Winter sports enthusiasts probably wonder why we runners don’t just hang up our running shoes in the winter and embrace the many snow friendly sports that are available.
Although many runners, myself included, regularly ski and snowshoe, it can seem so unnatural to not run for long stretches of the year regardless of the weather and other athletic opportunities.
I remember a child asking me why I run all the time even when the weather is bad, and the only thought that came to mind was that is just what runners do, we run.
As hard as it can be for non-runners to understand, for us it would be like going without eating or sleeping in terms of the way we would feel if we didn’t run.
Winter running can actually be fun, and many local runners embrace the unpredictability and adventure of it.
This winter, Durango has been blessed with an abundance of snow and temperatures cold enough to keep the ground solidly covered, which has made trail running in and around Durango possible all season.
Since many local trails are used regularly by walkers, skiers and the newest winter sport of fat-tire biking, it seems we can enjoy the trails even more.
Local ultra runner Leah Fein loves getting out on the trails, especially those that have been packed down.
“It’s a real treat to run a well packed winter trail because it can be softer and more uniform than dirt and rocks,” she said.
Many runners find that traction devices work well on the packed trails and help them to run freely without worrying about slipping and sliding too much.
Tami Hanson runs regularly on the Fort Lewis College rim trail with a group of friends in the early morning hours.
“You can’t beat the view of the alpenglow at sunrise with the snow capped mountains at the top of the rim trail,” she said. “We throw on our Yak Traks, climb from Chapman and pause each morning to appreciate.”
The hardest part of winter running is heading out the door but, once you get out, the experience sets a positive tone for the rest of the day, I rarely see a runner on the trails that isn’t smiling from ear to ear.
Tina Martinez loves the unpredictability of running in winter conditions.
“You never know what you are going to get in winter running ... a slip and fall here or a sunken foot. I love the uncertainty, it really forces you to be loose and flexible and laugh each time you take a tumble,” she said.
Winter running is peaceful, with quiet footfalls, few if any outside noises and a stillness that isn’t present in the other seasons of the year.
Gail Harriss likes running the Horse Gulch trail system in winter.
“This year, Horse Gulch has been in great shape,” she said. “It is close and convenient but still feels like you are out of town in nature without too many people around.”
If you haven’t taken the opportunity to get out on the trails this winter, there is no time like the present. Once spring hits, it could be a while before the trails are runnable again. Get out and enjoy!
Reach Marjorie Brinton at email@example.com.