Bringing warmth to a cold December day |

Bringing warmth to a cold December day

Mike Schneiter
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Mike Schneiter Contributed photoRacers line up for the start of Saturday's Miles for the Marrs 5K race across from Glenwood Springs High School.

Local running community comes together for race in support of the Marr Family

Jordan Chavez rounded the corner 30 meters from the finish and quickly went horizontal, losing his footing and going for a tumble on the icy corner.

Fortunately for him, the Miles for the Marrs race had few turns and he easily outpaced a star-studded field of runners.

In addition to a strong community showing, it was a veritable who’s who list of Glenwood running stars, past and present, that showed up for the Saturday 5K to benefit the Marr family.

Chavez, a freshman at the University of Richmond and grandson of legendary Glenwood coach Bob Chavez, found sure enough footing to outpace a number of former Glenwood running standouts, including second-place finisher Marco Salmen. Glenwood Springs High School junior Wyatt Till trailed close behind, legs bare below his shorts, for third place.

The women’s field was bested by Sarah Treese, a Glenwood graduate who now runs for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Diana Banks, a Glenwood senior, followed in second, while Glenwood High teacher Brit Deford came in third.

Performance was a secondary goal for the majority of runners who showed up on a sunny, cold morning. The primary goal was to offer support for the Marr family, who have endured through challenges following a November car accident.

Paula Marr, a longtime employee for the school district, was killed in the accident while Vinny, a senior at Glenwood and an accomplished runner, was seriously injured.

Paula’s husband, Scott, a teacher at Glenwood Elementary and an accomplished athlete, was there on Saturday and ran an impressive 20 minutes, 50 seconds for seventh place. Even more remarkable was the presence of Vinny, who, clad in a neck brace, deftly maneuvered around the event on a single crutch.

Following a moment of silence at the start line, more than 100 runners and walkers headed north on the bike path on a course that took them around Two Rivers Park and back. Runners tacked on a short segment south of the high school before finishing.

The Miles for the Marrs race was a way for the community to show its love and support for the Marr family, but it was also a larger celebration of the tight-knit running community in the area.

Bernie Boettcher, just a few months removed from a serious motorcycle accident, ran an impressive sub-20-minute race to finish fifth. Boettcher was only able to start running a couple weeks ago, and many in the crowd who knew of his injuries were amazed to see him there at all.

Many familiar faces from the local running scene were on hand and it was a reunion of sorts for the many Glenwood High graduates who congregated in the school cafeteria below the track records board that bears many of their names.

At the race’s conclusion, instead of ribbons or awards, the race organizers thanked everyone gathered for the heartfelt support of the community and the many people who helped organize the event. City Market helped provide food and drink, which warmed tummies and cold hands.

The event made a cold December day feel warm and was a reminder of the importance of friends, family and community.

– Mike Schneiter is a Glenwood Springs High School teacher and coach, owner of Glenwood Climbing Guides and is a Brooks Inspire Daily athlete.

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