Safer Shortcut debuts Sunday
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Whether running the race or watching the masses trot by from his Fifth Street house as a youngster, the Strawberry Shortcut has always been a memorable part of Kevin White’s summer.
Several years later, little has changed. These days, White is the race’s lead organizer.
And he couldn’t be happier to be in charge of the tradition-rich Glenwood Springs foot race, which will be held for the 34th time on Sunday.
“It’s really cool because I’ve run the race my whole life,” said White, who grabbed the organizing reins from Jim Yellico after the 2009 Shortcut. “I grew up on Fifth Street, so even before I was running it, I saw everyone out there running. It’s been a part of my June ever since I was a little kid.”
This year’s Shortcut, which features 10K, 5K and one-mile fun run course options, will have a slightly different look. White and company altered the route at the request of the city.
“The city asked us to improve the safety of the course, so one of the things we did is we moved the race off of Midland Avenue,” White explained. “Now, the loop for the 10K runs south of town, and we utilized the bike path more.”
The 10K race begins at the corner of Ninth Street and Grand Avenue, with runners heading north on Grand, over the bridge and eventually to Two Rivers Park, where a long jaunt south on the Rio Grande Trail begins. Runners leave the trail just past 23rd Street for a short stay on South Grand Avenue before joining back up with the bike path and heading north. After cutting back into town via Coach Miller Drive, racers run a few blocks to the finish just north of 10th Street on Colorado Avenue.
The 5K route shares the same start and finish as the 10K and follows a similar path, but features a shorter stint on the trail before cutting back into town toward the finish line.
White said the number of registered runners cleared 300 on Thursday and guessed that more than 100 additional registrations would come in by the time the 10K starts at 7 a.m. Sunday.
Race-day registration is available, though White highly encourages runners to sign up ahead of time at the website http://www.strawberryshortcut.com.
“Last year, we registered 200 people the day of the race,” White said. “We’re hoping to avoid that a little bit this year.”
The Shortcut, which is held in conjunction with Strawberry Days, is perhaps the most popular foot race in Glenwood Springs, regularly drawing between 600 and 900 racers.
“There’s quite a bit of tradition involved,” White said.
And, having run many a Shortcut himself, he would know.
Joked White: “I have a whole stack of Shortcut trophies.”
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.