A Stroller-Friendly Trail Guide to Keep Parents Running

In 2008 I was on a trail at Elk Meadow Park in the foothills near Denver, Colorado, running one of my favorite routes. It was summer, but the air was breezy. I was thinking about the baby my wife was expecting in a few months and how trail running would be a thing of the past for us soon. I wondered how we could take our kids on workouts in the woods and I decided to find a way to not completely give up.

My wife Debbie and I purchased our first jogging stroller and began running on unpaved trails with our son. The hardest part was finding suitable routes for stroller running among the hundreds of trails in the greater Denver area. Through trial and error, we familiarized ourselves with both the easy and the more advanced routes, complaining all along that there was not a single book or guide devoted to this endeavor. The majority of trails in hiking books turned out to be too steep, narrow, rocky, or sandy for a stroller.

Initially we kept our growing list of routes to ourselves, but increasingly friends and neighbors would ask us for advice. Where could they take their young ones to run? Did we know of any off-road trails near playgrounds? Could we recommend a running route with picnic tables near a river? Where could you do long-distance stroller running? The time had come to offer our acquired expertise to a larger crowd of active parents.

The guidebook Debbie and I are currently putting together will contain our favorite 20 or 30 routes, complete with detailed information on distance, elevation, water, playgrounds, and other tidbits of interest to parents. Some routes feature playgrounds in the middle of the run, many have trailhead picnic tables, others include rivers or wetlands. All of them are unpaved, soft surface trails wide enough for a double stroller. We want to make it our mission to motivate active moms and dads in Denver to head out into nature, keep running, and bring their kids along.

Communities in Colorado and across the nation have witnessed an explosion of people interested in exercising in a natural outdoor setting. We hope that our guidebook will give Denverites the opportunity to reach their fitness goals while pursuing their outdoor interests in the company of their babies or toddlers. Support our Kickstarter project if you believe that families should exercise together while taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of natural areas away from concrete and pavement.

This project will be featured in GOOD's Saturday series Push for Good—our guide to crowdfunding creative progress.

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