February “news”

SJMR news for February 2018:

It seems I keep bumping into people lately that want to start running or want a new sphere of friends.  A young man that I just met asked me, “You run?”  “Yeah, I do,” I replied.  “I’ve been thinking about getting into running,” he told me. Then he became somber and looked me straight in the eyes. He paused as if he wasn’t sure if he wanted to tell me what he was really thinking.  “I need…” he looked down, “some new friends. The ones I’m with are bad for me.”  I told him about our club. About how we would love to have him come out and join us and the good people that will embrace him and be a better influence in his life.  His eyes lit up and there was a glimmer of hope I didn’t see before.  I can relate to this guy.

You see, a few years ago I decided to retire and move to the Western Slope. It was a difficult time. I had retired from an awesome career but the demands of that job were taking its toll and I needed to make a change. Unfortunately, two hours after I tendered my resignation my dad went to the ER. Five days later he passed away from cancer. No one knew he was sick. A few months later, I went thru a divorce and a few other curve balls came flying in my direction at the same time.  This isn’t a feel sorry for me story.  It’s just how things fell out before I moved here.

SJMR club members, Marvin and Donna Schutzius, which I’ll probably never be able to repay their graciousness toward me, were the only friends I had out here. They introduced me to SJMR by way of a Sunday morning trail run at Enchanted Mesa in Ridgway. It was incredible. That morning, everyone I met was smiling, happy, and accepting of me joining in.

Recently, our officers have decided to update our club’s mission statement. This is a statement that reflects why we gather together and run and afterward enjoy some great company with each other. Plus, the events we’re involved in to the organizations we give back to in the community. We hope to have a few drafts of the mission statement for everyone to view soon. So far, the first few versions are absolutely incredible. I know this is probably a tease without giving you something to look at yet, but I just wanted to mention it and give you a chance to begin thinking about our ‘why.’

I gotta tell ya, I so appreciate our club accepting me for who I am. That’s amazing to me. Friends aren’t easy to come by, especially good people with good hearts that will call me their friend.  I hope the man I just met that needs a new set of good influences in his life will come out and join us.

That’s really what our mission is. It’s what our club is all about. A place for people from all walks of life, that love life. A club that embraces wholeheartedly the beginning runner, to the casual walker, to the runner who is training for a specific event. Filled with members who absolutely love to help and encourage and share their running passion with others.  A place where you can be at ease, have a great time, and surround yourself with good people that will embrace you…as a friend. ~ Christian Martin

​San Juan Mountain Runners & Black Canyon Ascent History:

Kinda fun reading about the first ever first Black Canyon Ascent Race.  Recently we came across a 3-ring notebook and a small box full of old newspaper articles and newsletters, etc. chronicling the history of our club and past races.  Did you know this club goes back to at least 1977 in Montrose?!  We would love it if someone would volunteer to digitize all of this info so we could have it in a more up-to-date format and hopefully preserve it for the future.  Anyone out there willing and able to help out with this?  If so, please contact me (Lori) and I’ll make sure the material gets to you.  Write to sanjuanmountainrunners@gmail.com and put “history” in the subject line.  Thanks!

Little Lower Spring Creek Loop * A Trail Report

~ submitted by Chris Tarman

I’m always on the lookout for interesting trails, and I recently learned about a new one in the area. Okay, so it might not be that new, but it was new to me. It might be new to some of you as well.

Many of you are probably familiar with Lower Spring Creek Canyon. Not long ago, an extension trail was built that makes it possible to do an eleven mile loop in the canyon, rather than just the old standard out-and-back run, or shuttling further up onto the plateau to do a longer point-to-point run.  I first ran this loop with a couple of friends on December 10, and then again on December 31.  The trail conditions were fine both times. There was some snow in shady spots, but nothing major.

The trailhead is located just a few yards before mile marker 3 on Dave Wood Road, which is about 5.5 miles up Dave Wood Road from the turn off of Oak Grove. The trail descends steeply into the canyon almost immediately. This is the most technical and difficult section of the trail. You’re going to have to climb back up this at the end. There’s no shame in walking this part!

