Sedbrook, Ehlers top the field at Firekracker 4K Run |

Sedbrook, Ehlers top the field at Firekracker 4K Run

A little over three years ago, race director Darrell Stanley and some other members of the Glenwood Lions Club were trying to come up with a unique event for local runners and walkers on the 4th of July. At the same time, the group wanted to raise money for a charity they had begun, which helps to support vision care for children and adults in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“Glenwood has never had a 4th of July race, so we [Lions Club] decided it would be a fun thing to do,” said Stanley. “The money we raise helps out people who can’t afford vision exams and glasses.”

Born on the 4th of July, the third annual Firekracker 4K (2.5 mile) Run has welcomed an increasing number of participants to the starting line in each year of its existence. Monday’s version, with a start and finish at Glenwood’s Two Rivers Park, saw 72 huffing and puffing runners stride along the Rio Grande Trail to kick off the town’s day of celebration on America’s birthday.

The morning was filled with exercising townspeople, from young stallions to old poops, but it was an out-of-towner who stole the show, as Cody Sedbrook, who will be a junior on the cross country team at the University of Minnesota/Duluth, sped to an impressive win on a picturesque July day. Sedbrook’s time of 13 minutes even, outdistanced Glenwood High School sophomore Gavin Harden, who came to the finish line in 14:54. Harden, who is gearing up for the high school cross country season which starts in early August, has some impressive race results to his credit thus far this summer.

“I’ve been doing quite a few races and working hard,” Harden said. “I want to be ready when practice starts this fall.”

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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Glenwood Middle School seventh-grader Reid Swanson, who is headed to the Junior Olympic Track Regionals in Albuquerque this coming weekend, was third overall with a time of 15:06.

Speaking of the Glenwood Middle School, one of Swanson’s teachers, seventh-grade English instructor Abbey Ehlers, easily bested all competition in the women’s division by racing to a fast 15:57 timing. Ehlers finished fourth overall in the race. Ivana Wynn was the runner up for the ladies at 18:24. Another Glenwood High runner, junior Claudia Hirons, placed third among females. Hirons has had to put her training on hold for a bit after school let out in early June, but she is now also starting to gear up for the 2016 cross country season.

“I went on a school-sponsored trip to Europe earlier in the summer, and I didn’t do much running. I’m getting back into it now,” Hirons said.

The Firekracker 4K attracted runners and walkers of all shapes, sizes and stages of life, as sisters Gracie and Madison Stewart, ages 12 and 10, completed the scenic out-and-back course. The Stewart girls took up running a little while back, and have had no thoughts of stopping anytime soon.

“We usually run 3 or 4 days a week, and we run together most of the time,” said Gracie. “We enjoy doing it.”

This coming Saturday, July 9, marks the date for the next area road race, as the Hogback Hustle 5K will take runners on a tour of Castle Valley and the streets of New Castle before finishing at Burning Mountain Park. Also looming is the Glenwood Springers annual community track meet on Wednesday, July 6. It will be in the evening at GSHS. The public is welcome to attend and compete.

Mike Vidakovich writes freelance for the Post Independent.

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