.

He also wanted to know if he could buy a FCRC shirt from the FCRC Store that he could wear during the race. Of course our club would be very honored for him to do so. I then told him that if he were to do this, I would personally buy him membership into the club!

A few more emails in Spanish and English later, and he had placed an order for a stylish FCRC shirt and jacket that Sport About—our local source of FCRC gear—would ship to his hotel in Chicago.

Then on Sunday, he ran the race. Here is a photo:

Spanish FCRC member Antxon Corta running in the 2016 Chicago Marathon.
Spanish FCRC member Antxon Corta running in the 2016 Chicago Marathon.

After the race, Antxon excitedly reported that he had finished. “The race did not go as well as hoped,” he wrote in Spanish, “since I had stomach problems and at the end had suffered a lot. My time: 3:55:07. But I am very happy to have finished it!

“During the race, I received many shouts of Let’s go Fort Collins!!! Very exciting!”

Antxon Corta after finishing the 2016 Chicago Marathon.
Antxon Corta after finishing the 2016 Chicago Marathon.

So that is the story of a Spaniard representing the Fort Collins Running Club. And yes, he is a bona fide member of the FCRC now as I have just made a PayPal payment for his membership.

Congrats to the other FCRC runners in the Chicago Marathon as well. Hope they had as much fun too!

Postscript

Antxon is still in Chicago, but is leaving to return to Spain tomorrow. He wanted to give the club his regards! (I’m including his original message in case I translated it incorrectly. He actually speaks remarkably good English.)

I would like to give my regards from here [Chicago] to all the members of the club; for me it is a great honor to be a part of your club and to be able to wear your jersey through the streets of Chicago. It has been a great experience and I am eager to wear it through the streets of Spain! Thanks especially to Felix Wong for all the help, without you this would not have been possible! Let’s go FCRC!!!

Me gustaria saludar desde aqui a todos los miembros del club, para mi es un honor pertenecer a su club y poder haber llevado su camiseta por las calles de Chicago. Ha sido una gran experiencia y estoy con muchas ganas de poder llevarla por las calles de España! Gracias en especial a Felix Wong por toda la ayuda prestada, sin ti esto no hubiera sido posible!! Lets go FCRC!!!

Sunday’s T&H Race: Register before noon on Saturday!

rolland_moore4k_1014-004Sunday, October 9, 2016 is the first Tortoise & Hare race of the 2016-17 season. It is the Rolland Moore Park 4K (2.5 Miles) and this year we have a revised course that avoids running on the sidewalk by Shields. The start area is also further back (west) in Rolland Moore Park, close to the volleyball sand pits and tennis courts.

For this T&H race—the first of the season, and the shortest and traditionally the largest—we are asking everyone to register ahead of time. Even if you’re still deciding, register online before Saturday at noon! It’s better to register and not show up than to register on race day. We have a very limited capacity to take race day registrations and will have a strict 7:30 AM cut off.

Follow these quick and easy steps to register

  1. Obtain your Wave Number: look it up here. If you are a new T&H runner or haven’t run a T&H in the last couple of years: First enter a predicted time based on a recent run or race here. Then obtain your wave number, here.
  2. Register here!

What to Know on Race Day

  • Show up 30 minutes before your start time and get your number at the check-in table. Waves will stretch from 7:53 AM- 8:26 AM for this race, so plan accordingly.
  • Listen to the wave number announcements and line up when your wave is announced (4-5 waves in advance).
  • Please do not crowd around the start corral until your wave is called. Crowd noise, excited dogs, and stroller occupants can make it difficult for our wave organizers.
  • Sorry, No dogs for this race due to the crowded trails.
  • “ON YOUR LEFT!” Make it known that you are passing from behind.
  • After you finish, stay in order inside the chute.
  • Tear off your finish tag from your number, and hand it to the volunteer at the end of the chute.

See you on Sunday!