The time has come to register for one of the most beloved running events in the Four Corners region.
Registration for the Thirsty 13 Half Marathon will open at 6 a.m. Sunday. The field is capped at 700 runners, and thousands of runners are on alert for this year’s race, which will be held in conjunction with the San Juan Brewfest on August 25 in Durango.
“It’s impossible to know how quickly it will sell out, but I would guess very quickly,” said race director Matthew Krichman. “It’s not quite like Imogene (Pass Run) where you have to wake up at 6 a.m. and pray that your Internet connection doesn’t let you down, but it is the most popular race in Durango by far.
“We have 4,500 runners who have signed up for our email alerts about registration, so we expect it will sell out quickly.”
Krichman recommended those who want to run not to risk waiting around to sign up and to get it done Sunday.
The race will cost $68 alone, but it can be paired with a ticket to the brewfest for $85. Those interested in attending the brewfest as a designated driver can get entrance to the brewfest and the race for $78.
The 13.1-mile course starts at Hesperus Baptist Church and finishes at Ska Brewing Co. Runners park at the finish destination and are bussed to the start line.
The run features stunning scenery through Wildcat Canyon, past Lake Nighthorse and into Durango. It is a unique course that descends 1,400 feet in elevation. Still, there is three quarters of a mile of climbing in the middle of the course, along with the final climb up the road to Ska.
“I think the runners would kill me if we changed anything about this race,” Krichman said. “It’s such a classic race course with all the scenery. ... I’ve heard runners say they dropped several minutes off their (personal record) on this course.”
The race will start at 8 a.m. Aug. 25. The brewfest will be held 1-5 p.m. at Buckley Park in downtown Durango.
Last year’s men’s race winner was Neil McDonagh of Colorado Springs. He finished in 1 hour, 15 minutes, 47.83 seconds. The 35-year-old ran at a 5:47 mile pace. Durango’s Maggie Yount won the women’s race at a 6:11 mile pace and finished in 1:21:03.23. Yount also won in 2015, the same year her husband Sam Yount won the men’s race.
Last year, 617 runners of the 700 entered finished the race. Krichman said the course caters to average runners who might be interested in trying the half marathon distance for the first time. There is no time limit to finish, and runners who finish in more than 2½ hours are greeted by the cheers of the earlier finishers.
“Besides the amazing brewfest, I think the coolest thing about this race is all the positive energy from the runners,” Krichman said. “At some races, everyone looks stressed out and nervous at the start line. At the Thirsty 13, most of the runners are there to have fun and accomplish a goal they have set for themselves. Every year, we see groups of friends running and celebrating together, and runners making new friends on the course. It’s that kind of race.
“What else can I say? Start at a church, finish at a brewery, celebrate at a brewfest.”