Running through the cold dark days of winter can be challenging for even the most dedicated of runners. Finding like-minded souls to endure with you makes it much more motivating and fun.
Last winter, Katie Mouzakis tried to keep the weekly Durango Running Club group runs going year round but found that they were poorly attended.
This year, she was hoping for a brainstorm to get people out during these dark and cold months, so when a friend suggested they start the runs from a brew pub she jumped on the idea and the “Winter Pub Runs” have become a successful winter event.
“I thought the pub runs were a genius idea,” Mouzakis said, “and then we went with it and everyone was on board.”
The group began meeting biweekly in November and have had six runs thus far with an average of 10 people each time. So far, the group has run from Carver Brewing Co., Steamworks Brewing Company, Brew Pub & Kitchen and Animas Brewing Company, covering a distance of between 4-6 miles each time.
“We generally like to pick something that’s well lit and with a wide sidewalk so we don’t have to worry about getting hit by cars,” Mouzakis said.
The runs take around an hour, and Mouzakis always offers a shorter route for those who don’t want to go as far.
Callie Cole joined the running club after moving here last summer as a way to meet people and make new friends.
“It’s a really big part of making me feel at home in Durango,” she said. “It’s just been fantastic.”
She loves the family atmosphere and the motivation it gives her to keep running during the winter.
“I really wanted to get under a blanket tonight,” she said, “but I went running instead.”
Chelsi Olson also mentioned the family atmosphere as being a big draw to the running club and the pub runs.
“I think the greatest thing about the running club is that it doesn’t matter what type of runner you are, you could be an ultra runner or just a beginning runner, and you are totally welcome and feel like you belong.”
Olson moved here in July and already feels like she has great friends with a common interest.
“It’s just a great way to motivate myself to continue running and get back into that running physique and training that I haven’t been in for a couple of years,” she said.
Social time and a laid-back pace and attitude were comments repeated by many of the group.
“The camaraderie is great,” said Matt Griffis. “We run at a comfortable pace, just fast enough to keep you warm but not any faster.”
Of course, beginning and ending at a pub each time means lingering over food and beverages while enjoying conversation with friends.
“I like seeing my friends and getting out,” said Rene Garcia. “I run by myself a lot but I get bored. My second favorite thing besides the friends is the beer.”
The next Winter Pub Run is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27 beginning at Brew Pub & Kitchen. For more information and a schedule of all the running events, visit durangorunningclub.org.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at email@example.com.