A 5K holiday tradition at Glenwood Springs Golf Course | PostIndependent.com

A 5K holiday tradition at Glenwood Springs Golf Course

Mike Vidakovich

I always get some interesting looks when I tell people that I spend most of Thanksgiving Day at the Glenwood Golf Course.

I have for the past 32 years and counting.

No, I’m not an avid golfer, though I did break out the clubs a couple of times this summer after a lengthy four-year hiatus from the game. I’m not a very good golfer, so I don’t torture myself by attempting the sport on a regular basis. Instead of chasing a little white ball around the hilly 9-hole Glenwood course on Nov. 22nd, I’ll be chasing runners of all sizes and varieties up and around the green fairways at the Turkey Day 5k.

Outside of three years when the popular holiday gathering was held on the Wulfsohn trails near the Glenwood Community Center, the 3.1-mile run/walk has taken place up on “The Hill.”

Fellow runner Jim Richmond and I started the race on a whim way back in 1986. We thought it would be a good way to get some people out for a little exercise on Thanksgiving, get together with some friends, and have a few drinks before the afternoon of feasting commenced.

Seventeen people showed up that first year, and most of us ended up staying much longer than we had originally planned. When the day finally concluded in the late afternoon with the holiday blessing from on top of the roof of the clubhouse from Bob Willey and Jack Green, we all ambled our way home to waiting relatives who were wondering if we had gotten lost or been abducted by aliens.

As I have chronicled in past columns as Thanksgiving has approached, the race has grown in numbers each year, more so than what we could have ever imagined. The test of time was passed through a snow-packed course with blizzard-like conditions, to balmy days when the smiling sun felt more like it was gazing down upon spring than nearing the ominous days of winter that were waiting just around the corner.

The race now consistently attracts upwards of 500 spirited participants who run, walk, and enjoy the beautiful vistas of our valley as they wind their way along the twisting, up-and-down grassy trek to the finish line. The food and good company are plentiful, with the day representing more of a hometown reunion than a competitive event.

The race director torch is now in the very capable hands of Glenwood High School swimming coach Steve Vanderhoof, who has done an excellent job of providing one of the best organized running events on the Western Slope. The proceeds from the race will go to the Glenwood Springs High School swimming and cross country teams, so the $15 preregistration fee is a good investment. Be on notice though, race day the price to get in goes up to $25, with registration taking place in the Glenwood Springs Golf Course clubhouse beginning at 9 a.m.

The starting gun goes off at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, so get up, warm up, and make your way up to the Glenwood Golf Course to get some movement in and catch up with a few old friends.

This will be my 33rd year, and without exception, it’s always been a blast.

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