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By Kirsten Le Roux
Special to The SUN
The Turkey Track is an old mountain classic trail race in its sixth year staged by local charitable organization GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors). Traditionally, this is a spectacular half- or full-marathon trail run on single track. For 2014, GECKO has added 5k and 10k distances with plenty of time to complete the course, even as a hiker.
Mike Le Roux, race director, comments, “GECKO is actively appealing to runners of all abilities to participate in our events. Opening Turkey Track to shorter distances is one of the ways we are doing that. Turkey Track has a mellow elevation gain and is a gently rolling course. It’s also the perfect transition from a road to a trail for those pavement pounders that are keen to try a dirt track.”
The Turkey Track Trail Run is known to be an ideal early season trail race. The spring blooms and fresh mountain air reinvigorate any runner who is trying to kick start their post-winter trail running regime. Besides the scenic trails, there are a lot of reasons runners return year after year to this race, and this year, there are a few more reasons.
For the first time, there will be a Kids’ Free Fun Trail Run at 9:30 a.m., organized by students from the GOAL Academy. A short, safe course and a medal and aid station at the end will all be part of the fun. Registration opens at 9 a.m. on event day.
The community of Pagosa Springs really supports the event with flair. Groups, clubs and businesses man the various well-stocked aid stations. This year, that includes the ATV club Pagosa Trail Riders and Pagosa Springs High School Pirates’ cross country team.
Local businesses are providing coffee, finish line sausage rolls and cheesy garlic knots to hungry athletes.
All finishers receive the now famous handmade adobe “turkey track” medal, and all age group placers (first through third) received a “turkey foot silhouette,” both made by Pagosa Springs Elementary School. Overall winners receive a metal-crafted custom “Turkey Runner” made by local Scott Slind.
The race is also part of the XTERRA ColoradoTrail Run Series and the Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series, so athletes participating in those will earn points towards their season.
Once again, there will be a race presentation and after party to celebrate a great day out.
Finally, this year for the first time, XTERRA Turkey Track Trail Run has joined American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, which is a nationwide celebration of trails and an opportunity to celebrate our country’s 200,000-plus miles of trails by participating in an outdoor event. The day aims to unite us all in the effort to promote healthy living, protect green spaces and reinforce the importance of trails in our community. Pagosa Trails Council is also hosting a trails maintenance work day in the Turkey Springs area concurrently with the trail run. Volunteers are needed and interested individuals or groups are encouraged to contact Bev Warburton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 731-0343 regarding the PATC Trail Work Day.
Turkey Track Trail Run
• Saturday June 7
• Start/finish is at the junction of Turkey Springs and Monument roads
• 8 a.m. half and full marathon races start
• 9:30 a.m. kids’ free fun run starts
• 10 a.m. 5k and 10k races start
Email email@example.com or contact race director Mike Le Roux at 398-0612 with inquiries.