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Durango running community not slowed down by virus

Durango Running Club events, Steamworks Half Marathon still a go
The Durango Running Club and Steamworks Half Marathon are still on, even after marathons and local races have been canceled because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

Numerous prestigious marathons around the globe have been pushed back by months by the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and somne local races have been outright canceled. But the Durango running community is not being slowed down – for now, it’s business as usual.

As of Sunday, no local running events have been canceled, including Durango Running Club’s weekly workouts and the Steamworks Half Marathon, which is set for June.

Steamworks Half Marathon race director Matthew Krichman said the board of directors is monitoring the situation closely and will not make a decision on whether to cancel the race until many weeks from now.

“Obviously, the safety and health of our running community is the top priority for us,” Krichman said. “Given the fact that the race isn’t until early June, it’s way to early to know how this will affect the race. For now, we are extremely optimistic that the race will proceed as planned.”

Sign-ups for the race are still open, but over the past week, the number of runners that signed up has decreased. Since the race registration opened, 30 runners per week have signed up for the half marathon, but Krichman said only 21 did last week. He said he didn’t believe the drop was due to virus-related fears. It’s typical for most race registrations to start off high and slow down as the event gets closer to filling up. To date, over 200 runners have registered, and the maximum allotment caps off at 250. Krichman said none of the registered runners have reached out to him even inquiring of the race would still be on or not.

“I’d say the race could have sold out last week if registration didn’t slow down a bit,” Krichman said. “It’s been a pretty steady pace for registration up until this week. I’d expect the running community will be back and registering, whether it’s in a few days or a few weeks as they always do once this wave of panic settles down. The one thing we don’t want to do is to overreact and cancel too soon, and then long-time runners would be upset. We’re going to keep monitoring the situation, and we’ll make a decision closer to the race.”

According to Durango Running Club president Sean Meissner, the club is not planning on canceling its usual Tuesday hill workouts for the next two weeks. Meissner said on average, about 12 runners show up to the workout, and it will go ahead as scheduled.

“Obviously, we’ve seen a lot can happen in 48 hours, but it’s still on for now,” Meissner said. “We do intervals and it’s not like we’re hanging out, you don’t wait for the next person and just go. There are other events in a few weeks away, but we’re not ready to cancel those just yet, either.”

Durango Running Club has a pub run at the end of the month and April 8 will kick off its weekly Wednesday night trail run, but Meissner said those events are up in the air.

“As of now, we will have to meet as a board and decide what is best,” Meissner said. “Whether or not runners go into Steamworks after the workout, I’ll leave that up to them. The run will likely go on as planned, and same with our start of the trail running season. But the events that follow might not. We’ll keep people posted and will update our website with information as we have it.”

In the meantime, Krichman said the best way to not fret about the situation is to go for a run.

“We want our community to do everything they need to do to stay safe and healthy,” Krichman said. “One of those things is to go for a run. It helps keep your blood flowing, your lungs pumping and it’s good for your immune system. What can be better than finding a nice, secluded trail and doing a five-mile run? For all the people that love running out there like myself, I’d say continue to go for runs. Enjoy time on the trails, and hopefully they are going back home to their families safe and healthy.”

bploen@durangoherald.com

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