Vidakovich column: Last climb up the big hill |

Vidakovich column: Last climb up the big hill

I’m not quite sure of the exact date, but I believe it was sometime in the early 1990s that a trio of Glenwood Springs High School teachers started showing up on the front porch of my house every Monday during the school year for a weekly run up to a spot above the Glenwood Fish Hatchery that they fondly referred to as Sequoia Glen. At the summit of the run, Bob Willey, Joe Mollica and Jack Green would hug some tall trees, sit near the soothing waters of Mitchell Creek to chat, and finally, dunk their heads in the rushing water before heading back down the long hill to my house for a cold beverage and more conversation.

As the years wore on, others, including myself, slowly began to join the three running educators in what became known as “Monday at Mike’s.” The party on the porch following the exercise became as much of a drawing card as the run itself.

Unfortunately, the Monday group quickly faded following Willey’s untimely passing in the summer of 2014, but the race that we all had a hand in starting just over 21 years ago will be run for the final time on the familiar path up Mitchell Creek Road in West Glenwood on Halloween afternoon.

The Kenny Cline Memorial Sequoia Glen 5K Run/Walk is named in honor of Cline, who, in the early years of the event, hosted a lively party at his house near the turnaround point of the race. Following several libations and salutations, our jovial group of merry pranksters would then trot giddily back down the road to my house to complete the roughly 3.25 mile ramble.

The scenic run is a round trip adventure now, with walkers and nature observers more than welcome to attend, but if Sequoia Glen is run hard and true, you’ll feel like a boxer taking off the gloves after a tester of a 12-round bout with gravity. But distance runners know how to extract pleasure from the endless struggle. For me, that has always been the allure of taking on Sequoia’s endless climbs.

And to Willey, Cline, Paul Driskill, Candelario DeLuera, Nancy Reinisch and Jimmy Farris: I wish you could join us on this last flight up to Sequoia Glen. The world has been a little darker without your light. You all continue to be an inspiration, even on the other side.

Fly free.

The 21st Sequoia Glen 5K Road and Trail Run will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. Registration, which will begin at 2 p.m. on race day, is $20 for adults and $10 for those under 18 years of age. All proceeds from the race will be donated to local animal shelters and the Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation in Silt. Costumes are encouraged in celebration of Halloween. For race info call 970-945-0979.

Mike Vidakovich writes freelance for the Post Independent.

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