Strawberry Shortcut is a Father’s Day tradition once again; Garrard sweeps
As much as the Strawberry Shortcut foot race in Glenwood Springs is a competitive event, Sunday marked a return to a Father’s Day tradition that fell to the wayside the past two years during the pandemic.
Canceled in 2020 and held in late August last year under new race directors Mike Kishimoto and Abbey Ehlers in order to bide a little time for people to be able to gather safely again, the plan was to bring it back to Strawberry Days weekend and Father’s Day Sunday — which they did for the 45th running of the Shortcut races.
“I just love this tradition. We’ve come down here every year during Strawberry Days when they had it before,” said Ean Steele of Glenwood Springs, who was watching the 5K runners cross the finish line while waiting to run the Nancy Reinisch 1-mile event with his daughters, Allyson and Kayla, and son, Joey.
“It’s great, the kids get to run, have some food, listen to the music. … We just love it here,” he said.
Keith Bushman shook off the after-effects of the early morning 10K event to run the Willey Coyote 5K with his daughter, Cassara, and the 1 mile with his son, Onyx.
“She pushed my limits on that 5K, for sure,” Bushman said. “This is our first year doing it, and it’s just a great chance to be out here with the community, and sharing my love of running with my kids. We’ll probably be back every year now.”
Cassara agreed it was some nice dad time.
“I really like running, and running with my dad is one of my favorite things to do, because we just have a lot of fun and get to go to a lot of beautiful places,” she said. “It’s just really fun to go see the sights with him.”
Justin Garrard of Carbondale, who normally runs marathons, came out for some serious interval training, running all three Strawberry Shortcut events along with a few other hardcores.
Difference was, he won all three in impressive fashion, taking the 10K with a time of 33 minutes, 42 seconds, the 5K in 16:09 and the 1 mile in 5:07.
Originally from Kansas, he moved to the Roaring Fork Valley three years ago and is training for some marathons later this year.
“This was just a really good workout today,” Garrard said, adding he got a little lucky in the 5K when race leader Jeovanni Mendez accidentally took a wrong turn early in the race. Mendez wound up second in 17:15.
“Honestly, Jeo probably would have won the 5K if he hadn’t taken that wrong turn. He was cookin’,” Garrard said. “It was good competition, though, and it’s just a fun part of Strawberry Days.”
A pair of Glenwood Springs High School alums, Amy Joyce and Emily Worline, won the women’s divisions of the 10K and 5K, respectively.
“It was a lot of fun,” Joyce said. “I hadn’t done the Strawberry Shortcut in a long time, and the course was super fun, with all the bike paths giving a good ‘show me’ of Glenwood. I felt great, and the weather was perfect.”
Worline is training for her senior year of cross country at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and said she likes the “pressure-free” atmosphere of her hometown races.
“It’s always just nice to see everyone out and the sense of community,” she said.
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