Rich sweeps Strawberry Shortcut 5K and 10K races |

Rich sweeps Strawberry Shortcut 5K and 10K races

Mike Vidakovich
Adam Rich was the first to cross the finish line in both the 5K and 10K Strawberry Shortcut races Sunday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

The 39th running of the annual Strawberry Shortcut 5k and 10k races took place on a warm Sunday morning in downtown Glenwood Springs, helping to jump-start the final day of the town’s summer Strawberry Festival.

The longer version of the Shortcut, the 10K, got things started with a bright and early 7 a.m. start at Centennial Park. After heading north, down main street for one city block, runners made the trek over the Grand Avenue Bridge for what will most likely be the last time as part of the Shortcut route. After venturing through Two Rivers Park and a trip south on the Rio Grande Trail, a finish line tape awaited the first runner at the corner of Colorado Avenue and Ninth Street.

Adam Rich of Colorado Springs was the swiftest to the end in both the 10K and 5K races. The last three years, Rich has made the Shortcut his personal playground by winning both events each time he has participated.

“I started coming to this race because it was part of the Colorado Racing Series,” said Rich, who recorded a winning time in the 10K of 32 minutes, 40 seconds. “It’s become enjoyable not only to race, but as a fun outing for my entire family.”

Rich was followed to the finish line by New Castle’s Josh Hejtmanek (35:41) and Carbondale’s Jeason Murphy (35:50).

The women’s version of the 10K also produced a repeat winner, as Carbondale resident Kylee Schuler ran a 40:13 to claim top honors for the ladies. Schuler, a nutritional health coach, usually prefers the trails to the pavement, but the Shortcut is always a staple on her running calendar.

“I do tend to focus on the longer trail runs, but this is a special race and it’s a good speed workout for me,” stated Schuler, who is preparing for the Power of Four trail run later this summer which takes runners on a 28-mile journey over Aspen, Snowmass, Highlands and Buttermilk mountains. Melissa Goodman was runner-up in the 10K with a time of 41:03.

Leading the pack once again, Rich’s time in his winning 5K effort was 16:24. Former Rifle Bear standout Brendan Wagler came in at 17:02, with Jack Rubalcave clocking an 18:11 for third.

Carbondale’s Amy Rollins equaled her feat of 2015, as she won the 5K for the women with a time of 21:11. Rollins, who is the assistant cross country coach at Basalt High School, enjoys running on Father’s Day with her dad (Ron Lund).

“It’s Father’s Day, I like to come down to Glenwood and do this run with him,” said Rollins.

Following the races, several runners who have made a habit of attending the Strawberry Shortcut during its four decade long run, shared fond memories of years gone by.

Glenwood’s Gary Hollenbaugh, who ran the 10K, recalled back in the spring of 1977 when he a few other locals conjured up the idea for the race.

“Dr. Stewart, Sally Fuller, Dennis Pretti, and myself came up with the idea to start a race in Glenwood as a way to get our Chamber of Commerce to try and do more events to attract tourists. It worked,” said Hollenbaugh with a proud smile.

Dr. Greg Feinsinger of Glenwood, who ran both the 10K and 5K at age 75, said he has rarely missed the annual run through the city streets.

“It’s always been my most special race,” said Feinsinger. “I missed a few when the family was on vacation, but not many.”

Glenwood’s Nancy Reinisch, a two-time cancer survivor, said the Shortcut is woven into the fabric of her family.

“My family grew up on this race,” said Reinisch, who is the co-coach of the Roaring Fork Women’s Triathlon Team along with Judy Haynes. “My boys started running this race when they were kids. It’s what life is all about. Fun and fitness.”

The day’s total number of participants in the 5K and 10K races topped out at 317 runners. The breakdown of the two events had 95 runners in the 10K (6.2 miles), and 222 in the shorter 5K (3.1 miles).

Race director Kevin White enjoys seeing the competition and large turnout for his races each June, but he especially enjoys the morning’s final race, the one mile fun run, which attracts the casual jogging crowd, walkers, and also many athletes who participate in the Special Olympics.

“One of the neatest aspects of this day is the one mile fun run at the end,” White said. “Watching all of the special Olympians participate and put forth their best effort is always wonderful to see.”

Dallas resident Josh Chavez, a special Olympian fresh off a victory in the 400 meter run at the Texas Distance Festival earlier this summer, makes the trek north each year with his family for the strawberry weekend and the fun run.

“It’s fun. One of my favorites,” said Chavez.

Top Fifteen Overall (*Female) 10k: 1. Adam Rich, 32 minutes, 40 seconds; 2. Josh Hejtmanek, 35:41; 3. Jeason Murphy, 35:50; 4. Sean Vanhorn, 35:53; 5. Brian Passenti, 38:32; 6. Gavin Harden, 38:50; 7. Henry Barth, 38:55; 8. Michael Palmgren, 39:03; 9. Luke Snoddy, 40:03; 10. Kylee Schuler*, 40:13; 11. Melissa Goodman*, 41:03; 12. Mathew Thrun, 42:15; 13. Russel Bollig, 42:23; 14. Chris Spence, 43:01; 15. Brad Palmer, 44:47.

5k: 1. Adam Rich, 16 minutes, 24 seconds; 2. Brendan Wagler, 17:02; 3. Jack Rubalcave, 18:11; 4. Josh Hejtmanek, 18:42; 5. Brian Passenti, 20:05; 6. Jason Graham, 20:45; 7. Thomas Simmons, 20:58; 8. Amy Rollins*, 21:11; 9. Alan McClain, 21:30; 10. Robert Hintermeister, 21:49; 11. Marcos Cruz, 22:46; 12. Brad Palmer, 22:52; 13. Ron Lund, 23:17; 14. Johnny Utah, 23:45; 15. Kyle Jonee, 23:50.

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