The state of the economy continues to headline the news on an almost-daily basis.
Even in our little mountain hamlet, we are feeling the
effects of the economic downturn as evidenced by the recent layoffs and cost-cutting measures imposed by the city of
The Durango Parks and Recreation Department, although still committed to offering community events and activities, has
had to scale back its race calendar for 2010.
The Valentine's Day 5K, Mother's Day/Telegraph 10K, Mountain Park Classic, South Rim Duathlon and Animas Mountain Mug
Run all have been eliminated.
According to Cathy Metz of Durango Parks and Recreation, the Durango Community Recreation Center has been operating on
80 percent cost recovery but has been mandated to raise that to 90 percent in 2010.
With the loss of five full-time staff members and numerous part-time staff, the city simply does not have enough
personnel to cover these events.
One of the problems, according to Ann Cramer, facility operations supervisor is, We have to staff the building all day
so when you pull one or more of us out of the building, we have to find people to cover. Activities that occur outside
the building make it harder."
As any race director will tell you, putting on races requires a tremendous amount of planning, organizing and
Sponsorship, marketing, course set-up, registration, course marshaling, food, schwag and recruiting all are part of
what can take months to pull together for one race.
The city would like to work with the running community in helping to make these events happen," Metz said. If a race
director could be found to put on the races with very clear expectations of what that entails, then the city could
provide a lot of the backup, like advertising, registration and insurance.
How we view these races is that they would need to be covering costs. They cannot draw from our resources to cover
direct costs," Metz said.
Getting people to step
forward to volunteer as race
directors is vital. Once that is in place, there is an opportunity to partner with the city to make these events
Since our conversation, the Valentine's Day 5K has been picked up as a fundraiser and the organizers are working with
the city to make that race happen Feb. 13.
For the trail series," Cramer said, we partnered with the Durango High School Track Club and First National Bank, and
currently we are partnering with the (Durango) Winter Sports Foundation for help with Chapman Hill.
We have a lot of relationships that help to keep our events affordable."
It is common practice for cities to partner in order to host special events," Metz said.
A lot of cities have seen the value of providing these recreation/tourism events that bring people to the community.
We want to be thoughtful about how we move forward with growth in these areas as we get out of this recession - meeting
the needs of the community while bringing some money in to the city's coffers."
If you have ideas or would like to volunteer as a race
director, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember the saying: Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success."
Reach Marjorie Brinton at email@example.com