Record field turns out for 11th Sequoia Glen 5K in Glenwood Springs
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“My burro and I, and a little dog, are walking on and on, until, sooner or later, we have climbed every mountain and reached the end of the horizon.”
– Everett Ruess, 1931
WEST GLENWOOD, Colorado – In sports, there are no natural athletic gifts that cannot be improved and shaped by the power of discipline.
Running a mile and a half up a steep hill, for instance, takes courage, commitment and the heart of a tiger.
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Even the breathless foot soldiers of the lowest rank at the back of the pack must call on exhausted mental and physical reserves in order to summit a tough uphill climb.
Ascending is running’s version of grunt work. Coming back down the hill is a race to the dessert line.
At Saturday’s 11th annual running of the Sequoia Glen 5K in West Glenwood, 24-year-old Ryan Kent of Yorktown, Va., proved the hills on Mitchell Creek Road to be no match for his climbing skills by cruising across the finish line first in a course record time of 20 minutes, 26 seconds.
Kent is one of those elite athletes who you could cut open and fully expect to find a V-8 engine instead of a human heart.
“My strategy was to run the first mile as hard as I could and then just suffer to the top,” Kent said of his record setting run. “I’ve been running hills each day to prepare for this.”
Glenwood’s Brian Passenti took second-place honors with a time of 21:57 and was happy with his improvement over last year’s race.
“I was too far back to even have hope of catching him [Kent], but I ran three minutes faster than I did last year,” said Passenti, who was second at the 2009 Sequoia Glen also.
The course record took a tumble in the women’s race also as Lauren Arnold of Glenwood ran a time of 22:10 to claim the ladies title and place third overall. Arnold said the course reminded her of being back home in Kentucky.
“I really like this road because, if you don’t look up at all of the hills, you feel like you’re in Kentucky,” said Arnold, referring to the fence-lined, rolling fields that are populated with horses on the Bowles family ranch.
Kelley Cullen, the 2007 champion, ran her usual strong race to claim second among the women with a time of 23:08. The third-place female was Candy Underhill of Glenwood in a time of 25:54.
Following the race, Glenwood’s Karla Richards, a longtime valley running enthusiast, was voted to receive the Paul Driskill Courage and Commitment to Running award for 2010.
Sequoia Glen also set a new record in terms of numbers, as 56 runners and walkers turned out on a sunny but chilly spring afternoon.
All proceeds from the race will be sent to the Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation in Silt to help with caring for injured and orphaned wildlife.
Next up on the local running calendar is the Grand River Gallop 5K in Rifle on April 10.
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