This weekend in Durango, some 600 runners will lace up their running shoes and hit the road, trails or both in an event that has emerged as a favorite celebration of endurance, and the Durango area itself: The Durango Double.
Two half marathons, 13.1-mile runs back-to-back – one a rigorous off-road tour of some of the best rails in town, and the other a scenic road run along the rim of the Fort Lewis College campus as well as the Animas River Trail.
Race director Brendan Trimboli, in his second year orchestrating the event, said while there was talk of restructuring after a short hiatus, he and other organizers settled that the Double was just the right kind of distinctive challenge.
“We talked about changing the format, but we decided that this is unique and we wanted to see if there was a demand for this, and sure enough, there was,” he said. “There are a surprising number of people who see the challenge in two half marathons back to back, but I think the nice thing about that approach is that it also gives people the opportunity to do one or the other.”
And many do choose one or the other, the smooth stride of a road run, or the technical fluctuation of trail. Many, however, choose both. In fact, registration to do both runs sold out first.
New for this year, a 5K run was added to provide a less demanding option.
“There’s something for everyone,” Trimboli said.
The Durango Double, a nonprofit event, raises money for the Women’s Resource Center of La Plata County, an organization that helps women in need of all ages with education, job placement, financial services and support. In 2014 the WRC served more than 1,300 women, and some men as well.
Program director Christy Schaerer said the WCR was fortunate to be the beneficiary, and the funds make a critical difference. In 2014, the Durango Double raised more than $20,000 for the cause.
“It helps us help women in transition in their lives,” she said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
“They’re a great organization, and they’re deserving of the funds,” Trimboli said.
Trimboli has raced all over the world, from the New York City Marathon, the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run in Silverton to the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in Europe, a fierce 100-mile tour of the Alps. As a race director in the community where he lives, he said he simply wants to pay it forward.
“The running community has done so much for me in terms of being my family and so many other good things, I reached a point where I thought, ‘How can I give back,’” he said.
Trimboli, president of the Durango Running Club, puts on other events such as the Kennebec Mountain Challenge, a 15-mile run in the La Plata Mountains, as well as the Narrow Gauge 10 Mile Run. He likes sharing his passion for something he loves, and something that he says found him when he was lost.
“Maybe it’s introducing other people to running who could benefit from it,” he said.
This weekend, people will benefit all over the place. Both runs will start and end at the Animas Surgical Hospital, a title sponsor of the event whose ultra -runner chief executive officer Bret Gosney is a multi-time Hardrock racer. The trail run winds into Horse Gulch’s meadow before climbing Telegraph Trail and down the Crites Connection and out Carbon Junction then back to the finish.
“I’ve been up there this past week,” Trimboli said. “With the recent rains, there are some pretty rocky sections and technical bits of trail. It’s pretty gnarly.”
Sunday, the road race will leave from the same point and travel up Old Highway 3 to the FLC campus around the rim and Hillcrest Golf Course to North College, then along the paved path on Florida Road to Riverview then pick up the Animas River Trail and follow that south back to the finish.
“The road is not going to be superfast,” Trimboli said. “It has a couple of hills on it, but it provides a nice tour of Durango. The goal is to showcase as many cool things about Durango as we can in one weekend.”
The Double has grow over last year’s – and so has the help. All said and done, 100 volunteers will have lent their hand. More than 15 sponsors also showed their support of the Durango Double. Despite the previous weather, the sun seems to shine on the event.
“It will be a sweet turn out,” Trimboli said.“I’m excited, and the weather forecast looks great.”