How is GECKO Changing the World?

Being judged by the company we keep...

One great kid at a time... If you really are judged by the company that you keep GECKO is pretty awesome. As our scholarship recipients get back from their trips we get a view, and so do you, of what they did, and what they learned, "out there" in the wild wilderness that does such wonders on us all... Our first video is supergirl Mele Lelievre.

Pagosa Peak Trail Series

Season Finale!
Here in Pagosa Springs it has been a great race series thus far and we are not done yet! The grand finale, Mountain Chile Cha Cha, is just around the corner and you are invited. We've been racing all summer too and know that this time of the year it is as much about having fun as it is about racing.... Hence, the cha cha has been created with just that groove in mind. The trail is awesome, and of course it isn't easy, it is beautiful too. The leaves should be changing and fall weather in Pagosa is almost always perfect so conditions should be ideal. Just as important though is that the total spirit of this event is about fun. The kids kick it off (that is always fun), the volunteers will most likely be dressed in some crazy outfits and smiling and laughing as you go. The awards are fun, and unique in that typical GECKO kind of way...Once you are done the fun really starts with the towns famous Chile festival and concert. Chile cook off, cold beer, activities for the kids and great music wrap up the day. Spend the evening at one of our great hot springs or just watching the sun set over the Ponderosas and reflect on a great day a great season and a great cause!

RATS - Final Day


Day 6, 26.1 Miles. 5hr. 14min. Runners train all year for a marathon, flat road runs that have water drop stations every mile or two. Experts recommend that you run 1 maybe two marathons a year and take at least 26 days off after running one...So how does it feel to run a really challenging marathon after running 4 1/2 marathons in the previous 5 days. It hurts! The Tour de france riders all say they hate the rest days as you have no idea how your body will respond the following day. I agree. On the "rest day" (after running 52 miles)I woke and felt fresh, rested and ready to go. By noon my legs were getting tight and several soakings in the icy river didn't help much. By 4pm I was feeling a little sick, tight chested, swollen and my legs hurt. With little sleep and the knowledge that the worst was far from over I crawled out of my sleeping bag for the last time, groggy, stiff, tired and wobbly. In every run you get a really good sense of how it will go about 6 steps in. I knew I was trashed. My running buddy Jeremy was kind and tried to let me keep up, but with a six mile climb right out of the start I had no chance of hanging on. I hoped to 'survive' til mile six and see how I felt when the uphill turned to downhill. I kept a positive attitude and picked up the pace. Next stop the 'water drop' at mile 9. The trail forked and I stalled. Right? Left? Not sure... I went both ways and neither felt right. My instincts are always solid but I was unsure. "Taking the road (trail) less traveled" I headed on. With no 'water drop' in site I knew I'd gone the wrong way and headed back the way I'd come. When I found the water drop that was at mile 9 my watch had logged almost 13 miles. Adding 4 miles to the day was not what I'd hoped for but at least I was back on track... Knowing my 2nd place was shot and I was solidly in 3rd I kicked back and finished the day at an easy 5 hour pace. (Still amazed that with the pressure of the bull I ran this same leg in 3:35 5 years ago). The rest of the runners all had great days and the group finished strong and early. While I didn't win this year, and hadn't intended to, I had much more fun. Several of my new friends will be dear friends in the coming years and several runners embraced GECKO and offered both support, advice and ideas for the future. The goal was miles without misery. I got all that and a bunch of cool stories and great friends. Once again proving that RATS and GECKOs are a great combo in the desert. To those that followed along THANKS! To those that ran along, thanks to you too... Racer Blog Posts
Race Results

RATS - Day Four


Day 4, 52miles, 10hrs. 58min. Eight thousand feet of climbing to just over 8,400’ makes for a great day. A day filled with long, long climbs, crazy cliffs and views that leave you breathless. Last time this was the stage that the bull and I threw it down and I ran myself in to a delirious mess of a mush. Today was about pace, taking in the event and appreciating the incredible beauty that happens when the desert meets the mountains. The weather was cloudy, raining and dramatic. The most exciting event of the day was after the run, back at camp, with the most intense lightning storm of my years outside happening over our heads. Several bolts splitting the air immediately around the camp, driving all to sit on the ground and then pile into the few vehicles in camp. EPIC. Feeling great at the finish my thoughts immediately turned to food and in honor of my parents I chow’d down three killer chile cheese dogs. We cranked up a huge fire after the rain and all laughed and re-hydrated away the hours waiting for the remaining runners to arrive. The final man crossed the line just before midnight to cheers and tears and we stumbled off to bed. My legs are fresh, my mind clear and my body is ready to wrap up Saturday with the short 26miles to the finish. Missing my family and friends but thinking of each of you often as I grind away the miles.
Racer Blog Posts
Race Results

