New course and Run Fest celebration set for 41st Garden of the Gods Races

Press release & photos from Tim Bergsten. The Pikes Peak Ascent & Marathon is an ATRA corporate member.

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. – Garden of the Gods, a favorite local running race that meanders through one of the country’s most iconic landmarks will feature a new course and a new post-race celebration in 2017.

The Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run and 10K, set for 7 a.m. June 11, will now begin on Gateway Rd. near the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. The race courses circle through the towering red pinnacles and finish on the beautiful grounds of Rock Ledge Ranch, just in time for the start of the new Garden of the Gods Run Fest, featuring live music, food, beer and activities for adults and kids.

For online race registration and more information visit the race website. The Run Fest will begin at 8 a.m. and is free to all.

Race organizers created the new course layout and after party as a way to showcase the best of the Garden of the Gods, including historic Rock Ledge Ranch. The Run Fest will bring running organizations and the outdoor community together in an effort to increase recognition and support for the Garden of the Gods Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing and protecting the park. The Garden of the Gods was donated to the city in 1909.

“We want to create a way for the race organization and our runners to provide financial assistance to the Garden of the Gods park and also show our appreciation for such a beautiful race venue,” says Ron Ilgen, President of Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc.

This year will mark the 41st running of the event, one of the most challenging road races in the country. Runners jokingly refer to the 10 miler as the “toughest half marathon they’ve ever run.” And the scenery is impossible to ignore. In fact, the Garden of the Gods has been recognized by travel website TripAdvisor as the No. 1 Park in the Country, and it recently was mentioned among such attractions as the Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls in Arizona.

It makes sense for the historic running race and the Garden of the Gods Foundation to form a partnership.
“We’re very excited that this longtime event is stepping in to give something back to the park we love,” says Jan Martin, Garden of the Gods Foundation trustee. “It’ll help bring awareness to the years of service devoted to the park by the Garden of the Gods Foundation.”

Runners in the 10-mile and 10K races will experience the best of the Garden of the Gods. The courses are contained within park boundaries, and the finish in Rock Ledge Ranch will provide the perfect ending as participants pass farm animals and barns before landing at the Run Fest. The final half mile of the races will be run on gravel roads and a short trail section.

The Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run is the first leg in the Triple Crown of Running series, which continues on July 9 with the Summer Roundup Trail Run and culminates with the 62nd Running of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon on Aug. 19-20.