GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Good friends always seem to find a way to get together no matter how far apart lifes journey has taken them. The times and places may have changed but the memories remain from a time, not so long ago, when their lives were intertwined with the freedom and hope of being young.This reunion of former Glenwood High School graduates is not your typical meeting for a weekend of drinks, telling old tales and the family barbecue at the park. Instead of lingering over cocktails or having that extra slice of apple pie, this reunion involves running 170 miles on roads, trails and over mountain passes in all types of weather conditions, at all hours of the day.The 11th annual Colorado Outward Bound Relay will begin this Friday morning in Georgetown and end at Sopris Park in downtown Carbondale at various times on Saturday morning, depending on the swiftness of the runners taking part. Its a relay race made up of 10-person teams that covers 170 miles over some of Colorados roughest terrain. Its not for the feint of heart.A group of former Glenwood High School athletes, calling themselves the Cosmic Circle Puppets, will embark on the cross-state journey for the second year in a row on Friday morning. They were standouts in their respective sports in high school, ranging from the soccer field to the swimming pool, to the volleyball and basketball courts.Ashley Nadon, 1999 GSHS graduate, is the mastermind behind rounding up her friends and putting the team together. Nadon, who was the basketball Player of the Year in the Western Slope League for the 1999 season, said getting all the girls together was just a natural progression of the athletic lives they have always led.This is about much more than just running for us, said Nadon. Its about getting together, pushing yourself, living life and finding the adventure. Smiling and pushing past the difficult moments is what lifes about.The Circle Puppets are comprised of Nadon, Mindi Harman, Andrea Kemp, Natalie Lancaster, Jane Thompson, and sisters Katie and Amy Ackerman. Its a veritable whos who of girls who were highly successful in the classroom as well as the playing field in high school. Most hold advanced college degrees and many are currently in the field of engineering.Harman, who holds an engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines and is currently teaching math at Yampah Mountain High School in Glenwood, echoes words similar to Nadons as to why the team came to be.Definitely, running is not even the priority with us, said Harman who played college basketball at Mines. Its a challenge and an excuse for us to get together. I feel blessed to have all these friends who are still around and like to do the same things I like.The excitement in the voice of Katie Ackerman (Hughes) was noticeable as she talked about the race and getting together with her old buddies.The running part is great and you have to be motivated to be in shape and ready, said Ackerman, who helped lead the Lady Demon basketball team to the state tournament in 1998 as an all-conference player. But its so much fun to be with my friends. You dont really get a chance to do much team stuff once you get out of high school, so this gives us an opportunity to be together again.Together again. Those are good words to hear, especially when it comes to this group of ladies.Look for the Cosmic Circle Puppets to arrive at Sopris Park sometime around noon on Saturday. If you know them, or remember watching them back in the day, go up and say hi. Better yet, give them a pat on the back and buy them a beerthey deserve it.
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This game. This rivalry. This season. It hasn’t meant this much in a long time.