As the Narrow Gauge Runs enter their 37th year in Durango, runners will experience some positive changes to this popular Memorial Day weekend event.
Brendan Trimboli has enthusiastically taken on this time-honored event as the new race director. After learning that last year’s race director was stepping down, Trimboli was asked if he would be interested in taking on the role.
“While the amount of work can be a bit daunting, I realized that my experience as a runner and my detail-oriented personality would likely suit me well for the role,” he said.
After speaking with past runners and race directors, Trimboli decided he needed to put the Rim Drive segment back in to the 10-mile main event.
“That stretch had historically been a part of the race and offers some of the best views in Durango,” he said. “To do this, I sought out Santa Rita Park as the new start and finish for the race. I also reversed the direction of the course so that all highway crossings are dealt with at the beginning. This reduces stress on law enforcement, gives a great venue for the postrace celebration and allows runners to enjoy a downhill ‘cruise’ along the river to the finish.”
The downtown portion of the race was eliminated to avoid conflict with the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic criterium and minimize busy road crossings.
The Marc Witkes Fort Lewis College Memorial Cross Country Scholarship continues to be the primary beneficiary, and members of the FLC cross country team and Durango Running Club will provide volunteer race support.
“I am fortunate that the race has been established for 36 years, and many individuals who have long been involved are willing to help me make this a fun, successful event,” Trimboli said.
The 5K run will be replaced with a 4-mile option.
“I decided on the 4-mile distance because I wanted a shorter distance out and back on the Animas River Trail,” Trimboli said. “By increasing the distance to 4 miles, runners make it all the way to Rotary Park, where there will be an aid station for both races.
“I also secretly wanted to do away with metric distances since our railroad system is imperial (not metric),” he said.
Added this year is a 1-mile “Kids Fun Run” that begins after the main event around 11 a.m.
“This is a free race for kids and will feature Durango-made Cream Bean Berry ice cream for the finishers,” Trimboli said.
Animas Surgical Hospital once again is the title sponsor for the event, and this year marks the first year that the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad also will be a sponsor.
Race entries will be capped at 300 participants, and it is filling fast.
“Race registrations are well ahead of where they were this time last year,” Trimboli said.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at email@example.com.