The Town ‘n’ Trail 10K | AspenTimes.com

The Town ‘n’ Trail 10K

Some events are special right out of the gate — last weekend's Town 'n' Trail 10K was one of them. Organized by Lexi and Ray McNutt, of Aspen, the inaugural run brought locals and out-of-towners together to raise awareness and funds for the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

In 2011, Lexi was diagnosed with MS, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of muscle control, vision, balance and sensation. "Even though being diagnosed with MS was overwhelming," she said, "I'm fortunate my symptoms at this time are mild and there are several medications that help treat MS. Just 15 years ago, there were no medications available, and now I benefit from all the research on MS that was used to develop them."

As a way to give back, the idea for the benefit was born. Together with friends, Lexi and Ray created an incredibly meaningful event "filled with soul," said Julie Hardman, a member of the race committee that also included Kathy Pike, Kathy Fry, David Blumentritt, Lissa Ballinger and Jacqui Ball.

From the morning stretch led by Aspen Club fitness trainer Dirk Schultz to emcee Cat Leonatis encouraging all at the start and across the finish line to the exuberant Christy Mahon cheering on course as a race marshal to jam band Sleight of Hand playing the Limelight Hotel after-party, it truly was a community effort rich with spirit, support and passion.

Equally impressive were the winning times. Overall champion Linden Mallory (41:47) and female leader Annie Gonzales (44:19) set the course records in lightning-fast paces.

"We are so excited that our first event was such a huge success with 99 runners finishing the race and raising in excess of $28,000," Lexi said afterward. It's been "a tremendously heartwarming and rewarding experience to have such an outpouring of support from the community."

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