Glenwood’s Gavin Harden wins Strawberry Shortcut 10K run |

Glenwood’s Gavin Harden wins Strawberry Shortcut 10K run

Josh Carney and Mike Vidakovich
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Overcast skies threatened as rain and cold, dreary temperatures tried to put a damper on Sunday morning’s Strawberry Shortcut 5K and 10K through the heart of downtown Glenwood Springs, but a little rain and cold temperatures never stopped anyone from having a good time.

With rain moving in and temperatures sitting around 45 degrees Sunday morning, runners lined up in front of the Bank of Colorado on Grand Avenue for the exciting start of the 5K and 10K, setting off the final day of the Strawberry Days Festival.

Under the leadership of new race director Mike Kishimoto, the 42nd edition of the Strawberry Shortcut kicked off at 7 a.m. with the 10K (6.2-mile) run taking a one-year detour onto a makeshift course through downtown Glenwood and out into the west end of down on the Glenwood Meadows bike path, before reaching the finish line on Devereux Road and the Rio Grande Trail.

Gavin Harden, a former Glenwood Springs standout distance runner in cross country and track and field, reached the finish line first in the 10K, winning with a time of 35 minutes, 40 seconds. The last time the community saw Harden run in a competitive distance race was the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs at the 4A state championship track and field meet in JeffCo Stadium in mid-May.

With 50 other runners chasing him, the win was a local accolade that the soon-to-be University of Colorado at Colorado Springs cross country and track and field athlete won’t soon forget.

“It was fun out there and it was nice to run with Henry (Barth),” Harden said. “This race is special and it’s always a good time.”

Harden and teammate Henry Barth ran stride-for-stride through most of the course until Harden managed a decisive surge in the last quarter mile down Colorado Avenue to the finish line.

“We ran together until he (Harden) threw in a little Usain Bolt on me in that last stretch,” joked Barth, who also will continue his stellar running rituals at Fort Lewis College in Durango come September. Barth’s runner-up time was 35:50.

Third-place overall was Basalt’s Watkins Fulk-Gray with a time of 36:21. Fulk-Gray recently won the Basalt Half-Marathon earlier in the month.

The women’s 10K champion was Kate Phillips of Carbondale with a time of 37:52. Phillips’ time was good enough for fourth overall in the 10K.

After becoming a new mom and experiencing a winter of non-running due to various injuries, Phillips was just happy to be on the roads again and fully healthy for the first time in awhile.

“This was my first time running the Shortcut,” said Phillips, who teaches part-time at CMC. “All of my friends said I needed to give it a try. It feels really good to be able to run again. I’ve had some disc trouble in my back and it was tough not being able to run.”

Aspen’s Ashley Connolly (42:09) and New Castle’s Angela Dunn (45:46) rounded out the podium finishers for the women.

There were 51 total runners in the 10K race.

The 5K portion of the Shortcut, which had 163 participants, saw Rob Glassmire take the overall title with a time of 15 minutes, 59 seconds. Ryan Lesmez finished in second place at 16:51. Harden and Barth turned around from the 10K, got in an extra 3.1-mile workout, and posted top four finishes in the shorter race with Harden at 16:52 and Barth finishing in 18:12.

Also doing the daily double after finishing second in the 10K, Connolly won the women’s 5K with a time of 21:31. Runner-up was Sarah Koehler at 22:30 and in third place was Andrea Arnhold of Eagle in 23:52.

Race director Kishimoto was thrilled with the morning’s events in spite of the damp and frigid late June weather.

“All the people that showed up today were so enthusiastic and positive,” Kishimoto said. “My staff and I are hoping to build this into a big community event in the years to come.”

The Strawberry Shortcut, which also offered a 1-mile family fun run to close the morning’s activities, serves as a fundraiser for the Colorado Special Olympics.

The 4th of July’s Firekracker 4k Run, which will take place at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood, is next up on the calendar for area runners and walkers.

Top 15 Overall. *Denotes Female. 10K: 1. Gavin Harden, 35:40; 2. Henry Barth, 35:50; 3. Watkins Fulk-Gray, 36:21; 4. Kate Phillips*, 37:52; 5. Josh Veil, 39:06; 6. Dalton Deter, 40:38; 7. Thomas Simmens, 41:36; 8. Phil Dunn, 42:03; 9. Ashley Connolly*, 42:09; 10. CJ Alberts, 42:18; 11. John Moff, 43:58; 12. Nick Croissant, 44:01; 13. Josh Nye, 44:50; 14. Brad Palmer, 45:01; 15. Will Berkheimer, 45:14.

5K: 1. Rob Glassmire, 15:59; 2. Ryan Lesmez, 16:51; 3. Gavin Harden, 16:52; 4. Henry Barth, 18:12; 5. Watkins Fulk-Gray, 19:04; 6. Reilly Anderson 20:46; 7. Hunter Casey, 21:03; 8. Ashley Connolly*, 21:31; 9. Sarah Koehler*, 22:30; 10. Russel Bollig, 22:53; 11. Josh Nye, 22:57; 12. Chris Basten, 23:16; 13. Brad Palmer, 23:30; 14. Johnny Utah, 23:32; 15. Andrea Arnhold*, 23:52.