5K runners taking steps for healthy foods | AspenTimes.com

5K runners taking steps for healthy foods

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Runners head out at the start of the Food & Wine 5K Charity Run on Friday morning at Rio Grande Park.
Dale Strode / The Aspen Times |

A teenager taking steps for healthier food?

Believe it.

Teenage runner Jack Stovitz of California, a part-time Aspenite, won the Food & Wine 5K Charity Run on Friday morning for the second consecutive year.

He immediately was congratulated in the finish area by Michel Nischan — famous chef, leader in the sustainable food movement and cofounder of the Food & Wine Charity Run.

The Aspen 5K raises money for Wholesome Wave, a national nonprofit established to help make fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables available to families everywhere.

Carbondale’s Amy Rollins won the women’s race Saturday in the fourth annual Food & Wine 5K, adding to a rich family legacy. She joined her sister, Megan Lund Lizotte, as Food and Wine winners in Aspen.

“It’s fun to see so many people out on a beautiful day,” Rollins said as runners continued to make their way across the finish line at Rio Grande Park. “And I’m so happy to support a great cause.”

Rollins, a former Basalt prep standout who went on to run at Concordia University in Irvine, California, said she hasn’t been doing much speed work of late in her running workouts.

“I just wanted to have fun. I haven’t done anything fast in a while,” Rollins said. “I took the first couple miles as a tempo run and then tried to push the third mile.”

No problem, except for the finish.

“But this course … the first mile is always so fast, and then the last mile and a half are all uphill. They tend to hurt, and I was keeping that in mind,” said Rollins, who plans to run in the Strawberry Shortcut in Glenwood Springs on Sunday. “This is a good tune-up.”

The Aspen 5K course took runners from Rio Grande Park through the West End and then down the trail behind the Aspen Meadows to the Rio Grande Trail.

From there, the runners headed back uphill to the finish at the park.

Stovitz, the standout prep runner from Southern California, said he had a wildlife experience en route to Friday morning’s victory.

He started down the trail behind the Aspen Meadows and immediately encountered Bambi.

“I actually ran into a deer … it was on that singletrack,” Stovitz said. “I had to stop. I was afraid I would scare it.”

Stovitz said he hollered and the deer loped off the trail.

“That was fun,” said Stovitz, 17, who will be a senior in high school in the fall.

He’s set to run cross country and track in California.

He said that he and two other runners started fast, but the two quickly fell back.

Stovitz joined another runner for a time.

“But I wanted a good workout, so I went off on my own,” said Stovitz, who led from mile 2 to the finish. He completed the course in 18 minutes and change.

Stovitz is back in Aspen this summer and working at Creperie du Village, which he credited for his fitness.

“I really think that working the floor at Creperie du Village has helped my endurance,” Stovitz said with a laugh.

The son of Ken and Laura Stovitz, Jack Stovitz said he’ll be back next year to go for a Food & Wine 5K three-peat in Aspen.

Nishan, the notable chef who leads the Wholesome Wave effort, said Friday’s turnout of more than 400 runners amounts to a victory for healthy foods.

“Every year, this gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Nishan, who formerly operated a gourmet restaurant co-owned with Paul Newman. “It’s just amazing.”

He explained that the fundraising efforts in Aspen helped the drive to double the value of food stamps at farmers markets across the country.

“The Food & Wine name and the Aspen vibe behind it bring other companies to the table. It’s like the energy of the folks here,” Nishan said. “It’s snowballed.”