Fields of Strawberries
Post Independent Sports Editor
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Numbers are going up.
The numbers were at a modest 120 around the middle of the week. By Thursday, they were close to 300.
Those numbers were will accompany the large number of entrants which were at the Bank of Colorado on 9th Street in Glenwood Springs and the entrants which will show up online. They’ll also accompany whoever shows up during daylight hours at Centennial Park to register.
The Strawberry Shortcut has drawn some large numbers in years past, along with some elite athletes. In 1990, the Shortcut drew 785 runners in just the 5K version of the race, with 1,325 total between the 10K and 5K.
Sunday’s running of the race — its 36th running — isn’t on pace to hit that number. Typically, co-race director Joy White said, registrations are up around 700 by race time.
And there’s plenty of word out about the race, though, as there’s even a Facebook page dedicated to the event.
The 10K race begins at 7 a.m. Sunday at Centennial Park in Glenwood Springs, with the 5K race starting at 8:15 a.m. The 1-mile fun run begins at 9:30 a.m. The race serves as a benefit for Special Olympics Colorado.
Race registration is available at http://www.strawberryshortcut.com, and in-person registration will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Centennial Park in Glenwood Springs.
Obviously, there’s prize money involved for the winners, who have been everyone from elite, Olympic-caliber athletes to people who have walked in off the street to run the race.
That event — a random, out-of-the-blue winner — happened not too long ago.
Race director Kevin White remembered a guy who walked by a registration table in 2010 and commented “Oh, you have a race going on?”
So he entered. And won.
Justin Mount, who White described as very nonchalant, crossed the finish line of the 10K well before anyone.
“We have an open invitation for him to come back,” White said with a laugh.
There’s obviously other longtime runners — Charlie Wertheim, Bernie Boettcher and Bob Willey, for example — who will make their annual appearance in the race. There’s some extra incentive for people coming out this year, however.
This year’s race will feature chip timing for he first time. It’s especially beneficial to runners who end up stuck in the back of the pack prior to the beginning of the race.
Runners are given a timing chip, and timing mats will be located at the beginning and end of both the 10K and 5K. A runner’s time begins when they step on the timing mat at the finish line and ends when the runner steps on the mat at the finish line.
Larger races, such as the Boston Marathon, have checkpoints for chip timing.
This is the third year the current race course for both the 5K and 10K will be used. Both courses go over the Grand Avenue Bridge, around the Hotel Colorado, to and through Two Rivers Park and along the Rio Grande Bike Path along the Roaring Fork River. But while the 5K race cuts toward the finish line on Colorado Avenue near Stubler Memorial Field, the 10K extends to 33rd Street before heading toward the finish line at the corner of 9th Street and Colorado Avenue.
And the way White explains it, there’s likely to be a lot of traffic along that race course.
“Compared to what we did last year, we’re ahead of the pace,” White said.
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