When Tim Long moved from the Front Range to Grand Junction last September, he came to run and cycle.
“It just dawned on me that (the Grand Valley) had everything that I liked” in terms of recreation, Long said. “And it made sense because Grand Junction is centrally located to everything that I enjoy doing.”
For many years, Long has made a living managing large-scale athletic events, as well as coaching (both running and cycling — road and mountain). And over the last few years he’s spent a lot of time traveling to the Western Slope for competition and play (he participates in both ultrarunning and bike races throughout the region).
Since he telecommutes (he currently works for www.lapio.com, as well as manges his own coaching business — www.footfeathers.com), transplanting to Grand Junction was an easy choice for the endurance athlete.
“I work from home, so I’m not tied to any one place,” he explained.
And to solidify his move, Long created a new local group — the West Slope Runners Club — with the help of another Grand Junction runner, Robin Brown.
Thursday, Feb. 27, was the group’s first run. They met at Edgewater Brewery at 5:45 p.m.
“Ten people showed up,” Brown said.
The group did timed 5K and 10K runs, and then they swung by Edgewater Brewery for an extended happy hour afterwards.
According to Brown, this type of run will happen every Thursday, and times for the runners will be posted online — www.westsloperunners.blogspot.com.
“We were really excited when we received the call from the West Slope Runners Club,” Edgewater Brewery spokeswoman Katlin Lubeley said, “ because believe it or not running and craft beer seem to go really well together. Plus we think the runners deserve a nice cold Kannah Creek beer after a long run!”
Other weekly runs are set to happen Monday (at the Tabeguache trailhead) and over weekends (at various locales).
“There will be three group runs each week,” with the weekday runs for all skill levels, Long said. “Weekend runs will be in the 16-20 mile range” for endurance runners.
And all weekly group activities are free, Long added.
“There are tons of runners here, just not a lot of cohesion,” Brown continued.
They both hope West Slope Runners Club will bring like-minded athletes together regularly, year round.
FUTURE OF GRAND VALLEY RUNNING
West Slope Runners Club isn’t the only project Brown and Long are partnering on in the Grand Valley.
The two are also working together to bring a string of annual, destination running races to the area, through their other baby — West Slope Racing.
Events will likely kick off in January 2015, or possibly earlier. Half-marathons through West Slope Racing will likely cost around $60 per runner.
“If we have a huge mountain biking community, it should be a huge running community, too,” Brown said. “It’s the same trails.
“Let’s make this place a running destination.”
For regular updates, like West Slope Runners Club on Facebook — www.facebook.com/westsloperunners.