Lace ‘em up for the EddyLine Trail Running Series
by Than Acuff
There’s no question trail running has taken hold in the Gunnison Valley. While the Crested Butte Mountain Runners have been around for a long time and former local Kirk Apt made a name for himself on the ultra marathon circuit in the late ’90s and early 2000s, inadvertently spurning a gaggle of local runners to test their limits on the 50-mile and 100-mile distances, it wasn’t until the past five or so years that trail running really took off locally.
Now, in addition to the Mountain Runners, there is an informal trail running group, the West Elk Trail Runners, gathering for social runs weekly and a local trail running race series has been created, the EddyLine Trail Running Series, bringing a more cohesive, slightly more competitive edge to local trail running.
The Crested Butte Mountain Runners season peaks with the Camp 4 Cart to Cart in September. Living Journeys took over the reins of the Summit Hike, including the half marathon running race and the Crested Butte Nordic Center, now Crested Butte Nordic, has hosted the Grin and Bear It every summer for the past 31 years. But each event was separate from the other.
This past year, executive director for Living Journeys Darcie Perkins reached out to the other race organizers with an idea based loosely on a trail running series in Steamboat.
“Basically I just presented the idea to them,” explains Perkins. “There’s a similar concept in Steamboat that started out small and now it’s a huge trail running series. I thought, if we join forces, we could get a group of people doing all three. I thought it would be fun to put it together as a whole series.”
In addition, Perkins reached out to a sponsor for the series—not just any sponsor, but EddyLine Brewing of Buena Vista. They sponsored the Living Journeys Summit Hike last year and jumped into the trail running series without hesitation.
“They were really helpful at the Summit Hike and their beer’s outstanding,” says Perkins.
The series includes three races: the Grin and Bear It on July 18, the Synergy Half Marathon on July 25, and the Camp 4 Cart to Cart on September 25. In addition to organizing the series itself, Perkins created a way to benefit local nonprofits and interested runners. The cost to do the series is $75, less than doing all three races individually, and each registration will be split three ways between Living Journeys, Crested Butte Nordic and the Crested Butte Mountain Runners.
Points will be awarded based on your result from each race and scores will be tallied for overall men and women as well as in each age class. Prizes will be awarded at the end of the series to the overall men’s and women’s champions as well as each age class champion. Results and standings will be updated online after each race.
Registration is available online at livingjourneys.org/trailseries up until the day before the Grin and Bear It. There will also be one last chance to sign up for the series the morning of the Grin and Bear It.
“This is just the start of something. We’ll see how it goes,” says Perkins. “If it’s successful, we may add additional races in the future.”