When I took over Red Rock Running Company a little over three years ago, the goal was always to help grow a strong running community in Las Vegas. One of the ways that happened was through the store runs. The RRRC store runs have been an amazing success. Paces + Pints in Henderson is a blast! I love my Tuesday night run with the group and hanging out with them afterwards at the park. Cardio & Carbs at the Centennial location is a Thursday night hit! Both groups have grown, and they continue to grow! Our Saturday group is great as well, with Pastries, Smiles, and Miles being my favorite way to get long miles in with a group.
Late in 2020 I thought to myself, “Self, we’re doing great with road running groups, but what we don’t have is a trail running group.”
I quickly answered myself, as I am wont to do, “Yeah Mark, but you know nothing about trails!”
“That’s not true,” I replied to myself. “You run at Lone Mountain and Tule Springs… sometimes.”
“Really Mark, you’re going to call those trails?”
“Kind of. They have dirt. And sometimes rocks.”
“Listen Mark, I love your enthusiasm,” I told myself, “but what you really need to pull this off are people who know more about trails than you do.”
“I’ve got it!” I snapped my fingers. “Ants. Ants know more about trails than I do.”
“I’m going to need you to take this seriously, Mark,” I told myself.
“Look,” I answered myself, “just about anybody in Las Vegas knows more about trails than me.”
I crossed my eyes and held my breath. Then after I blacked out it came to me in a vision. A picture of our weekly group runs descended into my vision. The members of the group who were regular trail runners glowed and stood out to me.
“Oh wow,” I said. “We’ve got several trail runners who already come to our group runs. And several of them are even ambassadors!”
“I’m glad we had this talk,” I said to myself. “Next time try not to pass out.”
There was really only one person I could ask. If you don’t follow Tim McKenzie on Strava you should look him up. The guy gets out on some serious adventures in the wilderness. He isn’t looking to break any speed records, he’s out there finding the beautiful things that the desert has to offer and motivating the rest of us. I approached Tim with the idea and Trail Time was born.
With other ambassadors, we are creating a weekly Sunday trail run for everybody! So far we’ve had two amazing runs, and the turn out has been outstanding. Today was the first day of Daylight Savings Time, and with it being cold I wasn’t expecting a big group. To my surprise we had an amazing group show up. Everybody was in good spirits as we headed out at 7:00am, even though several of us couldn’t feel our fingers and our toes!
I can’t stress how much work Tim and another ambassador, Carl Houghton, have put into this. For the first three weeks they went out and found trails, provided gpx files for everybody to load to their watch, and organized the whole thing. They did this without expectation of pay or any kind of benefit. They just wanted to help grow the community. My hat goes off to them. The community needs people like this.
As we headed out we were in the shade, but soon the sun was rising and we turned a corner and headed up a slow but steady incline. The group got a bit separated, but Carl, our leader, waited at the top of the hill. We each came in, all at our own pace, and everybody had a smile on their face. Tim, who can really rock it if he wants to, was making sure everybody got to where they were supposed to. As the last person made it to the top, we headed off again to the next checkpoint.
Throughout the day we had runners complete 3, 5, and 8 mile routes. Everybody was happy and it was the perfect way to start the day and enjoy the beauty the desert has to offer. I’m amazed at what an amazing group we had at only our second event, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this grows as we continue to host it.
After the run was over a group of us headed to Roberto’s to celebrate with some breakfast burritos. We’re thinking of adding a breakfast component to every Trail Time event, but we’ll see if we can make that happen. Whether we have it or not, I can honestly say that I enjoyed meeting some new runners and running on trails that I’ve never been on before. I love living in Las Vegas, and I love seeing when people come together and do things for each other. If you know Tim, Carl, Drew, Ana, or any of the other ambassadors we have, you know that they are always willing to help another runner or walker out.
I’m looking forward to meeting more of you as we continue this event! I can’t wait to see what adventures await me on the trails!