January “news”


Greetings Everyone!

I truly hope that you had a wonderful start to the new year and have been able to take advantage of the incredible weather we’ve been having.  Admittedly, we need more snow, especially in light of the upcoming Winter Rim Romp. But let’s remain hopeful, we do have a few weeks to go and there have been a few white flakes floating around here and there. Thank you to all of you who are involved with San Juan Mountain Runners. Perhaps you’re a die-hard member or you occasionally run with us on the trails or in town; either way, thank you for being involved. It’s a real privilege to be with like-minded folks as yourselves.

A big shout out to Dan Quigley, our outgoing President, who has been at the helm for many years. These are big shoes to fill and I am honored, as well as incredibly humbled, to step into this position. Thank you, Dan, for all that you’ve done for our club and the leadership you brought. All your hard work and effort has brought us to a new chapter and we are so very grateful for you. And, for all that you still do for us. Of course, I don’t want to leave anyone out in the thank-yous; however, I do need to keep this short. All of you who’ve given so much time over the years in making this club what it is…well, a thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough, but I hope all you know how appreciated you are! Thank you!

As we start the new year, our club officers will be meeting soon…like within a week from writing this. There’ll be a series of meetings in a short period of time to address some ideas and our direction for 2018. I’m very excited about our races coming up and some of the thoughts expressed during our club’s winter dinner in December.  Some of the items we’ll be discussing include updating our website — which David Jensen has begun to do (awesome job David, thank you!) — the possibility of a frequent newsletter, our identity in the community, and others. Please, if you have an idea for our club, contact me or one of our club officers so that we can bring that to the table for discussion.  No matter how small of an idea you think it is, please let us know. The officers are here to help and serve. I count it an incredible privilege and honor to do so. I’ll place my email below for a point of contact. I usually respond within the same day.

I look forward to the 2018 running season with you and hope to see you on the trails.  Thanks again to all of you.  ~Christian (sjmr.pres@gmail.com)

Several of the folks in our club are training for the Canyonlands half marathon and 5 mile race in Moab on Saturday, March 17th.  If you (or someone you know) might be interested in training and/or carpooling please contact Jan Peart at jbridgway@msn.com.  For more information on the race, click here


Thanksgiving Day of 2017 was a perfect day for combining families, friends, eating well and record-setting running. A record number of participants (over 500) in this year’s annual Turkey Trot enjoyed good weather, great camaraderie, and plentiful prizes.  The participants varied greatly in their athletic aspirations, many enjoying a relaxing pre-meal walk while others ran as if it were the Olympic trials.  Several people generously donated many items for door prizes including many of our San Juan Mountain Runner members who donated baked items. Kylee Smith did a fabulous job as race director, as always, and a big fat THANK YOU to all our volunteers who helped with registration and throughout the race.

Mark Thursday, November 22, 2018, on your calendars for the next annual Turkey Trot, because where else can you enjoy such fun and camaraderie and justify that second piece of pie?!


One of the newest additions to the trail system at the Gunnison Gorge, the Bighorn Trail offers amazing views and has prominent signs marking each of its two access points – submitted by John T. Unger

The rare beauty of the Gunnison Gorge offers wonderful opportunities right now, before the next big wet snows arrive.  The Bighorn Trail is just a few years old and has been laid out in such a way as to offer excellent views of the Gunnison River far below, views which are not as visible from the other nearby trails.

This trail links the upper ends of the Bobcat Trail and the Duncan Trail.  By doing so, it offers an option for hikers or trail runners who may not want the steep down-slope hiking of either of those trails.  The Bobcat Trail, for instance, is only a mile long from it’s trailhead at the Gorge’s rim down to the river itself, but it drops 800 feet in that one mile.  During that drop, it is certainly a primitive trail and has no resemblance to the broad trails often found in National Parks which sometimes may look like smooth if unpaved sidewalks.

Just north of there is the Duncan Trail, not quite as primitive until its lower half mile of trail, but still impassable for horses.  In its mile and a half of length from rim to river, it drops 840 feet.  Therefore, one appeal of the Bighorn Trail is that it gives a mile and a half of trail running rich with gleaming vistas, while only requiring one-fourth of the down and up hiking that occurs on either the Bobcat or the Duncan.  This makes it a fine alternative for friends and family members of varying fitness levels and abilities to enjoy while together.

Allure of longer loops

What if the friends or family members are more fit, experienced, and ambitious?  In that case, the Bighorn Trail and the upper few hundred feet of the Bobcat and Duncan Trails can be combined with the non-wilderness, shared-use trail at the top of the ridge to make a 4.7 mile loop.  This final section completing the loop is part of the Redrocks-Nighthorse Trail. Beyond this loop, it continues along the ridge for about three miles further south and nine miles further north.

Having this long ridge trail available can allow a hiker or runner to stitch together segments of any of these trails, and if combined with unmarked traversing along the river’s edge, loops of seven, ten, or fifteen miles can be done. While not appropriate for novice hikers, these longer loops hold great appeal for the experienced and well-supplied enthusiast.  In this case, well-supplied means that one must carry a water filter, a good map, food, rain gear, and clothing suitable for changing temperatures, among other necessities.  Have a smart phone?  Do not expect it to be able to make a rescue call once you leave the rim and enter the canyon, where its GPS functions may not be usable either.

These just described longer loops involve significant numbers of footfalls on trails that cannot be described with any terms such as gradual, well-defined, clearly marked, or gentle. For the kind of trail that offers anything like that more straightforward hike, choose instead the Bighorn Trail and its awe-inspiring views.

From downtown Montrose, you can get there by driving north on Park Avenue, continuing north when you cross the San Juan Bypass, as the pavement ends after two miles and it becomes 64.00 Road.  At the “T” in the road, turn right and it becomes Peach Valley Road, which leads past the Off-Highway Vehicle Staging/Open Riding area which is just inside the National Conservation Area boundary.  After passing Eagle Valley Road and then Wave Road, you will be able to turn onto Bobcat Road (if in a high clearance vehicle) or Duncan Road a mile and a half farther north.  Each of these two roads leads up the hill to its respective trailhead.  Do not go without a map (available at the BLM office).  Do know that these roads are impassable when wet.

Whether you choose the wild or the mild versions of these trails, the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and Wilderness can be counted upon to make a great impression and a powerful experience.



The Winter Rim Romp is scheduled for February 10th at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  This is a challenging and fun out-and-back course with options for distance and style. Choose a 5 mile snowshoe race or a 10 mile freestyle (skate or classic) ski race. Non-competitive timed 5 mile freestyle ski also available. Awards for winners. After-party hosted by Horsefly at Brew & Bogey Restaurant at the Black Canyon Golf Course with a free beer and a bowl of chili. Lots of swag and lots of fun. All this to benefit Mended Little Hearts of Western Colorado, a non-profit group providing support and friendship for families with children born with congenital heart defects. No park admission fees. Groomed course on the South Rim Road.

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.


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/

Winter Rim Romp:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2028447834097169/

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

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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