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Vidakovich: End-of-winter run will benefit animal shelters

Mike Vidakovich
sports@postindependent.com
Mike Vidakovich
COL-Vidakovich-gpi-mug

It will be six years ago this coming August that I drove down to the Rifle Animal Shelter and picked up Charlotte the cat.

The shelter’s advertisement in the paper at the time said that Charlotte, a 3-year-old black female, was “missing a leg, but doesn’t seem to notice.”

Charlotte, who has become my best buddy in life, does indeed get around pretty well with only one back leg. In basketball terms, you could say that when she gets up a head of steam, Charlotte can full-court press and run the fast break with the best of them.

I also have a calico named Jenny who was in her final days on kitty death row in an Eastern Slope shelter. I was contacted by Andrea, the nice lady here in Glenwood who operates the K9 Rescue Referral that takes dogs and cats out of high-kill Eastern Slope shelters in hopes of placing them in homes in our area. I agreed to take Jenny on a foster-care basis for a week or two until she could be adopted. That was four years ago. Jenny latched onto my heart, and still won’t let go.

I also have two other cats, Seabiscuit and Houdini, who just wandered onto the premises years ago and have taken up shop. Seabiscuit resides at my mom’s house, but I gladly look after the other three.

I guess I have always been more partial to animals than I have people. I do enjoy little kids and old folks, though. The old people have great stories and wisdom to pass along, and they are usually very serene and at peace with life.

My attraction to little kids must come from the fact that they are pretty much like animals. If you disagree, just spend a day with a group of kindergarten students. You will come away asking this question: Animal, vegetable or mineral?

Helping out the animal shelters has always given me great pleasure. It’s the main reason that, along with the help of Bob Willey and Joe Mollica, I started the Sequoia Glen Run 16 years ago.

Now an annual 5K, Sequoia Glen began as an uphill, 1.5-mile grinder to a beautiful haven along Mitchell Creek that Willey and Mollica named Sequoia Glen for the towering spruce and pine trees that line the rugged jeep road that leads to it.

In the race’s early years, all of those who ran decided to stop in and visit Kenny Cline, who lived just a stone’s throw from the finish line. Ensuing years saw Kenny throw quite an “End of Winter” party for race participants. Kenny’s party became the highlight of race day, and the host would conclude the day’s festivities by sending us all bobbing and weaving back down the hill with a blast of his hunting rifle.

Paul Driskill, the local running legend who was never long on words, even stayed for the post-race shindig for awhile one year to be with his friends. That was a special gesture from Paul, who I know was more comfortable running 13 miles than he was in social gatherings.

Kenny Cline, Bob Willey and Paul Driskill will not be at this year’s Sequoia Glen 5K in bodily form, but you can bet they will run the hill in spirit with all who show up. The race will always honor these men, especially Willey, who ran the fish-hatchery hill to his beloved Sequoia Glen for many years of his extraordinary life.

Saturday, March 14, is the date to mark on your calendar for the 16th running of the Sequoia Glen 5K. The start time is 3 p.m., with the “End of Winter” party tradition to follow. All proceeds from the race will go to local animal shelters.

You can run fast, or walk slow. It doesn’t matter. Just bring $15 as your entry fee and have a good time looking at the scenery. You may even catch a glimpse of Bigfoot, who has been known to come out of winter hibernation on Sequoia Glen day.

No need to worry, Bigfoot is friendly. He may even pose to have his picture snapped with you at no extra charge.

It will turn out blurry, of course.

Mike Vidakovich is a freelance writer from Glenwood Springs. His column appears monthly in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.


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