25 years and still running strong | PostIndependent.com

25 years and still running strong

Mike Vidakovich
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Mike Vidakovich

WEST GLENWOOD, Colorado – One final time – at its current location – the Thanksgiving Day sun greeted runners and walkers at the Glenwood Springs Golf Club for the 25th running of the Turkey Day 5K.

They came, 467 people strong, to be a part of the race that is a holiday reunion of friends, a human be-in of sorts, cloaked in the disguise of a competitive foot race.

Glenwood resident Jack Green, who has never missed the starting gun since the race’s inception in 1986, says the event has a cultural identity all its own, and will forever hold a special place in his heart.

“This race has always had a nice feel to it. It’s a day full of laughter, food, joy, neighbors and the love of life,” said Green.

The same sentiments ring true of former Glenwood Post sports writer Kent Mincer, who annually makes the trek from his new home in Grand Junction for the festive day.

“This is the first race I ever ran in,” said Mincer. “It’s the only race where I can come back and see old friends from the community and so many familiar faces.”

With many longtime residents wanting to reflect on the memories of Turkey Days past, it was almost an afterthought that a quality running field blazed the green fairways of the Glenwood Springs Golf Club on a comfortable late-fall morning.

Rickey Gates beat everyone to the finish line with his time of 15 minutes, 42 seconds. Gates was pushed through the majority of the race by runner-up Robby Young who finished in 15:52. Also in the hunt for top honors of the day was Basalt’s Casey Weaver who recorded a time of 16:10.

The women’s race was a battle between two of the very best runners the Roaring Fork Valley has to offer.

Carbondale’s Ashley Arnold ran an 18:05, just missing the course record, to top Basalt’s Megan Lund-Lizotte who came to the tape with a time of 18:30. The second-place spot shouldn’t be too disappointing for Lizotte, since she has several past Turkey Day crowns on her resume.

At day’s end, Jim Richmond, who co-directs the race along with Karen Greenwood, reflected on the magical 25-year run of the Turkey Day 5K.

“As the race grew through the years, we always tried to keep things simple and family oriented. Our motto was to make the race shine without being too bright,” said Richmond.

Runners: Don’t forget the area’s last race of the year which is coming up in Carbondale on Sunday, Dec. 18. The Jingle Bell 5K will be held at Independence Run and Hike, with a start time of 11 a.m.

Editor’s note: Team Sopris, along with the Glenwood Springs High School boys and girls swimming programs, will be taking over the race next year. It will continue, just in a different location.

– Mike Vidakovich is a freelance writer for the Post Independent.

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