With the sun shining and a light breeze blowing, 168 runners set out Saturday from the Mancos Public Library to compete in the Cowboy Half Marathon 5K, and Fun Run.
The annual fundraiser for the Mancos Public Library drew numerous community members and several businesses that provided refreshments and entertainment.
Among the many familiar faces at this year’s race was former Mancos High School athletic standout Ro Paschal, who recently completed his sophomore year on the Adams State University’s cross-country and track teams.
Showcasing the powerful stride and determination that made him one of the top runners in his school’s history, Paschal eased to a victory in the 5K with a time of 17 minutes, 40.01 seconds before taking a moment to describe what makes the Cowboy Half Marathon special.
“It’s great to see the entire community out enjoying the weather,” Paschal said. “This is a great event every year. I’m not in the best shape right now, so I decided to do the 5K, and I had a great time. It was more of a workout for cross-country for me.”
Also participating was former Mancos High School standout Caleb Yoder, who recently completed his freshman year at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.
Standing near former teammates, teachers and community members, Yoder lauded atmosphere that has defined the Cowboy Half Marathon.
“I was running along with a woman from Durango who had never run here,” Yoder said. “I’m sure that she doesn’t come to Mancos much, so something like this just brings people from other towns to Mancos. It’s cool to see new people, and it’s cool to see all of the familiar faces and stuff.”
Among the local businesses that provided food, concessions and door prizes were Osprey Packs, P&D Grocery, Absolute Bakery, Zuma Natural Foods and Four Dope Gringos.
Rocky Mountain Timing provided electronic timing for the half-marathon and 5K races, and KSJD radio host Tom Yoder entertained a large crowd of fans and competitors with an eclectic mix of music.
Finishing behind Paschal in the 5K was Diana Davis of Durango, 21:18, and Taylor Gasman of Fruita, 23:06. Ian Huang of Durango took top honors in the half-marathon, 1:21:47. Kenneth Rennick of Meeker finished second, 1:22:35, and Mancos High School alum Simon Kearns finished third, 1:25:04.
Seventy-eight runners completed the half-marathon, and 98 runners finished the 5K. Awards were given to top overall finishers and top finishers in multiple age groups, and numerous prizes were raffled off after the event.
“I think in a lot of small towns, there isn’t a whole lot to do,” former Mancos High School cross-country runner Teslin Stecher said. It’s important to get running and have some fun.”