Runners kick off holiday with 5-mile boogie

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Runners start the annual Boogie's Buddy 5 in Aspen on the Fourth of July last year. About 2,000 runners are expected to run the race tomorrow, and the town could reach record crowd levels this holiday weekend.
The Aspen Times file photo |

On your mark, get set — boogie.

More than 800 runners boogied five miles to start their Fourth of July celebration in Aspen on Friday morning.

The 39th annual Boogie’s Buddy 5, a benefit for the Aspen Buddy Program, attracted a traditionally diverse field that represented nearly 30 states and a half-dozen foreign countries.

John McNamara, of Austin, Texas, a recent college graduate, was the first runner to complete the circuitous course that started (and finished) in front of Boogie’s Diner in downtown Aspen.

He completed the route that included a jaunt down the Rio Grande Trail and a lung-testing climb up Cemetery Lane in 29 minutes, 55 seconds.

Aspen native and former University of Colorado runner Robin Severy-Pfautz won the women’s division in 34:15, extending a Severy family tradition of July Fourth race victories in Aspen.

“I was hoping to break 34 (minutes),” said Severy-Pfautz, ever the competitor. “But it felt pretty good. I’m not in the best of shape, but it was fun.”

She said the course for the Boogie’s Buddy 5 is a challenge because of the downhill start and the hills on the back side of the course.

“I know the course well,” she said. “I tried to pace it. You have to go out fast and maintain; it’s a brutal course.”

She credited second-place Lindsey Patterson, of Aspen, with pushing the pace in Friday morning’s race, which started under partly cloudy skies and finished under bright sunshine with high temperatures.

“Awesome Lindsey Patterson — she kept me going,” Severy-Pfautz said. “She was amazing; she’s fast.”

Severy-Pfautz, a physical therapist with her own practice in the valley, is a multiple winner of the Boogie’s Buddy race.

Brother Jon Severy, who also ran at the University of Colorado, also is a multiple winner of the July Fourth Aspen race.

“If I was to keep up the family tradition, now I would go run up Ute (Trail),” Severy-Pfautz said of brother Jon, who was known for his after-race workouts in Aspen (including a run up Ute Trail or Smuggler).

Older brother Chris Severy, yet another accomplished CU runner before his untimely death in a bicycling accident, started the family tradition of winning the Boogie’s Buddy run.

All three of the Severys still own school records at Aspen High School.

Another former college standout added his name and school to the list of overall Boogie’s Buddy winners.

“I just graduated from the University of Texas,” said the 23-year-old McNamara, who was a prep standout at St. Andrews in Austin.

He ran cross country and track and focused on track at UT.

“My season ended in late May, so I’m on a little break now,” said McNamara, a two-time All-Big 12 track runner.

He said he enjoyed Friday’s five-mile run — except for the big hill.

“It wasn’t too hard until that big hill. I started feeling that in my lungs,” he said.

McNamara, an Academic All-Big 12 selection for the Longhorns, is in the process of applying to medical school. He said he’s in Aspen for a big family gathering over the holiday weekend.

“I had some world-class teammates to train with (at the University of Texas),” McNamara said. “It made me better and better.”

He finished his collegiate career with a 3:45 best time in the 1,500-meter run (equivalent to a 4:01 mile). He also ran the 800 meters and the 3,000-meter steeplechase in college. He competed in indoor track, as well.

“This is a great way to start a celebration on the Fourth of July,” McNamara said.

Josh Meyer, of Aspen, finished second to McNamara in 30:55.

Robbie LaRocque, of Aspen, another recent college graduate, finished third overall (31:16).

“I started out the first two miles faster than I had hoped,” said LaRocque, who completed studies at the University of Denver last month. He recently moved to Aspen.

“About Mile 4, that uphill was brutal. But toward the end, there’s a downhill. That’s relieving,” said LaRocque, a triathlete who does sprint and Iron Man events. “It was fun.”

Robbie George, of Aspen, was fourth, with Seamus Crowley, also of Aspen, fifth.

Complete results for Friday’s Boogie’s Buddy 5 are available online at the timing company website at