Born to run

Harrison Walter (center) signs a letter of intent to run for Colorado Mountain College. His dad and coach, Hal, is third from the right.
Photo: Joy Parrish

My man Hal Walter recently arranged a small signing ceremony for his son, Harrison, who will be running cross country and track for Colorado Mountain College next year.

Harrison is on the autism spectrum, and so making the leap from high school to college may involve more gymnastics than it did for thee or me. Writes Hal in his Substack newsletter:

It’s been a long run for Harrison, who began his scholastic running career in middle school cross-country and track at Custer County, and then continued into high school. Seven years in all. In the first few years we didn’t know what direction he’d run when the gun went off — or if he’d actually run or melt down. We’re still working out the transition to college. He may be splitting his time in Leadville between online and in-person classes, and doing some workouts next fall with his old team — and coach — here in Westcliffe.

A tip of the Mad Dog mortarboard to Harrison and Hal for a job well done.

And speaking of jobs well done, Hal recently announced that he would be stepping down from MetaFaceButt to spend more time with his Substack newsletter. You can subscribe to that here.

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13 Responses to “Born to run”

  1. JD Says:

    Mega-kudos to Harrison and Hal on their accomplishments and upcoming adventures! Looking forward to continued great news from both! 🙂

  2. khal spencer Says:

    All the best to Hal and Harrison!

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    What a team those two are! congrats Harrison on another milestone in life.

  4. SAO' Says:

    Looks like a heckuva support system he’s got there. Pretty cool stuff can happen when you have the right folks in your corner.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Harrison’s peers have been marvelous, from what Hal tells me. I think back to my own childhood and the rampant assholery kids endured (and/or inflicted) and the mind, it boggles. Maybe there’s something to this whole rustic, small-town Western experience after all.

      • SAO' Says:

        I got to check out my middler’s “unified PE” class last week. It’s a special phys ed class for 8th grade volunteers who work with all of the differently-abled kids. I’m telling you, the kids are alright, just need to get some parents out of the way.

  5. JG Says:

    Wow – congratulations to Harrison, Hal and Harrison’s entire support group. This is a huge accomplishment! I work with young adults who are on the autism spectrum at our local bike Co-Op, so I understand some of the challenges. And yes – yay for small western towns. Keeping the towns small is yet another challenge…

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Good on you for working with the kids, JG. As a side effect of working with Harrison Hal found himself helping coach the school’s cross country and track teams. He even drives the bus to meets. Talk about multitasking on race day. …

      • SAO' Says:

        That was one of my favorite columns of the year.

        Can totally relate, story of my life, always on the 3A team watching the 5A kids get all the new gear. But no regrets. The kids who never had to work for anything, never heard another word from them.

        • Shawn Says:

          You can sure tell that Harrison is comfortable running downhill.

          In 20 or so years when Regis’ants decide they think they can pick up distance running and be competitive again, after a few years of making excuses about their fitness and complaining about the squeaks coming from their Pelotoon trainers, they’ll be trudging along gasping in some epic-to-their-mind trail race, and Harrison will blow past them smiling all the way.

          Payback is the cat’s meow. Unless your Harrison, where the joy of cruising along a trail is the reward.

          With do respect for the driver, fuk the limo bus.

          • SAO' Says:

            My brother was a very generic and unaccomplished middle distance runner in high school. Now he’s almost 60 and can do a half marathon tomorrow on zero training, if there’s beer at the finish and the finisher’s t-shirt looks nice.
            Meanwhile, nearly every all-state and team captain that I can think of is old, fat, and broken.
            Yessiree, the journey has got to be the reward.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

  6. The Trainer RN Hood River Says:

    Thanks for sharing

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