Update: check out the event recap here!
Update: as of October 12th, we have 51 RSVPs, and 28 pledges!
Update: as of September 26th, we have 21 confirmed RSVPs, and 9 pledges!
This is so on! Come one, come all, to Lory State Park on Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 for the inaugural "Runners Without Borders"! I've decided to host a trail running event to get all of us runners to together to enjoy our spectacular trails and raise some money for Doctors Without Borders. For a few months now I've read with growing concern about the famine and attendant humanitarian crisis in Somalia. I thought maybe there was something I could do to raise awareness about the issue, and maybe help out a bit. At first I figured I would just write a check to Doctors Without Borders and be done with it, and I still aim to do that of course, but Celeste helped me come up with an even better idea, and that idea became Runners Without Borders!
Here's the plan, and I'll need your help to execute it:
On Saturday, October 22nd, 2011, anytime between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, for every runner (or hiker or biker!) who completes either of two trail loops (designated below) that span Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park, I pledge to donate one dollar to Doctors Without Borders! If you complete both loops, I'll donate two dollars (cash) to DWB. If you complete one loop 2 times, that's two dollars. 10 loops, 10 dollars. You get the idea. Sadly I probably need to put an upper limit on my contributions so I'll cap it at $250. And I would very much like to donate $250, so if 250 of you fine folks come out and run one loop each, then we're all set. Or if I can get 25 of you to run 10 loops each, then, well, you're going to need to run pretty fast, because the loops are 6.7 miles long and 5.2 miles long! I'll describe the loops momentarily, but suffice to say the longer loop is more difficult and sports about 1,000 feet of climbing, and the shorter loop is easier and has about 200 or 300 feet of climbing.
Now I'm throwing out a lot of stuff you might find at a normal running event. For starters, there is no entry fee. Instead I encourage you to make a DWB pledge of your own! You don't have to match my pledge of course. You can pledge a flat amount, say $10 or $20. You can pledge a certain amount for each loop you complete, or each loop I complete, or each loop Alex or Ashley or Alene or Mindy or Mike or Nick or Dakota or Brian or Ean completes (you all better show up!). You can get your family or coworkers or neighbors to pledge for you. You can pledge a certain amount if Pete runs a loop in his new red-man suit. You an pledge a certain amount if Pete does not run in his red-man suit. The possibilities are limitless. Too confusing or expensive? You can simply show up and run. I'll donate a dollar on your behalf, and so will some others (see the bottom of this page for current pledges)! Although obviously I encourage you to make a pledge, don't stay away simply because you can't donate any money of your own.
Additionally there is no mass start and there are no prizes for completing the fastest loop or the most loops. You all have from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm to complete your loop or loops. Come for the day, come whenever, enjoy the company, and do your thing. I will have an official log book at the start/finish/aid station at the Arthur's trail-head parking lot in Lory, so we will be keeping count of participants and the number of loops completed for pledging purposes, but we will not be handing out any prizes, except maybe to Pete. And although Mary Boyts has created an awesome logo for the event (thanks Mary!), I'm not planning on doing shirts this year. Though they would look amazing. Hummmm.
As mentioned earlier in passing, I will have a limited aid station at the Arthur's trail-head parking lot with some water and some snacks, and some limited first aid supplies, but please bring your own water and food for the event. There is no water at the Arthur's trail-head parking lot, although there is water available at the Soderberg trail-head, which is only about 0.5 miles from the southern end of the loops, so with about one mile extra of running you can refill there.
Speaking of Soderberg, I know that many of you, myself included, have parking passes for Larimer county / Horsetooth Mountain park, and not Lory. Although the event is officially a Lory State Park event, if you want to park at Soderberg and save the $7 Lory State Park daily fee, I understand completely. Save your $7 and pledge it to DWB instead! You'll have to run an additional 0.5 (easy) miles to get to the southern end of the loop, but just start your loop at the south end of the route and sign in when you reach the parking lot in Lory. I trust that you'll complete the loop, you'll have to in order to get back to your car!
