Time to take those new running shoes out of the box because the 45th Basalt Half-Marathon and Relay (BHM) is happening Saturday, June 4.
Aside from the running, the BHM is a fundraiser for the Basalt High School (BHS) cross country program and is one of Colorado’s fastest and most scenic half-marathon races. Starting 13 miles up the Frying Pan Road, runners descend 1,000 feet downhill alongside the Frying Pan River to the finish at Lion’s Park.
According to BHM director Ron Lund, the race starts at 7:45 a.m. All of the runners will be bussed to the starting line at 7:00 a.m. There will be multiple aid stations and noticeable mile markers along the route.
“I think people are excited to get back to doing races,” Lund said. “This year, I’m really trying to push the two-person relay.”
The relay, according to Lund, is a great opportunity for runners who are not quite ready for the half-marathon distance, but still want to participate.
“You can be male, female, or co-ed [teams]. The first runner runs 6.1 [miles] and the second runner does 7 [miles],” he elaborated. “I couldn’t do exactly halfway; there’s just not a good place to set-up — whereas, just up the road, there is a huge parking lot and porta-john.”
The BHM takes place early in the season, allowing runners to beat the heat and does not keep them from competing in late summer races.
Emphasizing that the race’s date is a “good fitness indicator,” Lund said his daughter, Amy Lund Rollins, and Jen Mendez lead a 12-week training program for the Aspen Valley Marathon and factor in the BHM as a training race.
“It helps the runners and the coaches know where they’re at,” he added.
Running for a cause
Since 1977, Lund, who first ran the race in 1979, said the BHM has always operated as a local fundraiser. For the first several years, BHM raised money for the Basalt Library, followed by Lion’s Club, before Lund took it over in the late ‘90s. It was then that it became the sole fundraiser for Alpine Christian Academy’s running program, which his two older daughters participated in.
In 2004, the proceeds shifted to BHS when Lund, who was already the school’s head track coach, founded the school’s first cross country program.
This year’s fundraiser is more important than ever. Starting this year, BHS will no longer fund overnight competitions outside of state or regional championships.
“The money from the race goes toward travel expenses and to help make [overnight] trips happen,” Lund said. “These are life-changing experiences. We had one kid who had never been on an airplane,” he continued. “For kids who are going to take it to the next level, they’ll be running against the best kids in the country.”
“It’s really good that we have this in place,” Lund added.
Over the last few years, the Basalt cross country team has seen its fair share of success thanks to the complementing coaching styles of Lund and Rollins.
“Amy is my assistant coach, but she’s really more like the co-head-coach — especially with the number of girls we’ve had,” Lund said. “Girls have to have a comfort level when it comes to approaching a coach when they have an issue.”
Lund added that they complement each other well. “She’s more personal than me, whereas I come from a more scientific level. It’s a really good balance.”
Last year, the young team had an excellent post-season at the girls’ 3A state meet, with two athletes placing in the top 10. Junior Katelyn Maley won the event and junior Ava Lane placed eighth overall.
Accolades aside, Lund said that at the end of the day kids want to have fun and know that their coaches are invested in their well-being.
“It’s my job as the coach to provide that atmosphere and once that happens, the running part happens by itself. When that clicks, that’s where the satisfaction as a coach comes in regardless of their level,” Lund said.
Ready to race? Head over to www.basalthalfmarathon.com for registration details and more information.
For any questions about the Basalt Half-Marathon and Relay, reach out to Lund at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-618-2063.