The signs of spring are slowly popping up all over town in the form of crazy blustery weather, fragrant flowering trees, budding perennials, spandex-clad cyclists and colorful runners pounding the pavement and trails.
With the cold winter months just a fleeting memory and the hopes of warmer weather making an appearance soon, we can now focus on the upcoming racing season which continually offers new and exciting opportunities for all levels of runners.
One of the newest additions to this summer’s race calendar is the Durango Half Marathon, which will place July 2.
Created by Gravity Play Sports as part of their Adventure Xtreme Race Series, the race will highlight the beauty of the Animas Valley on a loop course that will start and finish at Animas Valley Elementary School.
Adventure Xtreme has been organizing races for the past 15 years with venues across the Four Corners.
“Our races typically involve mountain biking, trail running, kayaking and navigation with a map and compass,” said Will Newcomer, owner of Gravity Play Sports.
The races usually range somewhere between 12 miles to up to three days of racing which, in addition to the above mentioned components, have sometimes included rappelling, river boarding and caving.
Some past Durango Adventure Xtreme events have been the Durango MTB 100, The Purgatory Challenge and the Hermosa Mountain Marathon.
Adventure racing provides a unique experience for athletes to challenge themselves, but, as the concept began to peak a few years ago, the company decided it was a good time to broaden their spectrum of race options to appeal to more athletes.
“Our main focus with event production is longer races,” Newcomer said, “So, a half marathon fit our model more closely with our other endurance events.
“For most distance athletes, these events are more about personal accomplishment, perseverance and simply finishing.”
Durango and particularly the Animas Valley provide a stunning backdrop for any race for both locals and visitors, and the half marathon is a popular distance for many time-strapped runners who want a challenging distance that fits into their busy lifestyles.
“Durango has such a great community of outdoor athletes, we really wanted to introduce out-of-town guests and runners in particular to the splendor of the town and the southwest area,” Newcomer said. “The Fourth of July weekend provides a perfect opportunity to race a beautiful course with great people and have plenty of time to explore Durango over the long weekend.”
San Juan Mountains Association will be the primary beneficiary of the race this year, and some of the event sponsors thus far include Zia Taqueria, Tailwind Nutrition and Zorrel Performance Apparel with others being finalized within the upcoming weeks.
This year, the race is limited to the first 250 entrants with wave starts beginning at 7:30 a.m. Locals will receive a discounted entry when registering. The event is currently 60-percent full and is expected to sell out.
For more information or to register you can log onto: www.DurangoHalfMarathon.com.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.