Mitchell: Glory days await some at Springers track meet
The running stud I once was — or at least think I was — just isn’t there anymore.
I once upon a time could at least hold my own in the 300 hurdles and the 400 meters. At one point I was respectable in those events, once clocking a time of 41.2 seconds in the 300 hurdles and a 52.9 in the 400.
So then, during my first stint here as a sports writer back in 2001, I decided to try to relive those glory days as a guy who was 24 but, for the most part, was really out of shape.
My opportunity came at the annual Glenwood Springers Track and Field Meet at Stubler Memorial Field in Glenwood Springs. It’s also affectionately known as the Glenwood Springers All-Comers Meet as a way of encouraging Glenwood and other high school alumni from the area to compete in it.
So I went ahead and took part. And Iran a leg of the 4×400 relay.
My performance, compared to what I once could do, could have been summed up in two words: epic fail.
I started out fast — way too fast — and was fading by the time I hit the back curve behind the stadium bleachers. I was at least able to reach the finish line and make my handoff, but there was no kick involved as I attempted to sprint down the final straightaway.
Actually, that sprint down the straightaway was more of a hobble. It’s because I had a bad knee or something, but because that was the kind of pace I was keeping compared to when I was at my peak.
Yet, it’s one of the more memorable and positive races I’ve had the chance to run.
It was made that way by Blake Risner, the Glenwood Springers coach at the time, and the rest of his coaching staff.
“What was your split, Jon?” Risner asked me.
“Really slow,” I defiantly responded.
“Well, did you have fun?” Blake asked.
“Yeah, I did.”
“That’s what matters then,” Risner said.
Fun will be what matters when the Springers bring this meet back to Stubler at 5 p.m. today, with registration beginning at 4 p.m. It serves as the primary fundraiser for the club, and it helps them foot the bill for things like gas money, food and uniforms, among other things. Participants shell out a whopping $10 to run in the meet, with a $50 fee applying for a corporate relay team.
And it’s pretty easy to see how much good that donated money has done over the years, especially with the success the Glenwood Springs High track and field program has had. Plus, there’s evidence on this summer’s Springers team that there’s even more success to come.
The Springers competed in the Junior Olympic State Meet in Aurora on June 21. Among the athletes who managed either regional-qualifying times or marks were Bryce Risner (high jump, pentathlon, triple jump and 200 meter hurdles), Baylee Risner (shot put), Sophia Vigil (1,500), Claudia Hirons (800), Reid Swanson (1,500), Alex Cutright (steeplechase and high jump), Justin Thompson (100 hurdles, high jump, triple jump, long jump), Raymond Rosenmerkel (javelin), Amanda Madden (shot put), Tyler Madden (shot put), Gavin Olson (400) and Jacob Barsness (1,500).
Whew! Excuse me for a second or two while I catch my breath.
There. That’s better.
Anyway, aside from the proceeds of the meet funding these kids to go and run and compete at a higher level, it’s a chance to make a few memories. It’ll help the area kids who are competing at a high level even before they get to high school, giving them a chance at a few memories.
Plus, why would you want to turn down the possible memory of nearly hurling at the finish line with a burning sensation in your lungs?
That’s what I had in the summer of 2001, and I still remember that. And now, 13 years later, it’s pretty obvious that my money went to something positive.
Jon Mitchell is the sports editor of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and Rifle Citizen Telegram. He can be reached at 970-384-9123, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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