March 2023 The Strider

Mesa Monument Striders organizes runs on beautiful trails of the western Colorado's desert.
28 Mar, 2023

T h e   s t r i d e r


THANKS to, Tommy E., Andreya K., Sheryl Douglas (who brought a necessary OMISSION to the Editor’s attention) for contributions ~  

NEXT ISSUE à Probably more MOAB & FRUITA Ultra & Desert stuff, and

                              TORTOISE AND HARE   6 MILE RELAY (Feb. 25)


1.  MARSHALL STEEL      29:11       JOHN BERG            27:53                57:04

2.  DEE PLUNKETT 31:11       ANDY WINNEFELD  27:27      58:38

3.  TOM ELA           31:09       BILL READE            27:53                59:01

4.  SHERYL DOUGLAS     36:28       OLIVER BERG   22:57            59:25

WEATHER, WEATHER, we got lucky this time. Rain ended by 7:30, clouds had kept the temperature up, and the big wind from Friday was gone. Deep breath and hope runners show for chance to win chocolate bunnies. Eight hardy souls showed plus the good help.

Making pairings was interesting as most hadn’t run a 5K recently but 5 had done the Freezer and almost all claimed to run nearly the same times. SO, did my best guesses for the pairings and amazingly all finished in the order of the guess (probably never happened before). Result, the teams all finished within 2:21. The biggest miss was Oliver Berg’s fast 22:57 Hare time, running fast to make sure his dad didn’t overtake him. With this small group and the times of all looking close, Tortoises running their 3 mile leg first and handing off their Hare didn’t seem practical, so all ran at once and we added up team times. Good efforts by all made for a good race and happy runners, especially those three teams winning chocolate bunnies.

If club runners want to check their fitness, run a time trial, and join like soles/souls at the cost of a dollar or two instead of $30 to $100 then attend MMS events and have some fun.

Speedy Striders shown at the 3/18 Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab.

Kara Roper was the #1 female with a considerable gap over #2. She was 15th overall in 1:21:28. She obviously has passed along her great genes to her 12-year old son Owen who ran in 1:29:21 for 31st overall. Also on the men's side, Chris Sovacool blazed to a 7th overall finish in 1:18:33. Great work!

There were 707 finishers led by Patrick Smyth of Santa Fe who may have set a course record in 1:04:41.

Other locals that Tom Ela noticed:    Carina Helmig, age 21, 1:43:42

Vanessa Lichtenberg, 35, 1:48:03                    Alex Chaffetz, 52. 2:03:09 

Elise Larsen, 21, 2:03:57                       David  Larsen, 51, 2:03:58

Sarah Heffner, 39, 2:06:57                     India Young, 20, 2:10:55

John Schroeder, 60, 2:22:23                  Melanie Jackman, 34, 2:23:49

Tallin Nieman, 22, 2:24:45                     Kassi Shakespear, 26, 2:29:01

Emma Norton, 20, 2:32:21                     Stacey Zettle, 40, 2:33:53

Abbey Callaham, 20, 2:35:23                 Jessee Tompkins, 22, 2:38:26

Adam Poovey, 24, 2:39:28

There were 226 finishers in the companion 5-Mile race that included these locals:

Caleb  Barker, 21, 48:48              Kate Avery, 34, 50:47

Joanelle Morales, 40, 51:12         Christina Bruaski, 60, 1:01:32

The Striders Pi Day 3.14-Mile race on 3/14 was fun as always. Not only were the trails dry enough for an exciting course but there was pie waiting at the finish. Thanks to Tracy and Nick for hosting!   Fastest was IAN ROGERS (age 28) in 20:33.

2.  23:30, Ben Calvert, (31)          3. 24:31,Cody Esbenshade, 33   

4. 24:43, Alex Potuzak, 30           5. 24:56, Sergio Nevarez, 40

6. 31:29, Megan Sand, 32            7. 35:56, Bill Reade, 64     8. 36:00, Scott Hollmaier ,68

9. 37:30, Kate Avery, 34              10. 38:12, D Plunkett, 58   11. 41:51, Susan Bierman, 50

12. 44:00, Jay Sturrock, 47          13. 44:02, Rylie Sturrock, 7

14. 49:30, Charlee Sturrock, 2      15. 49:30, Nikki Sturrock, 42

          Shouldn’t Megan Sand have won an award for her time closest to π ?

MMS Directors meeting, January 23:  7 directors were present.  Andy, reporting on the state of the health of the area: “No cases of covid this past week.  First time in about 2 years”.  He added that “we’ve also been lucky with the flu” – things were bad in 2018.  The recyclable plastic-bag mystery at City Market has been solved!

