Running and walking with a purpose
NO NAME, Colorado – As the Glenwood Springs High School cheerleaders cut the starting line ribbon in memory of their former coach Kim Richardson, some 300 walkers began their trek into the Glenwood Canyon at Saturday’s MS Lifelines 5K Run/Walk.It was a day not only to honor the 15-year coach, who at age 46 recently died after a courageous battle with cancer, but also one of hope to find a cure for another disease.MS (multiple sclerosis) is a disease that affects the central nervous system by disrupting the flow of information from the brain to the body. The disease generally strikes in the prime of life -between the ages of 20 and 50. Seventy-three percent of those diagnosed are women. There is no known cause and no known cure.”Every hour of every day, someone is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis,” announced race emcee Tillie Fischer, as the long line of participants passed by her on a postcard spring morning.The 5K distance is a relatively short 3.1 miles, but the fight to find a cure for MS is a lengthy and ongoing struggle.”This is the 20th anniversary of doing the MS walks in Colorado,” said race director Susan Barstad. “Our goal is to generate 1.5 million dollars statewide to help find a cure for the disease.”Penny Donelan, along with Fischer, has been responsible for the organization of the Glenwood MS walk for the past 10 years. Donelan lost her son David to the disease eight years ago, but her smile and energy on Saturday morning couldn’t help but brighten one’s day and bring a sense of hope.”She’s the heart and soul of this day,” Donelan said of her friend Fischer. “It’s a special day.”Along with the walkers, there were 25 runners who showed up to help with the cause. The swiftest of those on the fast track was Matt Johnson of Eagle, who recorded a time of 19:38 for the overall win.Johnson said his reasoning for doing the race was a combination of his love of running and supporting a good cause.”It’s nice to do the local races,” said Johnson. “Anytime I can support something like this and give back a little bit, I like to help.”Candelorio Deleura of Rifle was the runner-up to Johnson, posting a time of 22:08.Coming to the finish line third overall and winning the women’s division was Cheryl Castle of Silt. Castle’s time of 22:38 seemed to be an afterthought to her following the race. She was glad just to be able to participate and help raise some money for MS research.”It’s a great cause to support. I mainly do triathlons but I like these shorter runs to try and build up some speed,” said Castle.On a day of inspiration, Castle had her own story of perseverance, which had nothing to do with trying to make it to a finish line.”I smoked for 24 years and finally decided to quit when I turned 40,” said Castle.Even the Glenwood cheerleaders, who have supported the race participants for years, were inspired to work toward a goal for next year’s event.”They’re thinking they might want to try and run it next year,” said Glenwood cheer coach Lynn Goluba.To make a donation to the Colorado chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, go to walkmscolorado.org.
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