RIDGWAY – Looking for an excuse to get out with your friends and family for a walk or run in the crisp cool air amidst gorgeous fall colors while supporting a good cause? The third annual Ridgway Rhythm Run 5K/10K is right around the corner, on Saturday, Oct. 19.
Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities from throughout the region are encouraged to participate.
The 5K out-and-back course starts and ends in Ridgway on Railroad Street (next to the tennis courts and Hartwell Park) and follows the Uncompahgre River Trail bike path as far as Dennis Weaver Memorial Park, looping around the park’s giant eagle sculpture before following the river back into town along the same route.
The 10K course traces a beautiful meandering loop along the Uncompahgre River Trail, then out along country roads through rolling pastures and back to town against a backdrop of the Sneffels and Cimarron mountain ranges. Water and Gatorade stations will be available along the way.
The race, sponsored by the Ridgway Secondary School music department, is a fundraiser for outstanding student musicians from Ridgway, Ouray and Telluride who have been nominated to participate in the 2014 Colorado Ambassadors of Music European Tour. The program, which dates back to 1970, transports over 250 of the “best of the best” high school musicians and choir members from Colorado to perform across Europe each summer.
Music directors from high schools across the state nominate students based on their personal character, maturity and musical accomplishments.
The Ridgway Secondary School has sent a small group of student musicians on the CAM European Tour every year since 2003. This year, RSS band director Kathryn Kubinyi has invited several musicians from Ouray and Telluride high schools to participate as well.
“I think what’s really special is that they get to perform in an nice-sized orchestra or band,” said Rhythm Run Race Director and Founder Toni Cotton, whose son Kyle (now a cadet at the Air Force Academy) participated in the program in 2012. “For Kyle to be in a section with 15 other French horn players was amazing.”
The camaraderie with other students from across the state, paired with the opportunity to become a more polished and refined musician and the exposure to different European audiences and cultures, makes CAM a unique and valuable experience for young musicians – particularly those from small, rural schools, Cotton said.
Several community organizations including the Mt. Sneffels Education Foundation and the Ouray County Performing Arts Guild provide grants and scholarships to students participating in CAM. But the students must also work hard throughout the year to raise enough money for their trip with fundraising events including the upcoming Rhythm Run and a walkathon and salon concert in the spring.
Many community businesses have thrown their generous support behind the cause as well, with sponsorship dollars that offset the roughly $2,000 that it costs to put on the Ridgway Rhythm Run each year, said Cotton.
Online registration for the third annual Ridgway Rhythm Run is available through Oct. 17 on the Ridgway School District’s website, ridgway.k12.co.us; look for a tab for the event under the “quicklinks” column on the left side of the page.
Participants can pick up registration packets Friday, Oct. 18, 4-6 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 19, 8-11 a.m. at the main entrance of Hartwell Park, directly across from Mountain Market. The first 100 entrants get a long-sleeved race-ready technical T-shirt.
The 5K/10K run starts at noon. Walkers in both events set out at 11:30 a.m.
After races, there will be a small reception and an awards ceremony at the picnic shelter near the restrooms in Hartwell Park.
The Ridgway Rhythm Run is an official event in the annual Ouray County Race Series, which offers a varied menu of seven local foot races from April through October, including the Mud Fest 5K in Ridgway in April, the Compassion 5K in Ouray in May, the Trail Town 10 Miler in Ridgway in June, the Ourayce 10K in Ouray in July, the Mt. Sneffels Marathon/Half-Marathon in August, the Ouray Mountain Trail Run in September and the Rhythm Run in October.
Runners who complete all seven of this year’s events, or who run in six of them and volunteer in the seventh, will get an embroidered technical running jacket at the Rhythm Run award ceremony, said Series Director John Ferguson.
For more information about the Ouray County Race Series, visit the Mt. Sneffels Marathon website, mtsneffelsmarathon.com, which has a page dedicated to the series.
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