Right on track for lots of fun
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Blake Risner has a pretty good reason to be a big fan of the Glenwood Springers track and field club.
“It helps us to keep building for the future,” the longtime Glenwood Springs High School track and field coach said during the annual Glenwood Springers Community Track Meet on Thursday. “It helps feed kids into my program, for sure. And if parents could just see the benefits that track provides mentally and physically for kids, they could also see that it would help them in everything they do.”
There apparently are a lot of parents in the area who have gotten that message. Meet volunteers estimated that as many as 70 children ranging from age 4-18 took part in the meet, which is held annually at the seven-lane Stubler Memorial Field track. For some of the participants, especially the younger athletes, running in the track club has been a lot more fun than expected.
“I thought that we would just be running laps all the time,” said 8-year-old Avery Johnson, who is in her first year with the Springers. “But it’s a lot of fun because it helps me stay active.”
Echoing that statement were brothers Kelton and Nolan McPherson, who are in their fourth year with the club. Kelton, a 13-year-old, soon-to-be eighth-grader at Glenwood Springs Middle School, initially joined just so he’d have a place to hang out with his friends from school. It also helped that their older brother, Alex, was a state qualifier in the high hurdles at the high school in 2008.
Meanwhile, Nolan followed suit just so he could hang out with his brother. He, in turn, wound up coming back all the time because of all of that.
“All of our friends are here,” the 12-year-old Nolan said. “The way they say it is that if they’re here running, we’d better be here running too.”
As Johnson said, the annual community meet wasn’t just a group of people running around the track at Stubler. There’s a wide variety of events including sprint and distance running races along with field events like the high jump, long jump and shot put. The $10 individual entry fee each participant paid served as a charitable donation to the club to help it pay for meet entry fees or travel costs associated with those meets, which include state and national-level competition.
Adults, along with older members of the club who were also participating in the meet, were also on hand to help with younger kids who were getting their first taste of track and field.
Based on the enthusiasm of some athletes, it won’t be the last for many of them.
“I’d definitely do it next year,” Johnson said. “I really didn’t think it would be this fun.”
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