Bernie blazes his way to Banzai Trail 5K win |

Bernie blazes his way to Banzai Trail 5K win

Mike Vidakovich
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post Independent

WEST GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Josh Hejtmanek has mixed emotions when he lines up at the start of a race and sees rival Bernie Boettcher standing at his side. A battle with Boettcher often means that Hejtmanek will be relegated to runner-up status, but the competition also pushes him to try and run to his physical limits.

“I was the bridesmaid today,” Hejtmanek said. “It happens when Bernie is here. I like running against him, though. He pushes me to my best races.”

Such were Hejtmanek’s thoughts after Saturday’s third annual Banzai Trail 5K in West Glenwood.

Hejtmanek’s time of 18 minutes, 39 seconds was second-best to Boettcher’s winning time of 18:08 on the hilly, Storm King Mountain trail.

Boettcher, nursing a groin injury that left his race-day status as questionable up until the morning of, was just glad to be out running against his old nemesis on a chilly, October morning.

“As usual, Josh had me worried,” said Boettcher. “I’ve been nursing an injury, but I knew I had to run hard today.”

Glenwood’s Lou Brenner was a distant third in the men’s division of the race with a time of 21:53.

The women’s race was a test between two local thoroughbreds as Cynthia Arnold raced to the victory with a time of 19:15, besting Glenwood Springs Middle School teacher Katie Bagley, who came to the finish line at 19:52.

Arnold, who was coming off an injury sustained in a May road marathon, was happy to be competing again.

“I liked the course today,” she said. “It was scenic. After the injury, I’m just starting to get back into things.”

New Castle’s Eileen Wysocki was third in the women’s division, running a time of 25:03. Glenwood’s Sage O’Neil came in fourth at 26:42.

A field of 47 runners and walkers participated in this year’s Banzai Trail 5K, with all the proceeds going to the Rifle Animal Shelter and the Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation in Silt.

Though winter is just around the bend, local runners still have a few area races to stay sharp for.

This Thursday, Oct.14, the Rifle High School cross country team will be holding a fundraiser 5K at Deerfield Park in Rifle, and Glenwood’s best, and most festive, race – the 24th annual Turkey Day 5K – will be held once again on Thanksgiving Day.

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