RATS - Day Two


Day 2. 38.5 miles. 6hours, 53minutes. Deserts and slow soothing tailwinds are a great combo sitting in camp, not so great when you are running. By 8a.m. I was hot, sweaty and tired. Not so great with 6hours to go. With the red canyons and out to have a catered painted bluffs to the right and the mighty Colorado River deep to the left and the LaSal Mountains looming, far ahead, on the horizon I had plenty to keep my focus away from my aches and pains. Jeremy, my new running buddy, was strong today and kept my spirits high even though I was in a low, hot-spot, most of the day. The “prize” at the end of the day and ultimately our mantra was The River. Thinking, talking and fantasizing about a ice cold dip that awaited us at the finish line kept us putting one foot in front of the other…

As we pushed through mile 26 the ghost of Davide, the bull, wafted through my glazed and foggy thoughts, give me a smile and the energy to push on. Ultimately we finished up, stumbled to the river and took that dip. Suddenly everything felt great and we realized, “it wasn’t really too bad”.

Racer Blog Posts
Race Results

RATS - Day One


Morgan is in 2nd Place! Stage 1, 19 miles. 3hours 8 minutes or so…Great start to RATS… As a training run for Badwater it could have been hotter, but the miles, hills, etc were perfect. Feeling great, going easy and reduced my previous stage 1 time by 8minutes or so. Had a great 12 miles with Jeremy from Trail Runner and did what RATS is best for, created a new friendship with a fellow runner. Sean, smoked stage 1 30minutes or so ahead, leaving me comfortable in 2nd position with little pressure to have to push any harder. To quote my good friend Robbie, Great beginning to a great training week with water stops…

Shaun Martin: Day 1- 2:37
Morgan Murri: Day 1- 3:12
Kyle Baldwin: Day 1- 3:37
Jeremy Duncan: Day 1- 3:38
Ashley Arnold: Day 1- 4:08
Julie Ann Bergman: Day 1- 4:36
Shelly Egli: Day 1- 5:18
Kurt Egli: Day 1- 5:18
Christina Ralph: Day 1- 6:19
Tom Ripley: Day 1- 6:19



148 miles of heat, rocks and sand I sit in one of my favorite places on earth, the desert of Ut. As a boy I scrambled across the rocks and sand here each day. When we walked to our one room school house it was across the red sand and sandstone. All our white clothes were red, red socks, red underwear, red t-shirts. Now as an adult I realize how fortunate I was and how this raw, rugged, red, extreme environment shaped the me I am today. I am here to run 148 miles from Fruita, Co. to the mecca of Moab, Ut. This is a stage race. Competing each day for a "total" time, similar to the Tour de France. The stages are: 19miles, 38miles, 9miles, 52miles and 26.1 miles. This is a hard way to run 148 miles. Recovery is key and saving a little gas for the following day is important. In 2005 I won this race in what will most likely go down as one of my best ever running efforts as I battled it out every day with a bull from Italy named Davide. This year I am here to relax, reflect and run far in the heat to prepare for Badwater next month. Four years ago I ran for me. This year I run for the GECKO. I hope I have time to enjoy the view, savor the sand and dream about what will be. I'll keep you posted.

GECKO is Off to the Races!


Turkey Track Trail Raises More Than $2,000
for GECKO Scholarship Fund

The Turkey Track Trail Marathon and Half-Marathon kicked off Saturday under ideal running conditions. Of the ninety-four registrants from ten states and more than thirty-five cities, seventy-five individuals finished the beautiful and challenging course. Every runner interviewed said that they’d had a blast following the gold ribbons provided by event sponsor Montrail Shoes through the lush ponderosa forests of Pagosa Springs, CO.

Each runner also had a story about why they run and how they came to run in Pagosa Springs. A few of the highlights include; Kirsten Alburg from Girwood, Alaska and David Selkowitz from Anchorage, Alaska, who searched the country for a “Mountain Marathon, without snow and without grizzly bears” to complete their very first full marathon. Both finished in style. Henry Rueden from De Pere, Wisconsin came to Pagosa to complete his 603rd marathon! Female ultra-runner Jenna Gruben made sure that her trip from Steamboat Springs worth the drive by winning the women’s Marathon and giving the men a run for their money by finishing fourth overall. Our signature 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 fabulous attendance by out of town racers, the eighteen runners from Pagosa Springs 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, who 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 true ultra style. New to town ladies Jennifer Riekenberg and Linda Stanger won the women’s over forty half marathon finished second in the women’s marathon respectively.

One of the most appreciated aspects of the race were the handmade finisher medals created by Ms. Tessie Garcia and several of her third grade artists from Pagosa Springs Elementary School. Racers commented how cool it was to have “signed art” as an award.

Events like these cannot succeed without volunteers and support. More than thirty 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 that support GECKO’s mission to get kids unplugged, off the couch and outside!

If you missed the Turkey Track Trail, don’t worry. If you participated and want do it again, don’t worry. You’ll all get a second chance. Next month (July 18th) our second event, The Devil Mountain 50k and Half-Marathon takes place! Make sure to put it on your calendar now, and register today by clicking here.