Roadrunners kicking off 40th year of racing

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By Mike Cote

Unlike longtime member Stan Kosiewicz, the Atomic City Roadrunners’ running club doesn’t mind keeping count how long it’s been around.
The Atomic City Roadrunners, a local running club, will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. It officially kicks off its 40th season April 2.
The Roadrunners host the Pace Race, which is a weekly 1- or 3-mile race at various spots around Los Alamos County, held during daylight-savings-time hours.
The Pace Races are every Tuesday night and winners aren’t judged by who crosses the finish line first but who can most closely predict their actual finish time.
The club’s president – a title he’s not completely comfortable with even though he’s been the contact person for 10 years – is longtime member Ted Williams. Williams, who is one of the longest-tenured competitors in the club, said he still has a lot of fun even after all this time.
“We have people in their 80s doing this and we have little kids in strollers,” Williams said. “I never tire of it. I never get bored. I’m very enthusiastic about it and I hope to do this for a long time.”
The Roadrunners started their weekly events in 1974. The Pace Race was set for Tuesdays, which happened to be a convenient time for the most number of people.
Although there has been talk throughout the years of switching up the day, at least once in awhile, every single one of the races had been on a Tuesday night.
There are approximately 30 scheduled races during the year and the club tries to switch the venue every week, except for the first and last races, which are designed for the racers to see if their participation has helped their times improve.
The first race of 2013 will be at the Canyon Rim Trail.
That trail was chosen a few years ago as the site of the opener because, Williams said, it is laid out with wooden markers that indicate every quarter of a mile. The big advantage, he said, was that he didn’t have to go measure and mark the course.
Along with the Pace Races, the club has actively supported other running events in town, including the Jerry Bower Memory Run, which this year is set for May 11, and the upcoming Run For Her Life 5K, which is April 14.
Run For Her Life is held to raise funds for breast cancer research. This will be its third year in Los Alamos, with the first two races netting approximately $12,000 and attracting around 200 runnners.
The local chapter of Hadassah hosts the event. Chapter president Carmen Rodriguez said the Roadrunners’ help has been critical to the fundraiser’s success. In 2011, the first year of the run, Hadassah members didn’t know how to coordinate such an event.
“That’s where Ted comes in,” Rodriguez said. “We’d never done a run. We said ‘OK, let’s do it,’ but we’d never done this kind of thing before. He was gracious enough to help us.”
Roadrunners are also involved in helping organize the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs, the longtime event that attracts upwards of 300 runners to the area yearly.
For many of the club’s approximately 60 members, the heart and soul of the Roadrunners’ is their weekly runs.
Among the more popular races are the Quemazon Gutbuster, the Cañada del Buey Run and Kosiewicz’s Annual 39th Birthday Race, where finishers are treated to a slice of Kosiewicz’s birthday cake.
Among the early members of the Roadrunners was ultramarathon runner Aaron Goldman. Goldman was both a top master’s-level runner and very active in helping local charitable causes, such as CROP.
One of the main events for the Roadrunners is the Turkey Trot, held annually a few days before Thanksgiving, which goes to benefit CROP. The Roadrunners present their yearly awards at the Turkey Trot.
Williams said he enjoys being associated with the organization.
“It’s a family-oriented club,” he said. “We want kids getting into exercising and running, if we can.”