Cherry Creek Sneak 5K/10K will not return after 2022 races

The Cherry Creek Sneak, one of Colorado’s oldest and largest road racing events that used to be a rite of spring for many metro area runners, will not return after this year’s installment.

The 2022 event, which will include 10-mile, 5-mile and 5K races on April 24, will mark the 40th anniversary of its inception. It was canceled the past two years due to the pandemic, and registration numbers for this year have shown a “precipitous” drop in comparison to pre-pandemic numbers, according to race director Pat Downing.

“Registration numbers just aren’t bouncing back,” Downing said. “We were forced to take a two-year hiatus because of COVID, and we just haven’t had enough registrations to be able to continue to conduct the event.”

The Sneak, which began as a 5-mile race intended to help runners train for the Bolder Boulder Memorial Day 10K race, attracted as many as 17,000 runners in its heyday. Since 2008, when the Colfax Marathon began running its races out of City Park, numbers for the Cherry Creek Sneak have declined. The Colfax Marathon also offers a 10-mile option, a half marathon and a marathon relay. Those races will be held this year on May 15, with a 5K scheduled the day before.

Downing said his event attracted around 8,000 in the two years previous to the pandemic but numbers “fell off a cliff” this year.

“We haven’t been able to rekindle the fire and spirit of the event that’s allowed us to be in Cherry Creek for the past 40 years,” said Downing, who has been the race’s director for more than 30 years. “It is a sad time, and you do feel as though a part of you is gone. We’ll certainly pull out all of the stops to make sure the last one is special and that we go up with a cup raised.”

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