Vidakovich column: Safe at home plate

Mike Vidakovich
Mike Vidakovich

Early in the morning of Memorial Day, I went for a run from near the baseball diamond at Two Rivers Park, out to where the Rio Grande Trail makes a quick loop turnaround across the street from Alpine Bank. I then, as I always do, headed back to my starting point at the park. It’s a route that a friend and I call “The Home Plate Run,” because that is where the roughly 3.4-mile loop begins and ends.

I was thankful to be out on such a beautiful morning and happy to be able to still run without every part of my body aching. It’s a blessing to be healthy and I never take even one single day for granted.

Staying in step with the shuffling of my feet, I pondered the meaning of the day and many of the people who I miss. It’s hard for me to believe that my mom has been gone now for over two years and the one-year mark of my brother’s unexpected passing will be here on August 12.

The 12th will take on a special meaning for me this year because it is the day of the annual Pyro’s Trail Run up on the Flat Tops Wilderness Area. Each year, Donna and Ham DuBois stage the race in one of the most picturesque settings you will ever find. The running event is in honor of their son Will, who lost his life while serving our country in December of 2014. My brother passed away in an auto accident just about a mile below where the race starts and finishes on the Buford Road.

I have a feeling that as I run through the woods and flowery fields that day, I will have a better understanding of what the DuBois family must feel each year as the runners and walkers traverse the trails that were Will’s favorite places to be. The Flat Tops was my brother’s favorite place to be also. He was spending the summer on his land in a trailer when the accident occurred. He enjoyed fishing at Meadow Lake, listening to the elk bugle in the evenings, and spending time with his friend and fellow mountain man Jim Fletcher.

On that Memorial morning, I thought a lot about Bob Willey and Paul Driskill, two old running friends who are no longer with us. Distance running was a big part of their lives and they passed along to me the love and the many lessons that go along with being strong enough to push through physical and mental hardship. I miss them, along with many others too numerous to mention. Each time I run, I try to honor their memory in any way I can.

Fool’s gold?

I thought it only fitting that I should mention that in one of my columns, roughly two months ago, I stated that the Denver Nuggets were fool’s gold and that they would never make it past the first round of the NBA playoffs. Well, I have been way off base in other sports predictions, so this one should come as no surprise.

The only thing that worries me is that since I was very young, I have told friends that I only want to live long enough to see the Nuggets win the league championship. Of course, when making that statement, I truly believed the day would not come in my lifetime. Now I’m a bit worried about my continued longevity. Since I attended the Denver Nuggets camp when I was in eighth grade, they have been my team, along with Notre Dame and the Baltimore Orioles. If the Nuggies do win it all, I will just have to exercise extra caution while crossing the street on the ever congested Glenwood roadways.

Happy to be a Ram

I was very excited when new Roaring Fork girls’ basketball coach Albert Blanc asked me to join him as his assistant coach next season. Blanc was my freshman coach in 1976 when he was student teaching at Glenwood High School and he let us young Demons run and gun our way to an undefeated season. We pulled off the same feat a few years later as seniors and it was because of the guidance and motivation from people like Bob Chavez, Nick Stubler, and Blanc. Who knows, maybe Blanc can pull off the same magic with the Lady Rams? I do know one thing for sure, the Carbondale girls will work hard, be fundamentally sound, and will play with discipline. Blanc will see to it.

Shortcut anyone?

Start getting some miles in because the annual Strawberry Shortcut Races will be held in Glenwood Springs on the morning of Sunday, June 18. There will be a distance for everyone with the 10k starting at 7:30 a.m., the 5k goes off at 9 a.m., and to conclude the morning, the 1 Mile will begin at 10 a.m. Go to for further info. Online registration closes June 14, but you can also register during packet pickup at the Bank of Colorado from 9am – 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. There will be race morning registration available too.

I will be running the 5k and for the second year, I will be the race announcer. So if you have any interesting stories about folks who are coming across the finish line, please come over and tell me. I love stories and will be glad to give them some airtime.

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