At the bottom of the switchbacks, at 0.3 miles, take the right trail through the split rail gateway.  This trail (called the Lower Spring Creek Connector) winds along, mostly descending, until you come to a creek bed at mile 1.47. It’s been dry every time I’ve crossed it, but it might possibly flow in the spring. At mile 1.54 there’s a bigger water crossing which is no problem now, but I’ve crossed it when it was nearly knee-deep (this photo is looking back after crossing). There’s another little creek crossing shortly after this, which might be dry at times.

At mile 2.12, you’ll come out onto a dirt road.  Go left. You can go right and eventually come out at the Buzzard Gulch trailhead, but that’s a different run!

​From this point, the route is fairly straightforward. You’ll be climbing quite a bit as you make your way upstream. The trail consists of an old dirt road, but the COPMOBA folks have put in some single track trails that parallel it in places.  At about mile 6, you’ll come to the big creek crossing. It’s pretty well frozen now, but from what I understand, it’s pretty tricky during the spring runoff.

There’s a pretty steep climb up on the other side for a half a mile or so, at which point you take a left turn onto the Lower Spring Creek Trail.  From here, it’s a mostly gentle descent back to the steep climb out of the canyon. Total distance is right at 11 miles, with about 1,550 feet of climbing. I didn’t see them, but there was evidence of a lot of cattle.  There are a few short rocky sections that can be tricky, however, so stay focused and don’t trip like I did!


The Black Canyon Ascent Run and Challenge Walk is scheduled for May 19th at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  This event features a tough, scenic 6-mile course starting at an elevation of 6500′ and climbing almost 2,000′ to the rim of the Black Canyon National Park. For over 40 years, beautiful vistas and scenic surroundings have inspired people to challenge themselves and the competition in this classic Western Colorado event.  Early bird registration fee is $30 until March 19th and youngsters (13 and under) are FREE with paid adult.  SJMR members also get a $10 discount (so if you haven’t renewed your membership yet, now is a good time to do it).  Club members can contact Jan Peart at jbridgway@msn.com for the discount code.  To register online click here

Mark Your Calendars!  The 3rd Annual Girls on the Run 5K will be held this May 12th.  This 5K is the culmination of the spring Girls on the Run program that runs in many of the local schools.  Girls learn a variety of topics including health, wellness, self-esteem, etc.  And they run… building up to running their first 5K.  And we need volunteers!  This is a fun event to volunteer at… options include: set up, tear down, registration, course marshalls, course sweepers, course fairies, bicycles to lead the course, water / aid station, finish line helpers…  contact Julie Osborne at julieosborne@alpinebank.com or 970-433-8271.

As part of the Freedom Festival organized as a fundraiser for Welcome Home Alliance for Veterans, there will be a 5K fun run and walk on June 9th.  More info on specifics as we get closer to that date will be posted.

The Trail Town 5 & 10 mile races are scheduled for June 30th this year in conjunction with the Ridgway RiverFest.  This event takes place in Ridgway, Colorado nestled in a valley surrounded by the majestic San Juan Mountains. The race features stunning views of mountain peaks and velvety green pastures.  The course is on a runner-friendly gravel road and gently climbs to the east towards the foot of the Cimarron Range. The gentle downhill is the reward heading to the finish. Post-race awards and refreshments await the finishers.  Online as well as day-of-event registration will be available.

For those of you who use Facebook there are several pages to find information on upcoming races and club news:

Montrose & Delta Runners:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/191387481046485/

Black Canyon Ascent:  https://www.facebook.com/events/172864443313645/

Trail Town 5 & 10:  https://www.facebook.com/events/337984243345478/

San Juan Mountain Runners:  https://www.facebook.com/San-Juan-Mountain-Runners-301751839944392/

FUN RUNS:  We meet every Saturday morning all year ’round at Looney Bean in Montrose (3480 Wolverine Dr – near JCPenney and Target).  We are currently meeting at 8:30 AM (this changes seasonally).  All abilities, all ages, walkers, joggers, runners all welcome.

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