‘Brother’ and ‘The Guru’ to be honored at Sunday’s Shortcut
The Strawberry Shortcut, which is all but ready to be run this Sunday, will have a special beginning. This year, two longtime participants in the race will be recognized by Shortcut organizers.Bob “Brother” Willey, who has run in every strawberry Shortcut since 1980, and Paul “The Guru” Driskill, who has run in 25 Shortcut races, will be honored at this year’s Shortcut for their decades of participation and sportsmanship.”For a while, the Shortcut was about Bob Willey and Paul Driskill, and I think now is a great time to recognize them,” said race organizer Jim Yellico.
“Bob Willey is everything about the Shortcut,” said Yellico, who has been in charge of the race for the past eight years. “He’s always running with a smile on his face, and I think that’s what the Shortcut is all about.”Driskill, on the other hand, embodies “the competitive spirit of the race,” Yellico said. “He runs to win.””I’m glad they’re going to have a ceremony for those guys,” said Mike Vidakovich, a Glenwood Springs native and longtime friend of both Willey and Driskill. Vidakovich, 45, is also an accomplished runner in his own right, having run the Shortcut 15 times.
Willey, 58, said he considers the tribute “quite an honor,” but said he considers his health to be reward enough.”I appreciate the recognition, but I’m more appreciative of being in good enough shape to run the race,” Willey said.”If I could still be running at 80, I’d feel very blessed,” Willey said.Driskill’s reaction was amazement, “because I haven’t run (the Shortcut) the past couple of years.”
Though he’d been an avid runner in his younger days (often running up to 15 miles a day before he contracted pneumonia three years ago), Driskill, 68, still pounds out about six miles each morning.”For a long while, he was running a half a marathon every day after school,” said Vidakovich, who was one of Driskill’s many students at Glenwood Springs Elementary School, where Driskill taught fourth and sixth grade until 1997.Yellico said that before the races begin (both the 5K and the 10K), the announcers will recognize the pair. After the races are over, both runners will be recognized again and then presented with matching plaques commemorating their achievements. Willey and Driskill will also each receive a basket of gifts, including new running shoes.
And if anyone wants to add anything, Yellico said they’re welcome to. “We’re going to provide an opportunity for their longtime running friends to speak,” said Yellico.To register for the Shortcut or for additional information about the race, call 945-7760 or visit http://www.strawberryshortcutrace.com. Registration forms are available online or at the Bank of Colorado. The entry fee is $20 for either the 5K or the 10K, or $25 for both.
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