Toews, Lower win Independence Day FireKracker 4K |

Toews, Lower win Independence Day FireKracker 4K

Mike Vidakovich

Utilizing a steady early pace to distance himself from the pack of 89 runners and walkers, Wesley Toews of New Castle rarely had to glance into his rear-view mirror as he controlled the freeway from the beginning, en route to a convincing win in the 5th Annual FireKracker 4K at Glenwood’s Two Rivers Park on a smoky Wednesday morning.

“I’m always just going to run my own race,” said Toews, who recorded a swift time of 13 minutes, 47 seconds on the Rio Grande Trail’s 2.5 mile course. “The conditions were good for a race called the FireKracker. Hot and smoky.”

Sean Nesbitt garnered the runner-up trophy with a time of 15:22, and Glenwood High School senior Bryce Risner rounded out the podium with a 15:30 finish. Russel Bollig (17:20) and Tyler Parker (17:24) were the next males across the finish line, placing sixth and seventh overall.

On the ladies side of the ledger for the FireKracker, Melissa Lower, who hails from Loveland but spent part of her childhood in Glenwood Springs, was able to hold off the hard-charging Anne Swanson to capture the female division crown and place fourth overall.

“I grew up here, and my brother lives in town, so I decided to come and do the race,” said Lower, who stopped the finish line clock at 16:58. “I love to run, but I feel like I’m still recovering from the Boston Marathon in April.”

Swanson, who teaches math at Glenwood Springs High School, recorded a time of 17:08 for second place and fifth overall. GSHS senior Emily Worline (17:26) and Carbondale’s Annie Farris-Murphy (17:31) were close on Swanson’s heels. Jessica Pooler, who has been victorious in several early-season area 5K’s, placed fifth for the women at 17:57.

The FireKracker 4k is a Lion’s Club sponsored event, with all proceeds going to help with vision screenings and eye glasses for children and adults in need in the Roaring Fork Valley. Putting on the Fourth of July race is a combined effort from Rick Voorhees, Kathy Wren, Darrell Stanley, Joe Mollica, and Rodney Nailor.

“It was a little smoky today, but we had a great, spirited group turn out,” said Stanley.

Next up on the calendar for the local running community will be the Hogback Hustle 5K in New Castle on Saturday, July 14th. The Hustle is the fifth race in the popular Colorado River Valley Charity Race Series.

Top Twenty Overall. *Female: 1. Wesley Toews, 13 minutes, 47 seconds; 2. Sean Nesbitt, 15:22; 3. Bryce Risner, 15:30; 4. Melissa Lower*, 16:58; 5.Anne Swanson*, 17:08; 6. Russel Bollig, 17:20; 7. Tyler Parker, 17:24; 8. Emily Worline*, 17:26; 9. Annie Farris-Murphy*, 17:31; 10. Ethan Poland, 17:32; 11. Larry Thrun, 17:38; 12. Jessica Pooler*, 17:57; 13. James Parker, 18:01; 14. Johnny Utah, 18:12; 15. Robert Baker, 18:40; 16. Taia Nykerk*, 19:04; 17. Joseph Chamberlain, 19:07; 18. Brad Palmer 19:31; 19. Phil Samora, 19:52; 20. Calvin Swanson, 20:36.

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