A run on the Banzai Trail | PostIndependent.com

A run on the Banzai Trail

Mike Vidakovich
Mike Vidakovich
Staff Photo |

Each year about this time, I make several hikes up Storm King Mountain to start working on the route for the annual Banzai Trail 5k Run/Walk. This fall will mark the eighth year that several good friends and volunteers have helped me put on the race and raise money to donate to local animal shelters.

Helping animals has been a passion of mine since I was a boy. Giving any assistance possible to the wonderful people who work in shelters and help the homeless creatures to find a better life is something that has become a labor of love for all the volunteers who give their time to be a part of this unique run.

This year, the Banzai Trail 5k will take place at 10 a.m. Halloween morning, Oct. 31. The cost of the run/walk is $15, and the shelters that will benefit from your participation are: Colorado Animal Rescue, Rifle Animal Shelter, Valley Dog Rescue in Carbondale, Lucky Day Animal Rescue in Aspen, and the Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation in Silt. Obviously, the more people who attend, the more money we have to give out to these organizations.

One of the runners who has become a regular at the race each year, describes the Banzai Trail as a spiritual path. I would agree. Every time I venture up on the trail I end up sitting, looking, thinking and taking in all of the beautiful vistas from several different spots on the mountain. I get very little trail maintenance done since I’m constantly stopping and gawking around, but that’s OK.

The run would never be possible without the generosity of Craig Amichaux, owner of Ami’s Acres Campground, who lets all of us running yahoos cross his private land that makes up about half of the race course. Craig keeps the trail in great shape leading up to race morning, so everyone has a fun and safe crossing. Amichaux and his wife Suzy have been known to dress up the trail as well with spooky decorations to keep runners entertained while they are gasping for oxygen on the hills. Also, Pastor Aaron Masimer and the good folks at the Sonlight Foursquare Church who allow runners to go through the center of their church parking lot when we come down from high up on the mountain. Thank you both!

Come on out and join us on Halloween morning, if you’re not too busy working on your trick or treat costume. Put on your running shoes and get some exercise before devouring all of that candy that your kids will collect. The breathtaking scenery of the race is a constant, but I make no promises on the weather. Whenever you are thinking about participating in any outdoor undertaking, you should keep the immortal words of President Thomas Jefferson in mind: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only timid souls.”

See you on Halloween. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. at the start/finish line on Donegan Road, just a block west of the Two Rivers Community School in West Glenwood. Call 970-945-0979 for race info.

Grizzlies and Eagles, Oh My!

New this year on Sunday, Oct. 11, will be the Fur and Feathers 5k Family Fun Run. The race, which starts at Sopris Elementary (Eagles), and ends at Glenwood Springs Elementary School (Grizzlies), will benefit the parent/teacher associations at both schools.

The cost of the race is $30 for an adult entry and $15 for kids. There is also a $70 family rate for four people. Registration for this event is now open at active.com, or you can sign up in the main offices of Sopris and GSES. The course that runners and walkers will be following is mostly downhill on the bike path along the Roaring Fork River. Awards and refreshments will follow the completion of the race on the GSES playground area.

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