Every May, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo puts on the Run to the Shrine race as a fundraising event for the Zoo. Participants range from highly competitive runners minutes ahead of the pack, to families with strollers minutes behind. That’s the fun and excitement of the morning, which leaves no good excuse NOT to participate! So, plan on kicking off the summer run/walk race season with entry into Run to the Shrine. Start your weekend with some exercise, comeradarie, views, and an after-party, all while supporting the continued “running” of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo!
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Race Registration and Parking:
For all the updated details regarding registering for Run to the Shrine, you’ll want to go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Run to the Shrine page. From personal experience, let me suggest a couple of tips. Even if you have pre-registered, do yourself a favor and plan to arrive at the zoo’s parking lot before 7:30 a.m. This will give you enough time to find a parking spot within the lot and calmly pick up your race packet. The starting line is close to the parking lot, so you can easily go back to your car to drop off your packet and/or warm up (a May morning can be chilly at 6,800 feet). Once the Zoo’s lot is full, you’ll have to drive back down to The Broadmoor employee parking lot – just don’t do that to yourself.
Registration and packet pick-up happens from 7:30 – 8:15 a.m. The race DOES begin promptly at 8:30 a.m., as the Zoo’s site indicates. Take this seriously, as there was still a loooong line in front of the port-a-potties moments before the race started.
Run to the Shrine 4 Mile Run
And you’re off! Get ready to start huffing and puffing – the first half is up, up, up! You’ll wind through the zoo along with hundreds and hundreds of other participants. Try your best and don’t feel bad about walking. From what I saw, the majority of people did a combo run/walk/run/walk up the hill. Enjoy the beautiful views to your right of The Broadmoor and the surrounding area. The course will take you to the Will Roger’s Shrine of the Sun’s parking lot, but not the Shrine itself. If you would like to visit the Shrine, you’ll be able to drive up after the race when the road reopens at 11 a.m. Your race bib is your ticket.
When you arrive at the Shrine’s parking lot, the hard work is over. Encouraging volunteers behind the water table- not to mention NO MORE HILL- were already making me happy. What a fun surprise, then, to see the Tender Foot Bluegrass Band serenading us with upbeat tunes! I got my second wind and was ready to zip down the mountain. The great thing about beginning a race with a two mile incline is ending it with a two mile sprint! I have never run so fast at the end of course as I did here. Now I know how real runners must feel when they blaze through a finish line (well, it’s fun to imagine).
Run to the Shrine After Party!
Should I be embarrassed that I took more photos of the after race food tables than anything else? I guess that’s telling of how pleased I was to see these sights after completing the run. On The Border handed out chips and salsa. Ole! Kneaders Bakery had generous portions of syrup-soaked french toast waiting for us in rows. I may or may not have grabbed more than one of those…
And inside the Lodge, there was more food waiting – bananas, samples of frozen fruit bars, dessert breads and more.
The after race celebration winds down at 11 a.m. If you choose to, you can continue hanging out at the zoo for the day. I had to take off to Saturday morning kids’ YMCA soccer games, but if my family had been with me, we’d probably have made it a zoo day. All in all, I’m glad I tried out the Run to the Shrine Race – it truly is a one-of-a-kind event to support Cheyenne Mountain Zoo!