Another great sponsor (and this one brings beer...)
Our mission continues and great businesses and business people continue to take notice. Most recently Tony Simmons, President and head brewmaster of Pagosa Brewing Co. has put the prestige of his award winning beers behind GECKO.
The Pagosa Brewing Co. Brewery is the official beer and after party provider of the Turkey Track Trail and Devil Mountain races. What could be better then cooling down after these two events by chill'n at this great venue, enjoying a cold one and some great food? I'll tell you what... Knowing that all the proceeds from Tony's selected event beer that day will be donated to GECKO. Nice... Another great reason to visit Pagosa Springs.
Register now for a chance to win free luxury lodging and hot springs passes
If you haven't signed up yet for the TTT marathon or 1/2 marathon on June 6th now is the time. Anyone who registers prior to May 15th will be entered in a drawing to win two nights free lodging for the race weekend (June 5th and 6th) and Hot Springs passes for two. Doesn't get much better than this. Free Bluegrass concert Friday night, run the marathon or 1/2 on Saturday, soak away the day Saturday night before you crash at the Elkwood Manor Bed and Breakfast( www.elkwoodmanor.com ) Sunday morning have a great breakfast then hit the pools again. And don't worry. If you are already signed up you are in. If you've already booked your room we'll change the dates for you. When you come to run in Pagosa Springs it's all good! What are you waiting for? Go to the events page and sign up now!
We are incredibly proud to announce that Mele LeLievre and Daniel Armbrecht are the very first recipients of GECKO outdoor education and leadership school scholarships. These two students exemplify the desire, courage and commitment GECKO is all about. Each student will attend The High Mountain Institute for 16-18 days of outdoor and leadership education. We are confident that this opportunity for Mele and Daniel will open doors within themselves and to the world further supporting their desires to make a difference. The trip of a life time or the beginning of a lifetime of adventure? Time will tell. We have complete confidence in the desire, compassion and integrity of these two superstars.
Congratulations Mele and Daniel!
The Trip from there to here.
Just a year ago I'd spent more than 40 hours traveling home from Martahon Des Sables in the Sahara Desert. Add to this the 29 hours it took to run the 152 miles. I was tired. However, I was also invigorated. The time alone and away, raw in the emptiness of the foreign desert had served a purpose. I had entered the event looking for something. For something bigger than me, bigger than a great finish. I realized along the way I was looking for meaning. I'd long ago given up trying to figure out what it was that drew me into ever more difficult events and challenges. Eventually I hope to "fail greatly". Until then I've been happy enough to "suffer greatly". Purpose in hand I was on a quest for meaning. Day two of the MDS found me hot, stressed and fearing that "failing greatly" was upon me. Twenty miles into a twenty two mile stage and I was in trouble. I laughed. I could see the tent city. Home. So close yet impossibly far. I was done. Eventually I got it together, The hardest two miles I'd run in a long time (o.k., shuffled) and I was 'safe'. Lying in the sand, empty, lonely and stripped to the nerve the meaning came to mind like the dust devils of the dunes, softly at first, then quick and real. Run for this. Run to help kids experience what I was in the midst of. Raw, real, stripped down connection with the natural world. What better reality check then to be completely focused on water, wood (or camel poop as the case may be), fire and food (and coffee of course). With a lot of thought, effort, advice, love and care, GECKO was born. I reviewed my notes and video clips of that trip recently. I was struck by my mellow, yet solid clarity of purpose and feelings. It has been a great year. GECKO is real. We are getting kids into the woods and the world is starting to listen. If you don't have taking your kids camping on your summer agenda add it now. Soon I'll be back in the desert. This time less alone and with my meaning tucked into my pack. I'm excited to see where we go... I invite you to join or follow along. It's going to be a great trip. Morgan Murri, GECKO founder
Morgan's Special Thank You to All of GECKO's Sponsors and Partners
It's incredible. Thanks to the support of people just like you, we’ve come amazingly far in just one year. So many great things are happening it is a race just to keep up. To make it easier for everyone to follow along, we’ve added a few new features. This newsletter is the first of many. We promise not to spam you, but we also are excited to tell you about the new programs and scholarships that we’ve been able to offer! In addition, GECKO is now using Twitter to micro-blog about relevant news items and happenings. Also, if you're new to our website, you’ll notice that there is a brand new way to donate to GECKO through a service called TipJoy. It’s completely safe, and uses the Paypal account you already have. Best of all, the suggested donation amounts are small (though they can be any size) and we’ll Tweet about your good works (through Twitter) on GECKO’s behalf!
