This year's Thirsty 13 half marathon in Durango filled its 500 runner cap months ago, and still had a wait list 300 people strong.
Race director Matthew Krichman chalked it up to two things: the course and the beer.
“Whenever you combine running with another popular past time in Durango – beer drinking – it's a winning combination,” he said.
Starting at a church in the country and ending at one of the most celebrated breweries in the southwest, Ska Brewing's World headquarters in Durango, it's literally all downhill. The course drops 1,400 feet.
It's one of six events put on by the Durango Running Club, and they all are growing.
“We're putting Durango on the map as a running mecca,” he said.
And these runners are thirsty. After filling their 34 ounce finisher's trophy mug at Ska, they head downtown and help drain kegs at the San Juan Brewfest in Durango's Buckley Park.
Since the runners started showing up, two years in a row the beer fest ran dry.
Beer in hand, this year's winners, husband and wife Sam and Maggie Yount are digging the Durango running scene. Relocating from the Bay area, Sam Yount said they've been hitting the dirt as well.
“We've been doing some the trail series,” he said. “We are not the fastest in that. There are some pretty fast trail runners here.”
Maggie, the world's fastest 10k runner pushing a stroller, said she aims to set a new speed record, this time in a 13- mile half marathon.
“I like running with my baby,” she said. “It' gives us good naps.”
She also said she likes competing with her husband.
She's revered on the popular running and cycling mobile application STRAVA, that lets you track your speed, and progress. She said she likes that too.
“I like being Queen of the Mountain,” she said. In the app, its known as a QOM.
She called Krichman and his efforts with the Durango Running Club amazing.
“His races are unreal,” she said.
Krichman said they're good because they're for everyone.
“This race is for them, the first time half marathoner, training off the couch,” he said. We've got runners that will finish this race in an hour and 15 minutes (like the Younts) and some in three hours and beyond. We're celebrating all of them.”</p><p>firstname.lastname@example.org</p><p>