Which brings me to another point; you will have to pay a fee to park at Lory (or Horsetooth). I believe the fee is $7 for Lory. So be sure to carpool! I encourage you to carpool anyway in order to save parking spaces. If this thing goes straight-up-viral, parking will become an issue.
And now, the routes:
La grande route, 6.7 miles, 1,000 feet up/down
The standard route is a 6.7 mile loop featuring about 1,000 feet of climbing. This is a lovely loop that features a flatter eastern side along Lory's West Valley trail, and Horsetooth's Nomad trail, and a decidedly less flat western side featuring a section of Towers Road, Stout trail, Sawmill trail, Loggers trail, and Mill Creek Trail. Mary Boyts has created an amazing map of the loop which you can peruse and download here:
The route can be completed in either direction. I have ran it in both directions recently and I do prefer running it in a clockwise direction, mostly because the majority of the uphill is accomplished on Towers, which is steep but not technical. But both directions are a lot of fun.
La petite route, 5.2 miles, 250 feet up/down (approx.)
The shorter route is a 5.2 mile loop that features the lovely West Valley / Nomad trails just like the grande route, but opts to run back to Lory along the Shoreline and East Valley trails instead of tackling Towers etc. This is a great option for those of you who maybe have not done much trail running as this loop is far less technical and can easily be run in regular running shoes.
As with the other route this can be run in either direction. Mary's map indicates a counterclockwise direction as the standard here, and that is probably the best option but it really doesn't matter.
Weather, safety, mishaps, etc.
In the event of inclement weather, and I mean really inclement, like the October blizzard of 1997, Lory state park and I reserve the right to postpone the date of the event. The likely makeup date would be the following Saturday, October 29th. Also, I should state that although I firmly believe that trail running is less damaging to runner's bodies than road running long-term, there always exists the possibility of acute injuries while running trails. We will have some limited aid available at the Arthur's trail-head parking lot, but if you are seriously injured, wait for help, and someone will come by to assist. We will have course sweepers making sure everyone is off the trails at the end of the day. Having said that, your participation in this event is voluntary, and I, Lory State Park, Horsetooth Mountain Park, Doctors Without Borders, and even Pete are not responsible for your health and well being. Now having said that, let's all watch out for each other out there and take extra water and jackets and hats, etc. If you see a runner in need, please offer them your help.
Getting lost, i.e. alternate routes
I wasn't planning on marking the course just to cut down on trash, but I've since reconsidered, and I will mark the loops somehow. Participants are welcome to execute extended loops. I imagine a trip up to Arthur's rock or Horsetooth Rock or both might be a lot of fun for some participants, and that is great. Ultimately as long as the loop hits the Arthur's trail-head in Lory so you can sign in, and you make it to Towers road / nomad trail junction in Horsetooth mountain park, then I will approve it as an official loop. I encourage you to run the standard loops because I think it will be more fun to see more people on the trails, and quite frankly that is the loop that I will be sweeping at the end of the day!
ok you've made it this far, you're obviously still interested in participating. May I request an RSVP? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to declare your intent to participate. You don't need to tell me when you plan on showing up or how many loops you plan to run, or where you plan to park (Lory or Soderberg), but if you can tell me that info that would be helpful. This allows me to give the Lory/Horsetooth guys some idea about how many people to expect, and also I and fellow pledgers (is that a word) will have some idea about how much money they're going to have to donate!
And if you're going to pledge something, I would like to know that as well; I am interested to know if this event will be successful from a fund raising perspective, and I think all the participants will enjoy knowing how much money we collectively raised for DWB.
I will track RSVPs and Pledges on these spreadsheets below, and they will update themselves as we get closer to the event.
After the event I will post the "loop log" here as well and total up the pledges.
My goodness, I had no idea running an event required so much writing! For all that, please come out and enjoy the day. Let's keep our fingers crossed for good weather!