Why You Should Be a Member of Durango Running Club
The Durango Running Club mission statement reads as follows: To serve and connect runners in Southwest Colorado, promote trail and road running by organizing group runs, races, and events, and provide education and encouragement for runners of all ages and abilities.
Essentially, they’re “all about getting people out and running, whether it’s competitive or just getting off the couch,” Race Director, Matthew Krichman said.
It’s an extremely inclusive club which welcomes runners of all levels, not just those uber competitive friends that can run a five minute mile (it's for them too, though). Most in the community might already be aware what Durango Running Club (DRC) does. It facilitates a place to engage in social running, volunteer for local races and get people involved in health and fitness. But what most might not know is their influential dedication to education. Years ago, education became a primary part of DRC when founder Marc Witkes suddenly passed away while running a race. Shortly after, the Marc Witkens Scholarship Fund was created, giving young individuals at Fort Lewis College an opportunity to continue their education and compete on the cross country team.
“There have been great runners over the years who have benefitted from that scholarship. Some of them might not have gone to college without it,” Krichman said.
DRC is stoked to participate in the upcoming Steamworks Half Marathon, a local’s favorite being held this Saturday, June 9th (it happens to be completely sold out this year). DRC has had overwhelming support for the scholarship fund over the years from Steamworks Brewing Company, (among many other businesses) due to the friendship between Marc Witkens and Steamworks owner Kris Oyler.
“Most of the money from this event will go to that fund. The owner of Steamworks knew Marc well, so I’m sure he’s very proud of that fund and that the race is going to such a good cause,” Krichman said.
The high turnout for races such as the Steamworks Half Marathon is encouraging for DRC because it means that the community is willing to participate in a race and also help future students at the same time. The Steamworks Half Marathon starts at Baker’s Bridge and takes the runners all the way through the Animas Valley until the finish line at Durango Sports Club. Oh, and did we mention there’s a huge after party, with kegs of beer, awards and free lunch? Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.
“One of the reasons I agreed to be the director was because of this race. It's a gorgeous course,” Krichman said.
If you’re an avid runner, keep your eyes open for other popular events happening this summer such as the Thirsty Thirteen on August 25th, one of the most popular races DRC puts on. It combines a half marathon with the San Juan Brewfest, and all the participants have the option of receiving a ticket to the brewfest after the race. The Kennebec Mountain Run, held on August 4th is nearly filled up with registrations and is considered a tough, scenic trail run through the La Plata Mountains.
If you’re still crazy enough to be a runner and but usually don’t participate in half marathons, check out DRC’s weekly schedule of group runs and track workouts. It’s a time to de-stress, socialize with friends, engage in a little friendly competition and get some exercise at the same time. Don’t worry, your doggo can come too.
“Having a network of people to support you in your commitment to fitness is a huge motivating factor. You don’t always want to go for a run...there are days that you know it would be good for you, it's what you want to do, but you’re also drawn to the couch. It’s about having that network of people who are holding you accountable,” Krichman said.
You don’t have to be a member to participate in the group runs and competitive races, but it’s definitely worth it if you double up as an equally passionate runner and craft-beer drinker. For only $20 a year, all around Durango you’ll receive discounts from breweries, gear shops and several health and fitness businesses when you show your DRC Membership Card. You’ll also get access to exclusive deals at DRC for all your running gear.
DRC is increasingly establishing itself as a community-based organization that caters to all runners in a creative, collaborative way.
“More and more people are starting to think of Durango as a running town, and I think the club has a lot to do with it,” Krichman said.
*Correction: The original article implied that non-members can participate in group track workouts, however, you do need to be a member to attend.