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Emma Coburn Elk Run 5k this Saturday

Proceeds to benefit Living Journeys

by Than Acuff

In just its second year, Emma Coburn’s Elk Run 5k is gaining massive traction and will be a showcase of Colorado high school cross country runners, trail-running enthusiasts and even elite international runners, all in an effort to raise $30,000 for Living Journeys.

Coburn grew up in Crested Butte and is now a world champion and Olympic bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She is headed back home to host the second annual Elk Run 5k on Saturday, September 29, an event that is more than just running.

“The whole day will be a time to celebrate and have fun,” says Coburn. “We are definitely growing everything from last year. As the years progress, we just want to give more to Living Journeys and create an event that our community can be super proud of.”

The course starts and finishes in downtown Crested Butte at the intersection of Third and Elk and includes a little tour of town as well as a run out Peanut Lake Road and back.

It all kicks off with a new event, high school races, as the girls toe the line at 8:40 a.m. and the boys at 9:20 a.m.

Once the high school runners wrap up their races, the general public will then line up for their start at 10 a.m. And while the event is a fundraiser, there is a race element to it as well. Thanks to big support from sponsors there is $13,500 in prize money available for the top five men and women in the elite class.

“Raising money for Living Journeys is the main deal but we also have a big push to create an event that supports the elite running community,” says Coburn. “Other than the Bolder Boulder, it’s the best field of athletes at an event in Colorado including some international athletes. It’s a really elite group and from a spectator standpoint, it’s going to be really exciting.”

All told, Coburn expects as many as 800 runners, with 200 of them flying in from out of state and overseas to participate and/or race.

“It’s cool that we have such a big community outside of the Gunnison Valley coming in to support the event and support a local non-profit like Living Journeys,” says Coburn.

But the fun doesn’t stop there, as the intersection of Third and Elk will be closed down all afternoon for a party including food, drinks, games, a raffle and an ’80s cover band until 3 p.m. Following that, Elk Avenue Prime is hosting a VIP thank you dinner and the day wraps up with an after-party at Bonez from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cover is $5 and it is open to the public.

Registration for the event will be open until Thursday, September 27 at midnight. It’s close to full already so Coburn suggests getting in while you can. If it does fill up, all the other events are still open to everyone and she and race organizers can all use more volunteers. To register or sign up to volunteer go to elkrun5k.com.

“It’s been exciting,” says Coburn. “The work is almost done and it’s looking like it’ll be great weather and a great day.”

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