The top New Year’s resolutions each year boil down to staying fit and healthy, getting fit and healthy, and living life to its fullest. Resolution runners flood the streets first thing in January with these goals in mind. While pounding the pavement is not a bad way to get a start on those resolutions, many runners and non-runners alike have decided to take a more scenic route to reach their running goals.
With Colorado’s plethora of grandiose views and scenic trails, it seems outrageous to spend that time running while staring at traffic. With a focus on trail running, the Endurance Race Series takes advantage of the amazing views in our area that experienced runners and first time runners alike can share.
Jeff Stoner, CEO of the Endurance Race Series, moved to Boulder in 2000 and quickly hit the trails. He had always been into the endurance sports, but trail running was a new endeavor. Stoner takes the time to scout out each race course, keeping in mind both the experienced marathon runner and the newbie. “I have experienced something incredible and want to share it in our races,” he said.
It’s clear that Stoner is onto something by sharing this experience; each year the series has had booming growth in the half marathon, 10K and 5K races. Stoner credits the local running community for the series’ growth in participants and number of races each year. In 2008, the series began with just two races in Denver and Copper as a way to build the trail running community. This year, the series adds a race in Silverthorne for its tenth. Due to increasing popularity, the 5K component is now included in six of the 10 races.
The intensity and seriousness of most races doesn’t seem to be as big of a component in the series. Generally speaking, trail races are low key affairs encouraging a sense of camaraderie among runners along the way. It’s not out of the ordinary for runners to snap selfies and pictures of the great views along the way. The race is as serious as each runner decides to make it, with less pressure to cross the finish line with a record time.
Weekend warriors may enjoy the views, and smaller crowds, but serious marathon runner have a valued place in the Endurance Race Series, too. For ultra-runners, the trail halfs work as tune-ups or simulated races on technical terrain.
Swag from sponsors is a huge perk of becoming a season pass holder. Prizes and merchandise perks aren’t typically offered as part of trail races, yet the ERS has amazing sponsors that take pride in being affiliated with the brand.
April 29 Westminster
May 20 Palmer Lake
June 10 East-West (Littleton)
June 24 Silverthorne
July 23 Longmont
July 29 Black Hawk
Aug 13 Beaver Creek
Sept 16 Denver
Sept 23 Snow Mountain Ranch
Oct 8 Louisville
Half Marathon Series Passes start at $525.00 (thru Dec. 31)
East County locals might check out the Front Range pass: it’s for the six races here in our lower elevation.