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‘Irish toast' lets runner celebrate in advance of Rescue Run
Jim Beckenhaupt offered a novel way to celebrate New Year’s Day without struggling to stay awake to watch the ball finally drop.
“I celebrate the Irish way,” Beckenhaupt said. “When it’s 5 (p.m.) here, it’s midnight Dublin time. You have your champagne at 5 so that way I’m ready for the race and don’t have to stay up real late.”
The 65-year-old hit the trails at Palmer Park on Tuesday, along with 865 other runners, in the 35th annual Rescue Run, which benefits El Paso County Search and Rescue. With that turnout, the 2013 version achieved a record, surpassing last year’s total by six runners.
Beckenhaupt estimated that he’s taken part in at least 30 of the 35 events at Palmer Park. His outfit doubled as a historical walk back in time; his bright orange shorts were the giveaway at the debut in 1979, while his white T-shirt came from the run four years later.
“I must have a collection of this stuff at home,” Beckenhaupt said. “The shirts used to say ‘Get Lost.’ That first year, it was a blizzard. I had icicles hanging off my eyebrows, mustache, beard, everything. After that, it became the race to do every year.”
Tuesday’s conditions, although chilly with a light dusting of snow on the ground, offered no comparison to past runs in extreme elements. That didn’t matter for Western State sophomore Joshua Simkins, who avenged a close loss last year with a four-second triumph (17 minutes, 25 seconds) over Simon Gutierrez in the 5K race.
“This is becoming the race to do to keep in shape over the break,” said Simkins, a 2011 The Classical Academy graduate. “This is my third time to run it. It’s nice to get a break over the holidays, but I don’t want too much time off.”
Amanda Ewing (22:02) claimed the women’s division title in the 5K, winning in her Rescue Run debut and adding to her list of accomplishments, including a win in last year’s St. Patrick Day 5K and eight victories in Pike Peak Road Runners winter and fall series events since 2010.
Scott Spillman topped the 365 contestants who longed for the 10K challenge, hitting the finish line in 36:30. Connilee Walter finished 14th overall but first among women in 42:13, running her Rescue Run streak to three.
While that streak is impressive, consider the longtime feat turned in by Bill Middlebrook.
Every day since March 31, 2010, the 70-year-old online Master of Business Administration course instructor at Colorado Christian has recorded a run of at least one mile, putting him on a distinguished list of runners certified by the U.S. Running Streak Association.
Tuesday’s Rescue Run ran his streak to 1,009. It’s not the current 2,656-day streak of Colorado-Colorado Springs cross country coach Mark Misch for the city’s best, but Middlebrook’s motivation comes from how he feels over of where he’s ranked.
“That means I’m never sick, so I’m blessed,” said Middlebrook, who taught for 26 years at Washington State, then moved to Colorado Springs in 2004 to be closer to his two sons and six grandchildren, many of whom competed in the Rescue Run as well. “I want to do this as long as I can, but there’s no goal in mind. I guess I’ll shoot for 2,000.”