Second annual Strides for Giving 5K race returns to Rifle in honor of late Garfield Re-2 teacher

Runners take off from Centennial Park during the 2022 innagural Strides for Giving 5K marathon.
Taylor Walters/Courtesy

The grounds of Rifle will be filled with the sound of running shoes hitting the pavement as participants gather for the second annual Strides for Giving 5K race, set to take place Sept. 23.

The event is more than just a race; it’s a tribute to Christy Walters, a beloved educator from the Garfield Re-2 School District. Walters’ two-decades-long fight against breast cancer came to a heartbreaking conclusion in 2021.

Organizing the event is none other than Walters’ daughter, Taylor Walters, who works as the athletic recreations coordinator at Rifle Parks and Recreation. Taylor has found solace in continuing her mother’s philanthropic legacy through this 5K race. 

Only having a few months to prepare last year’s inaugural race, Taylor is excited for the upcoming event.

“Having a little bit more time and preparation has been nice,” Taylor said. “I have more of an idea of what to expect and I think it’s going to be a great day.”

Last year, the race saw an impressive 60 participants and brought in nearly $8,000. But this year’s participation has seen a dip so far.

“We have about 12 participants right now, which is down from what we had this time last year,” Taylor said. “We are really hoping to get some more people involved so that we can support a great cause.”

The race’s proceeds are channeled into Rifle’s annual holiday meal-kit giveaway. With assistance from sponsors such as Alpine Bank and Shelter Insurance, this initiative spreads cheer from New Castle to Parachute by providing meals during the festive season. The kits have the capacity to feed families of 4-7 people. 

Due to the funds raised from last year’s 5K, the number of meal kits distributed in 2022 surged to 120, a significant increase from the 80 distributed in 2021.

“My mom touched a lot of people and she was always doing so much for others,” Taylor said. “She would always go out of her way for others, so to be able to carry on her legacy gives me a piece of her that I get to continue on.”

Christy’s kindness wasn’t limited to holiday initiatives. She also had a big heart for children in need of winter clothing and would make meals for families grappling with cancer diagnoses, Taylor recalled. For Taylor, the Strides for Giving 5K isn’t just about the run; it’s about continuing the legacy of a woman who always believed in giving back.

For those looking to join the race or support the cause, they can visit or dial 970-665-6574 to sign up.

If you go…

What: Strides for Giving 5K race
When: Check in begins at 9 a.m., Sept 23. Race starts at 10 a.m.
Where: Centennial Park, 300 W. Fifth St., Rifle
Registration fee: $40

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