Disabled runners go Beyond Limits
Participants eagerly training for the Bolder Boulder

By Eric Schmidt, Camera Staff Writer
May 28, 2006

After 10 weeks of training for the Bolder Boulder, the Beyond Limits team is pumped up for the race.

The team of about 25 runners with physical and developmental disabilities took its final practice laps Thursday at the Boulder Valley Ranch trailhead. The goal, organizers said, is for every runner to finish Monday’s race and inspire others with disabilities to do things they never thought they could.

“I’m ready,” Kam Burns said before hitting the trail with a buddy. “I feel good.”

The 4-year-old program pairs runners — who range in age from 16 to 43 — with mentors for training and encouragement. The group has been running twice a week at Boulder Valley Ranch and the East Boulder Recreation Center since March.

Beyond Limits pools efforts from several local organizations and enjoys a $10,000 sponsorship from Nike for running gear. Boulder Running Company manager Henry Guzman and Sherri Brown, of the Boulder Parks and Recreation Department’s Expand program, are among the organizers.

Guzman said it’s amazing to watch the runners come into their own leading up to the race. He said one participant enjoyed the sport so much she’s now on Longmont High School’s cross country team.

“This is bar-none the best group — the most cohesive group — of athletes we’ve ever had,” Guzman said of this year’s team.

Scott Armstrong, president of the Boulder Coaching Academy, said his first year as a volunteer with the program has been productive physically and satisfying personally.

An author and life coach, Armstrong wrote the book “Boston Marathon or Bust: How to Achieve Your Dreams,” which uses completion of that race as a metaphor for personal success. He is donating 25 percent of proceeds from the book to the Special Olympics.

“It’s really been rewarding,” said Armstrong, who has been running the Bolder Boulder for more than 10 years. “It’s great to get out with the kids and have a good time. They just get so excited to be out here running.”

Lizzy Creech, 25, said it’s fun to be part of the team.

“I like the exercise and the friends,” she said.

Louisville resident Carol Creech, Lizzy’s mother, said the runners have shown commitment, training in rain and snow for an opportunity they would never have had otherwise.

“It’s wonderful to see the glow these athletes project with the success they’ve had over the last four years,” she said.

Kathy Leszcynski, of Lafayette, said she’s been running the Bolder Boulder “forever” but has never been more satisfied than when her 26-year-old son, Jason, shaved his time by 22 minutes when running the race for a second year.

“My dream had always been to do it with Jason, and now that’s happening,” she said.