The Marshall Fire, which began on December 30, 2021, blazed across more than 6,000 acres of Boulder County, Colorado, hitting the towns of Superior and Louisville particularly hard. As of today, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Boulder County is home to many professional endurance athletes, who are drawn to the area’s dozens of trails, beautiful scenery, and high altitude from Thursday, January 6 and Friday, January 7 to relief efforts Jenny Simpson, who documented her fire experience through multiple tweets.
Now, in the wake of the Marshall Fire, the Boulder County running community has come together to support one another.
Monarch High School track and cross country coaches Maddie Alm and Laura Thweatt—who are also professional runners—were devastated to learn how the fire affected their student-athletes. Six families with runners on the Monarch team lost their homes.
“We just couldn’t even begin to imagine being 15, 16, 17 years old and having the life you knew gone within a matter of hours,” Thweatt told Runner's World.
Alm and Thweatt started a GoFundMe page to help. They set the fundraising goal at $3,000, hoping to give $500 to each of the affected families for living essentials. They hit the goal, and then some—as of now, it’s garnered more than $26,000.
The coaches called for clothing donations as well; running shoe and apparel companies such as Saucony, Brooks, New Balance, Hoka, Nike, Oiselle, and ON came through with an overflow of gear.
Thweatt credits the local running community for making the fundraiser so successful.
“Running is an extremely tough sport,” Thweatt said. “Because of that it fosters a mutual respect and love for one another, because we all understand what it takes to go out there everyday and do what we do—no matter the level, group, or team. It really is like we are one big family.
“Our community faces an extremely challenging and long road ahead, but I am hopeful that we will heal,” she continued. “The only way to do that is by supporting one another, lifting one another [up], and reminding those who lost everything that they are not alone.”
In Motion Running organizations are banding together to help the community.
→ Runner’s Roost in Boulder is collecting clothing, pet food, non-perishable foods, bathroom essentials, and more for those affected by the fire.
→ Trail runner Hillary Allen hosted the Hillygoat Fundraiser for Marshall Fire Victims on Saturday, January 8. She ran four laps around Mount Sanitas in Boulder, and participants were encouraged to join her for any amount of laps. Even though the event has passed, donations are accepted at the link above until January 15. All money raised goes directly to families affected by the fire.
→ Citius Running Club, which is based in Denver, hosted a run at Sloan’s Lake in Denver on Saturday, January 8, to raise funds. Participants donated one, five, or 10 dollars to Impact on Education’s Critical Needs Fund for every mile they completed.
“Races & Places pandemic and other contributing factors. When events like this occur, it makes an already difficult situation that much harder,” Citius Running Club founder Amy Woolridge told Runner's World. “I am so incredibly proud of the way our Citius community, and other running communities across the state, have come together to lift up the people around them that need it the most right now.”
→ Boulder Running Company will host a run on January 22 to raise money for donation to Community Foundation Boulder County and Boulder Voices for Children. Additionally, all of the running store’s locations are collecting cases of bottled water for donation.
We will update the article with more ways to support the Boulder County running community as it continues to recover from the Marshall Fire.