Trail runners, you’re not alone |

Trail runners, you’re not alone

SUMMIT COUNTY – Some runners have trouble staying motivated to run regularly on their own, but now they have no excuse.

Running is one of the best ways to reach areas in Summit County that are accessible by no other means than putting one foot over another. But exploring isn’t something runners want to do alone.

Thanks to the Summit County Trail Runners and the Breckenridge Recreation Center, runners of all abilities in Summit County have new ways to stay motivated, explore new terrain and compete without leaving town. The trail-running group consists of about 70 members who meet multiple times a week to run on trails in various parts of the county.

Most high-elevation trails are still covered with snow, and many located in wooded areas – such as the Peaks Trail from Breckenridge to Frisco, the Burro Trail on Peak 9 in Breck and the Wheeler Trail along the Ten Mile Range – will probably not be dry or suitable to run on until mid-June.

Trails in exposed areas, like Tenderfoot in Dillon and the perimeter trail on the Frisco Peninsula, are drying up, and trail runners are beginning to put dirt under their feet again.

“Our goal is just getting people to get out there and run, get their exercise and have fun,” said Jackie Picard, organizer of Summit Trail Runners, a group that has been together for two years and has a broad demographic of membership.

“Everyone is at a different level and has different goals,” said Summit trail runner Sue Falsey. “The range of interest are people wanting to just get out there and walk, and people training for 50-milers. We have a couple guys who would like to see more guys out there to run with.”

Participation is free – it’s simply a group that gets together for scheduled or spontaneous outings to run.

“Some days we had three people show up, some days we had five,” Falsey said of last year’s turnout. “It’s never been a big cluster of people. It’s very casual. Around the first of June, we’d like to get something going that’s same time, same place each week, plus our usual (assortment) of spontaneous runs every week.”

Local racing opportunities

After going on hiatus for a year, the Summit Trail Running Series is returning this summer with the organization of a couple stalwart runners in the community and the Breckenridge Recreation Center.

The series will consist of at least three races, beginning June 19 with a 5- and 10-kilometer run on the Baker’s Tank trail in Breckenridge.

The following race will take place July 10 at Pennsylvania Gulch in Breck and will feature a slightly longer course. In August, organizers are toying with the idea of conducting a runnaing race in conjunction with the Summit Mountain Challenge mountain bike race at American Gulch and also with a town race beginning at the Riverwalk Center.

“It’s not a cumulative points series, just something we’re putting together for runners to get out there and enjoy the trails,” said Jerry Stafford, who, two years ago, launched the series as the Summit Mountain Running Series along with Virgil Best and Rich Cook.

“There’s a lot of trail runners from the Summit County area, and, much like the mountain bikers, we wanted to have a way to get out there and compete and create a community. There was a lot of interest last year, but people involved just couldn’t get all the pieces together. It’s definitely welcomed this year.”

Breck Rec Center recreation coordinator Diane McBride, who had a big hand in organizing this year’s races, agreed that Summit’s runners need an outlet. She also said that, in coordination with the trail-running group, there will be a regular, non-competitive run on Thursday nights when races aren’t taking place.

“We want to try to combine our efforts with the running club, so on Thursdays, we either have a run or this race taking place in the Breckenridge area,” McBride said. “So many people here travel on the weekends to go run and compete in different areas of the state. This gives them a place to train, so even if you’re going away for the weekend, it gives you an outlet to train and practice.”

Pre-registration for the races is $15 at Great Adventure Sports in Breckenridge, or online at Race-day registration is $20. Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female competitors. More information is available at the rec center.

Anyone interested in joining the Summit County Trail Runners and receiving regular updates on weekly runs should call Jackie Picard at (970) 453-7907 or e-mail her at

Races for the Summit Trail Running Series in Breckenridge will begin at 5:45 p.m. and are scheduled as follows:

June 19, at Baker’s Tank

July 10, at Pennsylvania Gulch

Aug. 21, at the Riverwalk Center

Pre-registration is $15 at Great Adventure Sports in Breck or online at Information on the series is available at the Breckenridge Recreation Center.

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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