Boulder’s district attorney files lawsuit against race director of canceled races.
The saga of marathon running in Boulder, Colo., appears to be taking a turn for the better. While a district attorney’s investigation into the director of the now-defunct Boulder Marathon continues, a new race organization with ties to the local running community has announced it will be launching a new event under the race’s original name.
Henry Guzman, co-owner of the Flatirons Running retail shop, said this week his new race organization, Flatirons Running Events, has filed all necessary paperwork for the 2015 Boulder Backroads Marathon and Half Marathon on Sept. 19 at the Boulder Reservoir. Guzman put on numerous running races in Boulder when he worked at Boulder Running Company, but he left to start Flatirons Running last summer with R.L. Smith and Tricia Vieth.
Boulder Backroads was the original name of the marathon and half marathon when it was launched by the late Lesley Kinder in 1999. Kinder, who sold the races to Jeff Mason in 2007, passed away last spring.
Guzman made it clear that he has no ties to Mason or the Boulder Marathon events. He says the Boulder Backroads trade names filed with the state of Colorado expired in November so he paid to acquire them. He also took over the original race URL and plans to launch a new website and open race registration in early January.
“In honor of Lesley Kinder, what we wanted to do was make it so that everyone who entered the races the last two years would get a free entry to the 2015 race,” Guzman says. “We had tried to put something on this fall, but there wasn’t enough time to get it organized. But we had plenty of calls in support of putting on a fall race and it’s now coming together.”
According to an article in the Boulder Daily Camera, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office filed a civil lawsuit seeking to force Mason to refund nearly $200,000 in entry fees from his canceled races in 2013 and 2014—and also prevent him from holding similar events in the future. According to the 10-page complaint, District Attorney Stan Garnett is also suing both Mason and the Boulder Marathon LLC—which Mason owns—for civil penalties for violating the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
Mason put on several spring and fall races under the Boulder Marathon name but canceled the fall races in 2013 and 2014. The September 2013 races were canceled because of catastrophic flooding in the area, but the 2014 cancelations were somewhat ambiguously attributed to the previous year’s floods and the death of a runner in the spring 2014 races. Garnett opened an investigation shortly thereafter.
Guzman was one of a couple of local race directors who tried unsuccessfully to organize a race for displaced runners, but there wasn’t enough time to get city permits. Several local races, including the Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon and Half Marathon offered free entries to displaced entrants and an impromptu group run was held on the course of the canceled races on the original race date of Oct 5.
Guzman says the new Boulder Backroads event will include a 10K, half marathon, marathon and marathon relay on a 13.1-mile dirt-road loop based at Boulder Reservoir. He says Hoka One One will be the presenting sponsor and there will be at least a $1,000 prize purse in the marathon.
Guzman says Flatirons Running Events will also launch the new Run Happy Half and 10K on a different course at Boulder Reservoir in early May and will revamp the city’s original Downtown Running Series with the Flatirons 10K at the end of June, West End 5K in July and Pearl Street Mile in August.