Fast times, impressive doubles at Strawberry Shortcut in Glenwood Springs

Mike Vidakovich

Sunday morning’s 40th running of the annual Strawberry Shortcut 5K and 10K races wasn’t just any old day for race director Kevin White.

“Today is my birthday, it’s Father’s Day, and we’re here at the Shortcut,” beamed White, who is in his ninth year heading up Glenwood’s oldest footrace. “It’s a great day all around.”

White, a lifelong athlete, was no stranger to the Shortcut even before taking over the reins of the race from Jim Yellico in 2009.

“I’ve participated in this race since I was a kid, so things have come full circle for me,” said White. “It’s a huge honor to be in charge of this event.”

As has been the case for the majority of the previous 39 Strawberry Shortcut races, the third Sunday in June dawned mild and clear, treating runners to optimal conditions for a good workout, and added this year was the excitement of a new course, with the familiar trek over the Grand Avenue Bridge having made its swan song last year.

One person who most certainly enjoyed the new course, which was run primarily on the Rio Grande Trail with a loop around Two Rivers Park, was Tara Richardson of Gunnison. The former Western State College runner happened to be in the area over the weekend, and she made the most of her visit by claiming the women’s title in the 10K (6.2 miles) and the 5K (3.1 miles) by comfortable margins.

“I just came here for a job interview, and I saw that the race was this weekend, so I thought I would jump in,” said Richardson, who ran the Shortcut for the very first time. Richardson’s time in the 10K was 39 minutes, 7 seconds. Her 5K victory was a 19 minute, 12 second clocking.

Melissa Goodman (40:42), Glenwood Springs High School teacher Anne Swanson (43:05), and Basalt’s Amy Rollins (44:55) rounded out the ladies top finishing places in the 10K.

The overall winner in the 10K was another former college standout, as CU Buffalo cross country runner Kenyon Newman bested the field of 94 participants, claiming the victory with a time of 31:40. Much like Richardson, Newman, who lives in Boulder, was visiting some friends in the valley and noticed there was a race on Sunday.

“I came over to visit some friends in Carbondale and decided to run,” said Newman, who was a member of CU’s 2010 Big 12 championship cross country team. “Nice morning, and I really enjoyed the course.”

Craig Hunt (32:01) and Adam Rich (32:34) also posted impressive times to round out the men’s 10K podium.

The shorter of the two Shortcuts, the 5K, saw familiar faces dot the leader board as Richardson took the women’s crown, and Craig Hunt shook off his bridesmaid label from the 10K, to capture the 5K with a time of 16:11.

The women, in order, who were chasing Richardson to the finish line were: Lana Malcomson (20:41), Glenwood HS senior Erica Diemoz (21:27), Glenwood Middle School seventh-grader Sophia Connerton (21:34), and Amy Rollins (22:06).

In pursuit of Hunt were: former Shortcut champion Adam Rich of Colorado Springs (16:22), Justin Ferguson (17:14), New Castle’s Josh Hejtmanek (18:30), and Glenwood Springs Middle School eighth-grader Reid Swanson (19:11).

The 40th annual Shortcut saw participation from several familiar faces who have made the race a rite of summer. Greg Feinsinger, Gary Hollenbaugh, Darrell Stanley and Clem Kopf were just a small sampling of runners who don’t often miss the journey through Glenwood’s streets on Strawberry Days. Kopf, in fact, was the original race director when things got started back in 1977. He ran the 5K on Sunday morning, and looked pretty spry in doing so.

“I had fun. It’s always fun to be here. I’m just glad I’m here running and not underneath the dirt,” said Kopf, with a big chuckle and an even bigger grin on his face.

With the 40th Shortcut in the books, local runners and walkers can now look forward to the Lion’s Club FireKracker 4K (2.5 miles) on Tuesday, July 4, at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood. Race start time is 8 a.m., with several events to follow in the park.

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