As outdoor enthusiasts and athletes, Joe Berg and Heath Kirschner spent many hours running trails and talking. Loving to race, that also meant they were always "shlepping," as Berg put it, their kids from race to race. Last October, they hosted the first Mountain Goats Kids Trail Race along with three additional run loving "Mountain Goat Fathers" Pat Sullivan, Paul Landry and Tom Able. Just by word of mouth between friends, over 50 kids showed up to race at Bear Creek State Park. "We just wanted to see what kind of support and interest we could get before we did multiple races," says Berg.
After the success of the first race, the team decided to continue with the endeavor. The first race is set for March 16th at Bear Creek State Park and will feature three distances. Parents are encouraged to run with their Mini Goat or Junior Goat children.
Mini Goats (4 yrs and Under) - .5 mi - 1.0 mi run course
Junior Goats (5 yrs to 8 yrs) - 1.5 mi - 2.0 mi run course
Senior Goats (9 yrs to 13 yrs) - 5K run course
Looking at the distances per age, one might think it may be tough for children but that is part of the idea behind the races. "Yes it is all about having fun, but we also want it to allow the kids to dig down deep. Make an effort and work for it to really feel that sense of accomplishment," says Berg. "There was a girl I distinctly remember after our first race last October that was all smiles and was just so proud of herself, explaining out loud that she never thought she could run that far."
Kirchner adds, "It is meant to be fun for families, to get them out and draw them to beautiful areas of Colorado they might not have already experienced or seen."
Berg and Kirschner agree that parents should talk to their children about the mental aspect of the race and the general idea of pacing. "We have all seen the kids take off in the beginning of a race only to be walking and struggling just down the road," says Berg. "Before the first race we gave a pre-game speech letting the kids know that yes it is going to be hard but they just need to get back up and keep running."
Children can expect an atmosphere much like they experience attending the events that their parents race, from receiving finisher medals to a post race party. "We really want to emphasize that these races create time for parents and children to spend together," says Berg.
After paying for permits, insurance and additional fees, all entry money goes towards providing sports and fitness equipment and healthy snack for at risk youth throughout the state of Colorado. The dates and times for three additional races are still in the works. For more details, visit online.