Leslie Smith, a runner who has wanted to organize a race for years, finally got her chance. Now, tragically, she has a cause.
Smith, 28, who came to Durango four years ago from Indiana, is in charge of the Second Wind Scramble.
Revenue from the scramble a fundraising adventure race to be held Sept. 17 at Durango Mountain Resort will be used to remove financial barriers to suicide counseling for young people.
Smith has special motivation for shouldering the task. Her brother, Stephen Smith, 25, committed suicide in February.
Stephen suffered from depression for years, but he kept it all inside, Smith said. No one saw it coming.
The Second Wind Scramble is an obstacle race. There is a fun run, a three-mile and a seven-mile course. There also is a fund-racer category for people who cant compete but who raise funds.
Statuettes will be awarded to the first three finishers in each category. All racers qualify for a raffle of donated gifts.
We want the Second Wind Scramble to become an annual event, said Lillian Ramey, director of the Second Wind Fund of Four Corners Colorado. We want it to increase awareness of teen suicide as well as raise funds.
Limited resources in small towns
The rolling hills of southern Indiana with scattered farms where Stephen and Leslie Smith spent their youth are reminiscent of the isolated neighborhoods in the Four Corners, Smith said.
Paoli, her hometown, about an hours drive north of Louisville, Ky., and had 3,677 residents in the 2010 census, she said.
There were limited resources there, Smith said. There was no place to turn for people with problems.
It was hard for me to cope with my brothers death, Smith said. But I have an excellent therapist here and a great support group.
Smith became aware of Second Wind through her boss, Liana Smith (no relation), owner of Lady Falconburghs is Barley Exchange. Liana Smith is on the Second Wind board of directors.
I want to work with Second Wind after the scramble, Smith said.
Almost all the members of Smiths family are coming for the Second Wind Scramble, either to run or as volunteers.
Along the obstacle course will be stations where runners take a break by doing jumping jacks, fighting their way through a rope spider web, crawling military style, traversing a balance beam and doing calesthenics.