Strides for Giving 5k receives 62 participants

Mike Vidakovich
For the Post Independent
Participants get ready to take on the Strides for Giving 5k in Rifle on Saturday.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

A picture perfect autumn Saturday morning at Centennial Park in Rifle set the stage for the second-annual Strides for Giving 5k Run/Walk.

Sixty-two participants lined up at the start for a small amount of exercise and a community-sized tribute to the memory of longtime Rifle teacher Christy Walters. Race director Taylor Walters, who works for the Rifle Recreation Department, started the fundraising event last September to honor the memory of her mom, and to raise funds to help provide holiday meals for families in need from New Castle to Parachute.

“My mom was not only an educator, she was also very active in this community in any way that she could be in helping others,” Walters said, just prior to the start of Saturday’s race. “This run is a small way to carry on her legacy and what she meant to so many people.”

Greeted with a mostly flat, out and back course along Rifle Creek, Geo Mendez set a blistering pace that quickly left the rest of the field far behind. Rifle’s Mendez, who also won the Woodchuck Chase 5-miler in August at the Rifle Falls State Park, ran to a time of 16 minutes, 26 seconds that easily outdistanced 13 year-old Brody Evans. Evans crossed the finish line in second place with a time of 22:26, he was followed closely by Curt Leitzinger at 22:34. Carbondale’s 66-year-old running phenom Brad Palmer rounded out the top finishers with a time of 23:20.

Desi Kirkpatrick (25:11), Alissa Piland (25:21), and Jasmine Quinones (26:04) all turned in respectable times to lead the ladies race contingent. Kirkpatrick and Piland finished 8th and 9th in the overall standings.

Next up for local runners is the Run for their Lives 5k at the Stoney Ridge Ball Field in Silt on Saturday, October 14. The annual race is a benefit for the Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation in Silt. For race information and to register, go to

Top 20 finishers (*denotes female):

1. Geo Mendez, 16 minutes, 26 seconds

2. Brody Evans, 22:26

3. Curt Leitzinger, 22:34

4. Brad Palmer, 23:20

5. Eric Rodriguez-Lopez, 23:43

6. Johnny Utah, 23:51

7. James Parker, 24:21

8. Desi Kirkpatrick*, 25:11

9. Alissa Piland*, 25:21

10. Willians Alcero, 25:33

11. Jasmine Quionones*, 26:04

12. Phil Samora, 26:09

13. Angela Marsh*, 26:17

14. Mary-Ann Fulton*, 26:47

15. Eric Rodriguez, 27:07

16. Jeff Parrington, 27:31

17. Alan Rangel, 28:43

18. Jo Kuheim*, 28:57

19. Sue DeWinter*, 29:43

20. Jennifer Salazar*, 29:48

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