Josh Hejtmanek wins hilly Run/Walk For Their Lives |
Mike Vidakovich
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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Josh Hejtmanek wins hilly Run/Walk For Their Lives

SILT, Colorado – On a hilly course designed to make your legs teeter and wobble, 88 runners and walkers got from point A to point B in Saturday’s Run/Walk For Their Lives 5K in Silt.

The race is a benefit for the Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation in Silt. The animal sanctuary, founded in 1984 and run by Nanci Limbach, serves as a way station for injured and orphaned creatures before they are fit and ready to be released back to their natural habitat.

The proceeds from the race raise much-needed funds for the organization, which relies almost solely on private donors to keep its doors open.

Josh Hejtmanek of New Castle is one of the more dominant runners in the area, and he proved it again on Saturday by outdistancing the field in racing to a time of 17 minutes, 59 seconds.

Hejtmanek, who placed 14th in Denver’s Colfax Marathon on May 20, goes out fast regardless of the terrain and holds a torrid pace to the end. It’s a strategy that is much different than when he is faced with the daunting task of a 26.2-mile marathon.

“In a 5K, you go hard the whole way. With the marathon, you just try to keep a steady pace and hold on,” stated Hejtmanek.

The race champion also opined on the difference between the big, impersonal, Front Range races and the local runs that he rarely misses.

“I enjoy these local races so much. It almost seems like coming out to see family,” Hejtmanek said.

As has been the case in several other spring races, Nick Garay of Silt followed the tracks of Hejtmanek in placing second with a time of 19:31.

Glenwood’s Eric Lamb, who usually finds himself chasing Garay, placed third in 19:53. Two Rifle runners, Eddie Aispuro and Candelario DeLuera, rounded out the men’s top five with times of 20:54 and 21:45.

Berry Hurst of Basalt stayed strong on the hills of Silt Mesa to win the women’s division with a time of 23:09.

Hurst had placed second and third in previous races this year, so she was happy to break the tape first on this go-around.

“It was fun to win today. I saw my son near the finish and asked him if there was anyone ahead of me. He said no,” Hurst recounted.

Up-and-comer Sage O’Neil of Glenwood was behind Hurst at 23:49, and Christina McClard, also of Glenwood, was third for the ladies in 24:06.

The Run/Walk For Their Lives 5K was the fourth stop on the popular Colorado River Valley Charity Race Series. Runners have some time off before number five, the Hogback Hustle 5K, which will take place in New Castle on Saturday, July 14.