          So far, we haven’t sent an insurance claim to the RRCA. . .  Two directors reminisced about their childhoods as “farm kids”, milking the cows.  Hey!  we did talk (some) about the MMS, finances are good.  We (MMS) will be timing the Grand Mesa Ultras and next Santa Cause.  Palisade is NOT putting on a half-marathon this year?  The Kokopelli Classic is questionable?  (Perhaps the MMS might “take it back.”)  We would have had the next meeting already but two directors had something much more important planned – BEACH TIME!

The M M S Directors, still (!?), are:

KARLA NEPHEW -- President (& Jaguar-Timing-System).

ANDY WINNEFELD – Vice-President (& frequent medical insight).

TOM ELA – Membership (among many other things).  ROSCO BETUNADA – Secretary, NL.

LARRY INGRAM -- Calendar, Race Director Consultant.  MARTIN WIESIOLEK -- Web Site &. SHERYL DOUGLAS (former President).  CONRAD COLE – Treasurer & Purchaser of Stuff.

Striders beanies and neck gaiters are now available.  Beanies are $15, neck gaiters $10 or if you pay cash, get the set of two for $20. Contact Karla, [email protected], or Tom, [email protected], or check them out at the weekly group runs.


          For submissions for next newsletter:  Email articles to [email protected]

Doesn’t have to be a ‘submission’!  Let me know of O-missions, etc.

or ‘regular’ mail to MMS, c/o Betunada, 230 Sunset Hills, Grand Jct., CO  81503



(phone #s, if any, are 970-area unless otherwise noted)

April 8, Saturday, 9 a.m.  WIDOWMAKER TRAIL RUNS – either 7-miles or 11 – or is the longer race 9.5?  Start @ trail-head/parking area 3 miles up Little Park Road.  773-3124

A wonderful low-cost trail race to jump start the season with the Striders!
The first half is mostly downhill which means the second half is a climb!  Race day signup.

April 15, Sat., 8 a.m.  AMASA-(back) Trail Runs, MOAB.  25 mi. or 15 or 10.5k

April 16, Sun., 8:30 a.m.  ELEVATE – 2.5k or 5k or 10k.  Las Colonias Park.

April 14 – 16, the DESERT-RATS TRAIL RUNNING FESTIVAL.  10K or Half-M or 50-miles!  Fruita –  100k on Friday?

     ALERT: The April 14-16 Desert Rats Trail Running Festival is selling out! Jump in quick. The Marathon and 10K have sold out but there's limited opportunity to still get in for those that can volunteer on Friday.

May 6, Saturday, 8:30 a.m.  FRUITA TRAIL HALF-MARATHON, North Fruita Desert

May 6 possible CINCO-CINCO 5K, Edgewater Brewery, 250-5387.

May 6, 10 a.m.  GIRLS ON THE RUN 5K, Fruita Comm. Center

May 13, 8 a.m.  HOGBACK HUSTLE 5K, New-Castle,

May 13, 6 a.m.  THELMA & LOUISE HALF-MARATHON, (women only, men are invited to help and watch!)  Along the river near Moab.

May 27, 8 a.m.  GARFIELD GRUMBLE, 5+ practically-never-level miles.  East Trail Head near Palisade.  Conrad, 986-4311 or Joe 243-4382

Group training run every Monday, 6 PM
4/3 Pollock Canyon Trailhead, run Pollock Bench Loop  

4/10 Mary's Loop Trailhead, I-70 Loma Exit    4/17 Devil's Canyon Trailhead  

4/24 Pollock Canyon Trailhead, run Flume Canyon Loop
    We will rotate through these four locations in this order through the season. For all but Mary's Loop, take Colo Hwy 340 south from Fruita across the river and turn right at Kings View Rd. Follow through the subdivision and onto the gravel road. Devil's Canyon parking is soon after on the left, Pollock parking is a couple of miles further on the left.
    We run in all conditions. Like the Thursday night group, this is casual and all abilities are welcome with various distances to choose from.  Tom 970-773-3124

Group training run every Thursday, 6 PM

Tabeguache Trailhead on Monument Road (Lunch Loops)   We'll be out there rain or shine. As always, this is casual and all shapes and speeds are welcome with various routes to choose from. We'll look out for you.   Questions: Tom 970-773-3124

MORE running websites: ( SJMR )    San Juan Mountain Runners, 631 S. 2nd Street, Montrose, CO  81401  

West Colorado GIRLS ON THE RUN: 

Steamboat Springs: – this site should show all you need to know about most (or all!) the Steamboat-area races.  Get on their e-mailing list! (road runners clubs of america)  and   colorado runner: 

Support the underwriters / sponsors of the MESA-MONUMENT STRIDERS:


The following:  Summit Canyon Mountaineering, ALPINE AUTO-HAUS, the FOOT SUPPORT GROUP, WEBCREATE.COM, and Dr. Andy Mohler, family practice, have assisted in keeping membership costs lower than they could be.  And:  they support running in the Grand Valley (& elsewhere).  Support them if you can!      

