Runners bloom at Strawberry Shortcut |

Runners bloom at Strawberry Shortcut

The world-class speed was a little late in arriving, but a pair of African runners did make their presence felt Sunday at the 26th Annual Strawberry Shortcut run.

Jackton Wasiema, of Kenya, and Likhaya Dayile, of South Africa, were slated to compete in the top flight division of the 10-kilometer race, which started at 7 a.m.

Unfortunately, they thought the race began at 7:45 a.m.

Not to worry, the pair started with the 5Kers at 8:15 and lit out on the 10K course with an official timer.

And they made quick work of the course.

Wasiema set a new course record with a time of 31 minutes, 51 seconds – erasing the previous record set by Phil Castillo by 42 seconds. Dayile crossed the finish line a minute later for second place overall in the top flight.

“For me, it was not very fast because I was running alone,” said Wasiema, who arrived in the states roughly a month ago and trains in Albuquerque, N.M. “I’m sure with five people or 10 people I could push it to 29 (minutes).”

Silt’s Bernie Boettcher, who joked that Wasiema and Dayile were probably afraid of the competition, was the first to actually cross the finish line in the 10K.

Boettcher took more than a minute off his third-place top flight finish last year to take the citizen’s men’s title.

“I figured, I’m 40, so I’m probably not top flight anymore,” Boettcher said.

Boettcher’s time of 34:54 was 10 seconds faster than the Fruita’s Jay Valentine, the second runner to cross the line.

“The wind was brutal (on West Midland Avenue) and I used Jay as a blocker,” he added. ” I thank Jay very much for that, and I think that’s what killed him.”

Valentine was running in the top flight class and stayed in the money with his third-place time.

Glenwood’s Scott Marr took second place in the citizen 10K with a time of 36:43 and Carbondale’s John Stroud rounded out the citizen top three with a time of 38:14.

5K men’s run

The 5K men’s run was dominated by the locals.

Former Glenwood Springs High School standout runner Chas Salmen, who currently runs at Duke University, took top honors with a time of 15:51.

“I miss this race a lot,” Salmen said. “I’m not really supposed to be road racing right now, but I can’t pass up the Shortcut.”

Glenn Randall, who will be a junior at Plateau Valley High School in the fall, struck out early and led much of the race until Salmen caught him at the bridge on the return trip.

Randall finished in second with a time of 16:06, followed by Chas’ brother, Marco, who spent the spring battling Randall at prep meets, and posted a time of 16:11.

“It was a little bittersweet,” said Marco, who will be joining his older brother at Duke this fall. “Glenn got me again.”

Former Glenwood Springs standout Gus Lundin was fourth at 16:13 and Glenwood resident Charlie Wertheim rounded out the top five with a time of 17:01.

“It was great to have the whole crew back, but I couldn’t stick with Chas and Glenn,” Marco Salmen said.

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