Swanson skyrockets to first-place finish at Firecracker 4k | PostIndependent.com

Swanson skyrockets to first-place finish at Firecracker 4k

Mike Vidakovich
Special to the Post Independent
Christopher Mullen Post Independent Lee Griffith age 93, is cheered on as she crosses the finish line at the First Annual Firecracker 4K held at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs July 4, 2014. The Firecracker 4K was done by the Lions Club the proceeds going to their college scholarship program and their eye care program. The 4K started and ended at Two Rivers Park with the turn around on the Rio Grande Trail by Glenwood Springs High School.
Christopher Mullen |

Top-25 Overall Runners

*Female: 1. Warren Swanson, 15:28; 2. Owen Lamb, 15:49; 3. Eric Lamb, 16:26; 4. Benny Smith, 17:05; 5. Abbey Walters*, 17:06; 6. Garrett Like, 18:01; 7. Dan Smith, 18:14; 8. Johnny Utah, 18:16; 9. Ryley Sutton*, 19:06; 10. Matt Soltesz, 20:53; 11.Natalie Zancanella*, 20:59; 12. Joe Mollica, 21:24; 13. Laura Bahr*, 21:25; 14. Steve Pawlak, 21:36; 15. Kathy Lancaster*, 21:46; 16. Clint Trebesh, 21:57; 17. Melissa Sutton*, 22:05; 18. Diane Smith*, 23:04; 19. Darrell Stanley, 23:21; 20. Tyler Nicholson, 23:38; 21. Kammy Young*, 23:52; 22. Erin Alfstad*, 23:58; 23. Eric Conklin, 24:47; 24. Janice Morgan*, 24:55; 25. Micah Conklin*, 24:55.

When Glenwood resident Warren Swanson rolled out of bed on Friday morning, he did not plan on doing the inaugural Firekracker 4k run at Two Rivers Park. Swanson left home for a casual morning run, thinking he would meet up with his family at the race start area and cheer them on. Some signals got crossed as to the actual starting time, so when Swanson discovered his wife and boys would be arriving later, he borrowed $20 from a friend to pay the race entry fee and jumped into the fray.

His unexpected morning detour was the turn of a friendly card.

Swanson, age 42, took off at a fast pace on the Rio Grande Trail and managed to stay strong throughout, holding off his much younger competitor, Owen Lamb, for his first ever race victory with a time of 15 minutes, 28 seconds.

Swanson was every bit as surprised with the victory as he was with the fact that he even ran in the race.

“I had no intention of running this race today. My family thought the start time was 9 a.m. I just ran down here and saw that the race started at 8 a.m., so I borrowed some money from a friend for the entry fee,” said Swanson. “This could be my first and last race victory.”

Coming in second and third overall was the brother tandem of Owen and Eric Lamb with times of 15:49 and 16:26 on the 2.5 mile course.

Abbey Walters was the winner on the ladies side of the ledger. Walters, a teacher at the Glenwood Middle School, is an accomplished runner in her own right, but on this day she had some help from her rescue dog Lloyd who helped tug her along to victory.

Even though the course was a bit shorter than the traditional 5k (3.1-mile) distance, Walter’s (and Lloyd’s) winning pace was quick enough to leave her feeling like she had a good workout.

“It was just long enough to hurt,” said a smiling Walters.

Ryley Sutton was the runner-up in the women’s race with a time of 19:06. She was followed by Glenwood’s Natalie Zancanella who crossed the finish line at 20:59.

Fifty-four runners and walkers showed up at the Firekracker 4k, which was sponsored by the Lions Club. Race director Darrell Stanley, who is planning on making the race bigger and better next year, was happy with the events of the day.

“I was really pleased with the enthusiasm of the people today,” said Stanley. “They were supportive and everyone seemed to have fun.”

Up next for local runners is the annual Hogback Hustle 5k in New Castle on Saturday, July 12. It is the fifth stop on the Colorado River Valley Charity Race Series.

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