When Megan Finnesy moved to Durango in 2010, she began to formulate the idea of putting on a race that would showcase the local trails and draw people from all over.
“I kept looking for what I thought would make a great course, mostly a single-track loop with spectacular scenery.” she said.
After three years of hard work and planning as well as a roster of experienced help in the wings, the “Double Dirty 30” has become a reality and will take place Sept. 24, 2016.
Beginning in Silverton, the course heads south along the railroad tracks into the Animas River gorge where it connects with the Colorado Trail, climbing over Molas and Rolling Passes before passing Cascade Creek and connecting with the Graysill Trail to the Cascade Creek Trail. At the base of Engineer mountain, it follows the Engineer trail back to the Colorado Trail and finally connects with the Rainbow Trail back into Silverton.
Finnesy gets exciting when talking about the 100-kilometer (62-mile) course which has over 11,000 feet of elevation gain.
“Being able to run down the Animas River Gorge is a treat,” she said. “It’s spectacular. People come from all over the world to see this canyon, it is just breathtaking.”
There are a total of 23 miles of the Colorado Trail on the course which holds special memories for Finnesy as she hiked the entire trail back in 1996.
“I think this is one of the most spectacular parts of the trail,” she said. “I feel so honored that I get to create an event that will bring people from all over the world to this special place.”
To enter the race, runners will have to complete a mountain 50-mile race or something similar. Understanding the changing mountain weather patterns and the limitation that high altitude places on runners is crucial to success in this race.
“I need to be certain that each runner knows what they are getting into,” Finnesy emphasized.
An accomplished ultra-runner herself, having completed the arduous Hardrock 100 in 2011 and the Trans Rockies run in 2008, Finnesy is passionate about the mountains and has proven herself a very capable race director.
Her “Dirty Thirty” race held outside of Golden has been a sell out event for the past eight years with many runners returning year after year.
Finnesy builds her races around important local causes, and the “Double Dirty 30” will be a fund-raiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of La Plata County.
“Strengthening the courage, confidence and leadership skills of kids has been a big passion of mine,” she said.
As a former Big Sister herself, she feels she gained as much as she gave to her “Little”.
“It was mutually beneficial,” she said.
Information regarding the fund-raising aspect can be found on the Big Brothers Big Sisters “Go Big or Go Home” web-page.
“I hope the Durango community will get behind this event and help me raise money for a very important organization,” she added. “It takes a small army to make an ultra running race successful.”
For more information about the race, go to the website at: www.dirty30.org/silverton/
Reach Marjorie Brinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.