Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

This Sunday at 8 a.m. the rope drops, the gun goes off, the clock starts, the… you get the picture. The Boogie’s Diner Buddy 5 Mile Race starts. Are you ready?

This past week I ran the course solo. You know, just to make sure it was in good shape. Who am I kidding? I ran it just to make sure I could finish it and not embarrass myself. Of course one man’s embarrassment is another’s major accomplishment. I ran the course in a comfortable 49 minutes and might be able to pair a few seconds – perhaps even a minute – off in the group run.

For last year’s top five runners, all of whom finished in less than 31 minutes, my ability to break the 50-minute mark may seem tortoise slow. But with a goal of mere survival, five 10-minute miles seem pretty, well, acceptable.

But that’s not really the point anyway is it? I mean the Boogie’s Diner Buddy 5 Mile Race (it takes nearly as long to type the official name as it does to run the race) is really all about the “Buddy” part and not the race part.

The event is a way for the Buddy Program to raise funds to support their efforts in the Roaring Fork Valley. Since 1973, the Buddy Program has been providing Valley youth with screened and trained mentors who provide a balanced and stable influence. These volunteers work with kids who have special needs, are at- risk youth or who just need some adult support. The goal is to create inspiration, both for the young person and their Big Buddy.

If you want to be a mentor, or a Big Buddy, you can go to buddyprogram.org and fill out an application or you can call (970) 925-2130 for more information.

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If you want to just help out, you can register for the race at Boogie’s Diner or, again, online at the same website, just click the icon on the front page. The cost for the race is $40 for individuals in either the five-mile run or the 1-mile walk, or $80 for a family to participate in the 1-mile walk. Online registration closes today at midnight so get to it. You can also register in person at Boogie’s, though the cost goes to $50 on race day.

The course this year is the same as last. It begins with a short trot through town, then down to the Rio Grande Trail, around the Skate Park, and then downhill all the way to Cemetery Lane. You’ll be feeling pretty good at that point, what with the help of gravity on the trail, but then it gets a little more difficult.

The big hill up Cemetery lane can sap you, but if you can run it there will be a sense of accomplishment that takes hold and can power you through for a bit. The most difficult part of the run for me is the last part of Cemetery Lane just before you cross over the bridge over the river. It is deceptively steep.

Coming into town there is a good downhill slope that seems to reward you once you get on Hopkins, but beware the little uphill at the end before you get to town. It can grab you.

The Big Finish is what you really want. That moment when you pass the Paradise Bakery, see the finish line, raise your arms and check your time.

47:30?

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