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Behind the scenes: Five pieces of dirt on southern Colorado’s trail running scene

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1) You could run 500 miles, easy.

When trail advocacy group Trails 2000 was formed 25 years ago, they aimed to secure a place for recreation in land management. And to this day they have kept good on their promise, litigating for new trails, fighting for old ones, working with land owners and state and federal government to keep the miles of dirt coming. At the moment, 300 miles of trails are within 30 minutes of downtown Durango, and 80 of those are in the city limits.

2) Hard knocks and hard rocks.

The rugged and remote San Juan Mountains loom over Durango, and are home to the Hardrock Hundred Endurance race, a 100-mile sufferfest that has runners scaling mountain ridge trails and climbing and descending nearly 70,000 feet in the process. And yes, it often snows on racers in July.

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3) Gaining ground.

Trail running is growing, Everywhere. By 2012 there were six million trail runners, up from four million in 2006, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

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4) Basecamp.

Durango, Colorado, is picking up speed, becoming home to some of the nation’s, and world’s, leading runners like Anna Frost, Jason Schlarb, Brendan Trimboli, Missy Gosney, Laura Thweatt and Jenn Shelton. Even the local high school track team took seventh place in the nation in 2015.

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5)These runner’s must be high.

Recently, German neuroscientists acknowledged that running, in particular, does in fact flood the brain with endorphins, which can elevate mood and create feelings of well-being and satisfaction. The more runners run, the better they feel. Just ask these trail fiends, the runner’s high is real.

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Contact editor Brandon Mathis at bmathis@bcimedia.com or 970-375-4576.

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