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3W Races is a running event production company founded and operated by James and Michelle Bettis in Westminster, Colorado. Here is some of their story:
"When we first moved to Colorado from Maryland in 2011, we were looking for 'our people' - runners and triathletes who loved to be outdoors and enjoyed the camaraderie of pushing our personal limits. We decided to put on a race for 'fun' to meet people. Having only participated in events before this time, we leaned on our friends in the endurance industry in Maryland for some guidance. Sarah Slomkowski, on staff at Athletes Serving Athletes was one of those invaluable counterparts who allowed us to inundate her with logistics questions about race management.
We put on our first 5k, January 1, 2012, and it wasn't long before we wrapped the year with no less than FORTY events produced under the 3W Races shingle! It wasn't our intention to start a race production company, but we loved doing it, received high praise and feedback from participants and business partners and so it grew organically. Eight years later, we're still enjoying the events we produce and LOVING the community that this little race company has fostered. Currently, we have about 70 volunteer ambassadors and part time staffers who chip in to make 3W what it is - a race atmosphere high in enthusiasm and low in pressure for athletes of all abilities.
From the very first event, we wanted to connect with the local community by partnering with a local humanitarian charity. We also wanted to showcase LOCAL business goods and services. Every event we've done has accomplished this which makes us very proud.
As the COVID-19 pandemic infiltrated Colorado this year it abruptly stopped physical racing events. It may not be obvious to outsiders that this significantly impacted our organization. It did. We had to think on our feet and pivot quickly as the company's revenue went to ZERO overnight. With 5 employees on payroll and many more hired out for weekend event support, no revenue means no paychecks for multiple families. We've been using our personal savings to keep our regular workers paid during this time and decided to utilize what we DID have in order to get some events rolling virtually so that our savings would stretch a bit further. Going into our 12th week of shut-down status, virtual events are our lifeblood.
We recognized that racers were equally shook up about not having local race events. For many runners, the goal of race day is the inspiration that keeps us going - mandates our daily training. Getting in miles and sunshine is just as important to our mental health as it is to our physical bodies. Creating virtual events is a way for us to remain engaged, to pay our employees and to encourage runners to keep logging miles!
We hope the Colorado Trail Challenge is something that bring people together from ALL OVER the nation. We've chosen Athletes Serving Athletes as our humanitarian charity partner for this event since we have longstanding ties with them since before 3W ever existed and are so proud of the selfless work they do on the East Coast proving that EVERYONE can cross the finish line! The Colorado Trail Foundation is our other charity partner for this event. One of the big draws for us to relocate to Colorado in 2011 was the expansive trail system throughout the state. Once you've been in these mountains, you'll be hooked, too! During the virtual challenge, we aim to bring the beauty and the rejuvenation the high country offers to our racer friends across America."