          ALPINE AUTO-HAUS, 539 BOGART LANE – (970) 248-8004

Consider this auto-repair/servicing shop – especially for your Audi or BMW or VW or MINI ~

FOOT SUPPORT GROUP  Foot/gait/orthotics/bracing/modification specialists 

“European Craftsmanship – Biomechanical Design”  3212 F Road, Clifton, CO  81520

888-242-3881     or, in the 970 area code:  434-2727  

Summit Canyon Mountaineering  461 Main Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501  

Ask about a possible MMS discount ~ (970) 243-2847 

Dr. Andy Mohler, family practitioner – with the Primary Care Partners PC, 3150 N. 12th (G.J., 81506), 245-1220

WEBCREATE.COM – just as it appears:  need help with your website? [email protected]    

BE-LATED Jan 7 CRC “Kickstart” 5k Fun Run Results:

The CRC Kickstart 5K & 1K Kids' Dash on January 7, 2023 was a great success! Over 200 participants came out to run and walk on a cold and muddy morning to see the site of the proposed community recreation center and to officially kick off the campaign for a community recreation center in GJ. The race was hosted by the GJ Community Center Campaign and supported by the Grand Junction Sports Commission.  While there was no official timing for the event, medallions were provided for the top 3 Mens & Womens finishers in the 5K and for the top 3 boys and girls finishers in the 1K Kids' Dash. In addition, Loki provided gear prizes for a drawing at the conclusion of the event.  (submitted by Andreya Krieves, with GJ Community Center Campaign.  Ms. K sent several photos – I especially enjoyed the close-up of some runners’ mud-covered legs and feet).

          Mens quickest:  James Roche 18:17     Adam Feigh 19:27     Albert Booth 19:38

Fastest Women:   Kara Roper 21:29    Michelle Oberndorf 22:11     Jennis Gillespie 23:01

We've lost a great old running friend Carl Schwenk, age 86, of Ridgway, CO who recently passed away. I chased him many times up Kendall Mtn and Imogene Pass hoping that my younger legs could take him on the downhill. This from his obit: Since moving to Ridgway in 1995 he had been an avid mountain trail runner. Carl held two course-age records at the Pikes Peak Marathon, and served 17 years on the Imogene Pass Run, CO Board of Directors.  – Tom

Striders very own Jeff Recker has written a novel that is now available! Many of you know him, his sense of humor and his running passion. All is on display here.
“I love this story and wish it for everybody.”

     The previous “link” will not be easy for our “paper NL” members – email the Editor and I can email the link back. 


February 11:  Fruita “Sweetheart” 5k & 10k

            This year’s “SweetHeart” runs had a fairly good turn-out:  64 finished the longer run, while 275 people did  the 5k.  GRANT ROPER, CHRIS SOVACOOL, & KARA ROPER were the fastest(s) in the 10k – Grant (age 42) had 36:16, with Chris (34)a minute-&-a-half back (37:41) and Kara (also a “master” – 41) recording women’s fastest, 37:44.  Marty Wacker (51 years young) was 4th, 38:43.  He was chased by 12-year-old Owen Roper (39:48).  Ella Unrein (16) was 2nd woman, 6th over-all in 40:52. 

7.  Ben Hauschulz (37), 42:03                8. Jennis Gillespie (3rd female, 27), 43:16

9. Ellen Conklin (35), 44:04                    10. Dakota Kramer (40), 45:11

11. Gwen Roper (10), 45:26                   64-years-young Bryan Baroffio was 13th, 46:18.

          ALEX FISHER, JAMES ROCHE, MAX ROBINSON, AND KAT ROBINSON were the fastest in the shorter race.  1. Fisher (18), 16:24       2. Roche (35), 16:51

3. M Robinson (29), 16:47           4. K Robinson (28), Women’s Winner, 19:20

5. Kevin Baker (50), Master’s Winner, 20:05     6. Joel Thatcher (41), 20:39

7. Sonya Johnson (13), 2nd lady, 20:43             8. Jonathan Gera (28, from Tennessee), 21:08

9. Andrew Buddecke (15), 21:18            10. Taylor Skinner, (16),Women’s 3rd, 21:21

12. David Anderson (58, from Kentucky), 22:55          15. John Ferguson (67), 23:39