The sun dawned brightly over Rye last Saturday for the 9th running of the Run for Rio. This 5k race, the only race held in the Greenhorn Valley, has become a tradition for young and old alike. The clear skies and sunshine may have helped encourage the large showing of participants, over 60 runners and walkers in all.
Pacing the parking lot at Rye High School, where the race began and finished, Race Director Jeff Arnold helped break the pre-race tension with his laid-back race style. Barefoot and wearing a jaunty straw hat, he warmed up the starting line crowd, then set them loose with the words, “Ready. Set. Have Fun!”
The runners and walkers left the high school parking lot, crossed over Hwy 165 and into the town of Rye. The hilly 5k/3.1 mile course followed Boulder Street, passing cows, curious horses, and over the splashing creek. Turning east on Elna St., participants enjoyed a slight downhill respite, before turning north on Hunter. After crossing Greenhorn Road, the course wound past the Scott family home, where more horses paused in their pastures to watch the spectacle. The last major hill of the race awaited just around the corner. Once back onto Boulder, the racers settled into the last mile of the event, and headed back to the high school and the finish line.
After finishing the run, the Lions Club offered a pancake breakfast to many hungry takers. Children picked wildflowers and finishers milled around stretching and chatting. Race results were soon posted. The overall male winner, Rich Hadley, is a Rye High School graduate and a familiar face at the awards ceremony, having won the race 5 times in the past several years. The overall female winner, Teri Pritchard, is a mother of 3. She moved to Colorado City with her family from Grand Junction less than a year ago, but has always been an accomplished runner and is active in the local racing community.
The event commemorates the life of Rio Martinez, who died in an accident during his senior year at Rye School. It also encourages and reminds everyone of the importance of being an organ donor, and the gift of life that Rio gave after his death. His heart was given to a Centennial resident, Dave Karnell, who celebrated Rio’s life by walking in the race, also. Congratulations to everyone who participated, and we hope to see you again next year!