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By TIFFANY JEHOREK
Special to the Herald Times
MEEKER | The Park to Art Run Races held last Saturday, June 2 kicked off at 7 a.m. with the half marathon. This year’s races were a collaboration between the Meeker Arts and Cultural Center, Pioneers Healthcare Foundation, Meeker Farmers Market and ERBM Recreation and Park District. There were three races for competitors to choose from: the 5K, 10K and half marathon, which drew 86 participants, “a new record for the Park to Art Races,” said Chance Walker, recreation supervisor athletics/aquatics with ERBM. The races began and ended at Meekerpalooza, which took place this year on the courthouse lawn.
Runners in all races began by heading for the hills to the Phillip and Dorcas Jensen Memorial Park Trail System. Temperatures in the mid-30s were “near perfect,” said Aaron Grimes of Meeker, who came in fifth overall in the half marathon, first in his age group, with a time of two hours, 15 minutes, 14 seconds. Greg Krieger finished the half marathon in first place with a pace of seven minutes and 58 seconds per mile for a time of 1:44:26. Lisa Belmonte of Meeker took top honors for the females in the half marathon and finished fourth overall with a time of 2:04:19.
The 10K kicked off second and was won by Wyatt Mortenson, 15, of Craig, Colo with a time of 48:47. He was the first of all the racers to cross the finish line for the day.
“Such a fun and scenic run,” commented Jessica Berthelson of Meeker who took fourth place overall in the 10K and first female with a time of 1:13:47, “what you can enjoy anyway as you’re huffing and puffing up China Wall!” “Just a great day in our wonderful town,” said Berthelson. “Loved starting the day out with a beautiful run and then enjoying the afternoon with great music and of course rewarding myself with a delicious drink from the beer garden, while my kids ran around enjoying the fun activities!”
Overall the course and event “received great feedback this year,” Walker said. “We hope to grow the event every year.”
The 5K, won by Kenneth Rennick of Meeker with a time of 20:51, was the last of the races for the day. Rennick’s pace of 6:43 was 1:18 per mile faster than the closest competitor.
Top female racer in the 5K, Dessa Watson of Meeker, said about the race and Meekerpalooza, “It was all fabulous. Love this town. Love all the people.”
ERBM Recreation and Park District would like to thank all who helped with the setup,
including Aaron Grimes for his course design, Anthony Mazzola for water distribution, Meeker High School’s cross country team and Kent Walter for serving as course marshals and MAD Racing who did a great job with timing the racers.
The next chance for a race in Meeker is the Run for Your Life 5K on July 4, at the downtown plaza lawn. The race begins at 7:30 a.m., you may register now at runforyourlife5k.itsyourrace.com or by visiting guest services at ERBM.