For 2009, GECKO has also gained support from a couple of top-shelf, forward thinking companies. Carmichael Training Systems (CTS), which has lead the coaching and personal guidance industries with proven and innovative products, services, and content since 2000. The results speak for themselves; no other coaching company produces more champions, in such a wide variety of sports and age groups, than CTS. In an innovative move, CTS has signed on with GECKO and as a sponsor for the RUNColorado Pagosa Peaks Trail Race Series. Not only are they providing GECKO with support, they are offering it to you as well. This includes:
- A free training plan for anyone who signs up for a Pagosa Peaks trail race
- A free, no obligation coaching consultation is available to anyone who signs of for the entire Pagosa Peaks Series
- Discounted entries into the CTS Running Camp in Leadville, CO
- CTS Coaches at all of our events to support you and answer your questions
We’re also proud that footwear leader Montrail is supporting GECKO. Montrail delivers premier trail-running and hiking footwear for outdoor athletes around the world who expect excellence from themselves and their products. For everyday comfort, Montrail created a uniquely contoured, thermo-moldable sandal and insole. Montrail is synonymous with the best fitting, cutting-edge outdoor footwear. As they say, “Best on Trail™ is more than a phrase. Top athletes live it and it's our commitment to them.”
To our sponsors and to each of you: Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to hearing from you often and seeing you soon.
Several cliche's come to mind—Be careful what you wish for—Dream it, live it—Go big or go home. Whatever the tag, Badwater 2009 is a reality! I am proud to be one of just 80 runners from around the world to be invited to what is arguably the "Worlds toughest foot race"... Here is a recap: The Badwater Ultramarathon Race has never been about being realistic. A 135-mile suffer fest across Death Valley, in the summer, with the sting of Mount Whitney at its tail, Badwater is by its nature a test of incomprehensible hubris, whittling runners and their support crews to a raw and even bloody edge. The event is billed as "The World's Toughest Foot Race." No one argues the claim. Ultramarathon poster boy Dean Karnazes won't even say he "won" when he finished first in 2004, only that he "survived the fastest." We believe it is no coincidence that the 135 mile race aligns perfectly with our newest outdoor adventure provider WILDPagosa. For $135 we can enroll a child is this program for the entire week. Don't just watch get involved. Go to our donate page and hit that $135 button. Think of it as a buck a mile, or a buck a degree. Either way how better to get a kid outdoors for a week? We'll suffer so you don't have too!
Morgan Murri Runs the 34-mile Red Hot 55k
What better way to celebrate Valentines day then running 34 miles through the incredible desert of Moab, Ut. (with Nancy of course). The first big run of the year was awesome! Not only a great chance to reconnect with several Ultra-running friends but also a perfect venue to talk GECKO and spread the word about our RUNColorado Pagosa Peaks Trail Race series. It was an added bonus that I finished 3rd place masters and knocked 56 minutes off last years time going 5 hours 23 minutes. Pretty good in a field of 200+. Nancy smiled all the way through the shorter (but far from short 20 miler). This race is tough but certainly one of the most scenic races in the region and a great way to get out of the snow! The icing on the cake was that several runners recognized my GECKO shirt and asked about GECKO, the race series and if I was the "GECKO guy". The word is spreading...help us spread the word!
GECKO teams with WildPagosa to reconnect area youth with the outdoors through hands-on experiences.
At GECKO dreams and ideas are always big. However, changing the world and focusing on your backyard do not have to be mutually exclusive. GECKO is very proud to announce support and alliance with the local program WILDPagosa. "Enable youth to reconnect with the outdoors through sensory exploration and hands-on experiences that help synthesize learning. One of the main goals of the program is to foster a deep respect and appreciation for the natural world and to encourage participants to become stewards of the earth." These values and this program align perfectly with the GECKO mission. "What I liked the best was making the animal sculptures and cooking in the solar ovens. I also liked going on hikes and seeing the does and fawns. in the forest." (Taylor) "I liked the hiking and I liked making solar ovens. I made pizza in my solar oven. Every kid should go. I want to go back, but I don't know if I can." (Joey) This year GECKO will provide at least 10 Scholarships for students, that have no other resources to attend this program, to attend the week long WILDPagosa outdoor school. Stay tuned for the interactive way you can get involved. If you can't wait, click "Donate now" on the header to make a difference now.
Full Moon, Fire, Food and the outdoors
The newly formed Pagosa Nordic Club and the well established San Juan Outdoor club teamed up with GECKO for a full moon fundraiser. In our ongoing effort to build inter-community involvement and raise money for GECKO we used the full moon to celebrate a multi club event and fun(d) race. The local Ranch Community graciously donated their private open space. Local hero Norm Vance spent the day grooming a skate ski and classic track to perfection. Just prior to sun down several area skiers hammered off into the dusk for a three lap race. The race wrapped up as the full moon cleared the clouds and the San Juan Outdoor club bonfires hit full glow. Food, drink and stories were shared by all. Following dinner everybody donned either skis or snowshoes and headed out under the moon to work off the burgers and brats. What a great way to kick off fundraising for 2009! Race proceeds were spilt between GECKO and the Nordic club. Race finishing positions; Robbie "the hammer" Johnson, Mike "the limit" Clinton, Emily "Overall" Deitz, Bruce "On your left" Adams, Tom "yes I'm 60" Stein, Morgan "crash" Murri, Jurgen "4 sport" Montgomery, James "Nordic Club" Dickoff, Doug "two hips" Call, Justin "I just started" Stone. Thank you to all that particpated.