Veteran of Glenwood Springs’ Strawberry Shortcut still clicking off big miles at 78
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Warren Bystedt loves to smile. Maybe even more than he loves to run.
As he crossed the finish line of the Strawberry Shortcut 5K, he was all smiles. Another satisfying race.
The Grand Junction man has been running for 27 years and has done 10 Shortcuts. Back in 1981, Bystedt knew he had to do something or he might suffer the same fate as his dad and three of his brothers.
Dead of a heart attack.
“That’s why I started running,” he says. “I didn’t want to end up like them.”
At 51 he started clicking off miles. He’s now 78 years old and loves running, putting in about 45 miles a week.
He doesn’t explain why he runs as much as he boils it down to a statement.
“It’s what I do. I run.”
He smiles again when he talks about his fastest time he set 18 years ago.
“I was only 60 back then.”
He says the Shortcut is his favorite race, along with the Bolder Boulder and one in Davenport, Iowa, where he used to live.
“The Shortcut is a great race. Everyone’s so friendly,” he says.
It also gives him the opportunity to run both the 10K and 5K, which he did on Sunday. Not bad for a runner that’s only 78.
He easily won his age group in both races, finishing just under 58 minutes in the 10K and under 28 minutes in the 5K.
Bystedt’s smile is a constant, and it fits with what he calls the friendliest place he’s ever lived.
After 45 years in his hometown of Minneapolis, he says that was the friendliest place he’d ever lived. Until he moved to Davenport, Iowa, then that was the friendliest. Now Colorado has moved to No. 1.
“Everybody is always waving, saying hi, people are so friendly here,” he says.
The running camaraderie is another reason he enjoys the Shortcut, which was very evident as he made his way through the crowd shaking hands and smiling to his fellow runners.
He’s not planning on hanging up the running shoes anytime soon.
When will he stop running?
“When I can’t anymore,” he says with the ever-present smile. Then he repeats the previous statement.
“It’s what I do.”
He’s got a little arthritis and his doctor says he should stop, but that’s not in Bystedt’s immediate plans.
After a 10K and 5K, Bystedt was smiling but his body was sending a mixed message.
“I feel terrible. I’m tuckered.”
At 78 years old he’s earned the right to say he’s tuckered.
And of course, he says it with a smile.
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