GECKO’s Pagosa Peak Trail Series event No. 1

The Turkey Track Trail Marathon and Half Marathon kicked off last Saturday under ideal running conditions.

Of the 94 registrants, from 10 states and more than 35 cities, 75 individuals finished the beautiful and challenging course.

Every runner had a story about why they run and why they came to run in Pagosa Springs.

A few of the highlights include Kirsten Alburg, Girwood, Alaska, and David Selkowitz from Anchorage, Alaska, searching the country for a “mountain marathon, without snow and without grizzly bears” to run their very first full marathon. Both finished in style.

Henry Rueden, of De Pere, Wisc., came to Pagosa to complete his 603rd marathon.

Ultra running’s female “hammer head” Jenna Gruben made her trip from Steamboat Springs worth the drive by winning the women’s marathon and giving the men a run for their money, finishing fourth overall.

Our premier sponsor, Carmichael Training Systems, sent Coach Matt Carnal to offer training advice and prove that if you “train right,” you run well. Matt finished second overall in the half marathon.

In addition to the much-appreciated attendance of the out-of-town racers, the 18 Pagosa Springs runners reflected very well on our local running community. J.D. “Speedy” Kurz won his second of two GECKO races, smoking through the half marathon in 1:29:57. Not far behind, women’s champ, Annie Sewell, also a two-time GECKO winner, finished in 1:40:28 and third overall in the half marathon. Local ultra running legends “Frozen Ed Furtaw” and Patrick McKenzie came out and ran the race in ultra style. New to town ladies, Jennifer Riekenberg and Linda Stanger won the women’s over-40 half marathon, and finished second in the women’s marathon respectively.

Some of the most appreciated aspects of the race were the handmade finisher medals created by Tessie Garcia and several of her third-grade artists from Pagosa Springs Elementary School. Racers commented how truly special they were.

Events like these cannot succeed without volunteers and support. More than 30 local volunteers gave their time and energy to make this first event a success. A very special thank you to the local Wolf Creek Wheel Club, Pagosa Trail Riders ATV Club, and the dozens of local business sponsors.

SUN photo/Terri House
Racers take off from the start line at last Saturday’s Turkey Track Trail Marathon and Half Marathon — GECKO’s Pagosa Peak Trail Series event No.1. There were 94 runners registered for the event, from 10 states and more than 35 cities.