A day of running and remembering Paul Driskill
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – It was way back in the summer of 1972 that Glenwood Springs Elementary School teachers Darrell Stanley and Paul Driskill decided to start running.
Both men had recently lost their fathers to heart disease, so in order to avoid the same fate, a daily regimen of running laps around the school softball field was begun.
Running turned into a passion for both men, especially Driskill, who rarely missed a day of logging miles on the roads – or a local race – and became widely known as a running icon throughout the Roaring Fork Valley before passing away last Christmas Eve.
Fittingly, Saturday’s Paul Driskill Memorial 5K Run took place at Glenwood Elementary, where Driskill taught for 30 years, and his old pal Darrell Stanley was there to run and honor the memory of his former running partner and friend.
“Today brought back a lot of memories of Paul,” Stanley said. “I think about him at the start of most every race.”
No doubt Driskill would have smiled at the gathering of many familiar running faces who have been the poster children at area races during the last three decades. Bob Willey, Jim Richmond, Ron Lund, Steve Vanderhoof and Stanley had all been with Driskill at hundreds of starting lines, and were at this one too, knowing he was there in spirit.
“I never got to talk with Paul much, but I always saw him at every race. He always supported the races I put on in Carbondale and Basalt,” Lund said.
Driskill never was fond of hilly race courses, so Saturday’s mostly flat layout that ran the length of the Roaring Fork River, along the bike path from Glenwood Elementary out to the 23rd Street intersection and back, would have suited him well.
Former Glenwood Springs High School runner Kellen Fockler set a solid pace from the get-go and managed to hold off New Castle’s Josh Hejtmanek by a scant four seconds to claim the race victory in 17 minutes, 20 seconds. Hejtmanek’s runner-up time was 17:24.
Fockler now runs track and cross country at Metro State College in Denver. Third place just happened to go to Fockler’s old cross country coach at Glenwood High, Mike Schneiter, who had a finishing time of 18:10.
Lauren Arnold of Glenwood Springs was the women’s division winner. She took fourth place overall with a time of 18:15.
Basalt High alum Chiara Del Piccolo chased Arnold to the tune of an 18:39 clocking, and Abbey Walters of Glenwood was the third lady with a time of 20:34.
Forty-seven runners and walkers took part in Saturday’s memorial run. Race director Rebecca Fuller said it will become an annual event on the running calendar.
“We’re going to continue to do it,” said Fuller, who is one of Driskill’s four grandchildren. “I was excited to see all the people come out for Paul.”
Driskill’s wife of more than 50 years, Jeannie, was there to see old friends and greet people as they crossed the finish line. She was happy to see everyone run in honor of her husband, but it was an unfamiliar feeling being at a race and knowing that someone very special was missing.
Said Jeannie: “I keep waiting for Paul to come across the finish line.”
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