‘Mission accomplished’ on the fun, fitness and friendship front with return of the Glenwood Springs Turkey Trot

Mike Vidakovich
Special to the Post Independent
Runners get pumped up before taking on the Glenwood Springs Turkey Trot 5K on Thursday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

A few weeks before Thanksgiving Day in the fall of 1986, a couple of young, local runners decided they would like to get in one more running race before the doldrums of winter set in. With no options to be found in the immediate area, they came up with the idea to author their own event, with the Glenwood Golf Course serving as a true cross country style venue.

Word spread among Glenwood running diehards that there would be a 5-kilometer shindig up on “The Hill” Thanksgiving morning. The entry fee was set at a modest $5 and plenty of post-race refreshments would be on hand for all to give thanks.

The Turkey Day 5K was born.

It’s been well-documented that 17 runners showed up in ’86, with Glenwood running legend Bob Willey claiming the overall race win and Linda Young sitting at the top of the women’s field. Despite some fairly blustery days and the occasional bitter cold, what started on a whim, grew to a consistent gathering of over 500 participants, making it one of the largest races on the Western Slope at the time.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2022. The race has a new name (Turkey Trot 5K), location (Glenwood Community Center), and a new race director in Tiffany Lindenberg. This year 295 holiday revelers dressed in colorful attire, showed up to run a new course on the Rio Grande Trail, with a couple of circuits around Two Rivers Park thrown in, before heading back to the finish at the Community Center.

Lindenberg, who is a fitness instructor at the center, decided to rekindle the dormant race after a two-year absence due to the pandemic. Her main motivation for the restart was to put Glenwood back on the Thanksgiving Day race map and to get people together again during the holidays after so much forced isolation the last couple of years.

“I would say mission accomplished as far as bringing the community together,” said Lindenberg. “What a nice morning weather-wise and we had many compliments on the new course.”

A Glenwood Springs Turkey Trot participant jogs beside the Colorado River on Thursday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

A 60-year-old running warrior who has been at the front of local races for several decades now, showed up and proved that he still has what it takes to lead all comers to the finish line. Silt’s Bernie Boettcher, fighting off Father Time admirably, claimed the overall race win with a clocking of 16 minutes, 56 seconds on the course that was a bit shy of the intended 3.1-mile distance.

Boettcher was fresh off a September win at the grueling 17-mile Imogene Pass run from Ouray to Telluride, where he set a seniors record by finishing 14th overall and besting the previous record by over 15 minutes.

Second place overall at Thursday’s Turkey Trot was Benjamin Ritter (17:08), with Max Grebencuk (18:01) rounding out the top three.

A Glenwood Springs Turkey Trot participant raises his hands in the air while running Thanksgiving morning Thursday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Former Glenwood Springs High graduate Emily Worline, in her senior season running for Westminster College in Salt Lake City, put in a blistering time of 18:28 to capture the women’s title and finish fourth overall. Glenwood High teacher Anne Swanson was the runner-up in 20:23, with Pam Moore taking third at 21:49.

Everyone was treated to gobs of pumpkin pie at the end as well as good conversation with old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a long while.  All proceeds from Thursday’s Turkey Trot will benefit the Sopris Swim Team and the Glenwood High School cross country running program.

Jeff “Bananaman” Colt leads the pack out of the gate at the Carbondale Turkey Trot.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Turkey Trots also took place Thursday in Carbondale and Rifle. The Carbondale Trot saw 460 runners between the 5K and 1-mile runs. Overall 5K winner Jeff Colt, dressed in a banana costume, traversed the circuit around old town Carbondale in 17 minutes, 12 seconds. The top female was Kara Lapoint in 20:25.

A dog participates in the Glenwood Springs Turkey Trot 5K on Thursday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
A runner receives a card from a person dressed as a turkey during the Glenwood Springs Turkey Trot 5K on Thursday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
A sign aims to humor runners during the Glenwood Springs Turkey Trot 5K on Thursday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
A wizard prepares for the Glenwood Springs Turkey Trot on Thursday morning.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
The Plum family, from left, Meg, Nora, Dave and Murphy (in the jogger) enjoy a sunny Thanksgiving morning in Carbondale for the annual Turkey Trot run.
John Stroud/Post Independent

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