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High Spirits at Niwot Trot


Last updated 9/28/2017 at Noon

Photo by Vicky Dorvee Emmet Verhoogen and Cormac Easter, NES 4th graders, enjoying festivities after the race.

The weekend’s low pressure system had nothing on the high spirits of the Niwot Trot runners. Sunday morning’s cool air and teasing drizzle made for a beautiful setting to run a 5K, to feel the energy of the community, and to contribute to a wonderful cause.

Niwot Elementary School’s PTAC organizes the annual race to raise money for the para-professionals who serve NES. The twelfth year of the Niwot Trot brought out 429 entrants, a record number for the event.

Participants and spectators were treated to pre-race coffee courtesy of Ampersand Coffee Roasters in Gunbarrel, and post-race ice cream sandwiches courtesy of Cold Stone Creamery. Premium sponsors, Stapp Interstate Toyota of Frederick and White Castle Hamburgers provide financial donations to offset the event’s costs. In total, 25 sponsors provided financial and in-kind donations. In-kind donations went toward generous awards and raffle prizes.

This year’s event followed the same amped up race format as last year’s race – a flat, fast route and the excitement of it being a professionally timed course. In the hands of an all-volunteer group, implementation of the event went very smoothly.

Volunteers included Race Director Gretchen Johnson, her assistant, Amanda Burdette, Niwot Elementary School PTAC board members, and 25 parent/community volunteers. The group did everything from finding sponsors for the event to getting the word out to the community, from putting up cones on the route the morning of the event to the set up/break down at Whistle Stop Park, and from registering participants to marshalling on the course.

A fast-tempo mix of highly runnable and inspirational tunes was broadcast by Funkofino who provided the audio system. Organizers of the event specially selected the music to set the tone for the festive, high energy event. Just before 9 o’clock, the volume of the music went up and runners were instructed to move to the start line.

Focus for the event was on the kids who were eager to take on the 3.1 mile route. As the shorter, younger participants in the race took their places in the front of the queue, enthusiasm in the form of laughing and loud conversations ensued. Wigs, capes, tutus, Niwot Trot T-shirts and big smiles were plentiful.

When they heard the word “Go,” they were off and running , shouting with excitement. The group quickly stretched out to hit the streets of old town Niwot on the out and back course. “It’s so fun for the runners to see each other coming and going during the race” Johnson said.

Fourth-grade buddies Emmett Verhoogen and Cormac Easter said they mostly stayed together along the whole course. It was Emmett’s fourth time doing the Niwot Trot and Cormac’s first time. They said they’d run this far before, but never this fast. “My feet hurt a little at the end,” Cormac remarked. His favorite part of the morning came after the finish line – ice cream. “It felt so good to finish,” Emmett said.

NES Principal, Nancy Pitz, NES Dean Laura Spratt, NES PTAC President Niki Frea, along with many other elementary school staff and PTAC executive board members were in attendance to run and walk with the students and to help out during the event.

Every youth runner who completed the race was draped with a finisher medal after crossing the finish line. Prizes were awarded to the top three overall runners for each grade - kindergarten through fifth grade. Each individual grade level’s male and female winner was acknowledged with a prize.

Ryder Evans, last year’s overall race winner and male youth winner, was back to defend his title. The NES fifth grader powered his way to a first-place finish once again at a record pace for the event with a time of 21:48. He was followed closely by top overall adult male, Tom Yulsman, who finished the race in 21:54.

Female youth winner Rylie Cahill, a fifth-grader at Dawson School, had a strong finish at 26:19. Last year Cahill took second place in that division. Top overall female adult winner was Sunset Middle School student, Eva Klingbeil, who set a new female course record of 22:17. And the top overall adult female was Mary Codevilla with a time of 25:02.

Johnson summarized the event by saying, “Soggy weather couldn’t dampen the energy pumping out of the Whistle Stop Park.” The event was deemed a great success by Johnson, with records set for the number of participants and fast finishing times. But, more importantly, the community came together for a wonderful morning and helped to ensure excellent educational resources for the students at NES.


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