|Although a passion for the outdoors is not a requirement for living in Pagosa Country, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a modicum of that when choosing to relocate here.
For local entrepreneur, marathon runner and philanthropist Morgan Murri, that passion has paid off for him, his family, countless runners from around the country — and Colorado kids who have learned to share that passion.
A co-founder of GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors), a foundation that helps kids disconnect from our far-too-plugged-in society and experience the joys of the wilderness, Murri’s inspiration was homegrown.
“It was my daughter,” he said. “Seeing what outdoor educational programs did for her. If I could raise money … how great would it be if someone could benefit from that? And that’s really morphed into what my vision of what Pagosa is.”
After founding GECKO, Murri, with his wife, Nancy, founded what has become one of the premier sporting events of the area — the RUN Colorado Pagosa Peaks Trail Series.
A lifelong marathon runner and endurance mountain-bike racer, Murri’s passion has not only resulted in organizing the races (which raise funds for GECKO), but has led to the opening of The Hub, Pagosa’s newest bike store.
“Our tag line is, Where It All Comes Together,” he said.
Not just a bike store, The Hub serves as a coffee shop and a place where other running and biking enthusiasts can gather to share their experience of the latest trail conquest or just catch a breath before heading out for another adrenaline pumping excursion.
Sharing his passion with area residents and visitors alike, however, trails behind sharing that passion with children who, through GECKO, can unplug from the television, game system or computer and get out into the great outdoors.
“We facilitate that,” he said, referring GECKO’s mission, “it’s easier to find money than the kids. We’re really focused locally.
“My goal is to raise $50,000,” he added, “and then find some matching corporate donors.”