Dirtbags Run, a Dirtbag Runners program, was founded by Rebecca Bowman & Kelsey Long in 2021. Dirtbags Run, is a team of Black, Indigenous and people of color trail runners seeking to expand their presence in the sport while honoring Indigenous lands and amplifying diversity at races and beyond.
The team just wrapped up an incredible experience at Western States Endurance Run. The Active Joe and Libby Jones sponsored Dirtbags Run athlete, Phyllis Stanley. Phyllis joined the Rising Hearts and GU Energy Labs panel called Representation on the Trails. The team also partnered with Footprints and Dirtbags Run athlete, Dr. Brianna Pagán, of NASA, led a presentation about climate change on the Western States course. Lastly, Rebecca is an Altra Run Crew athlete and the team participated in the Altra Running Shake Out Run. This year, the team partnered with Evergreen Trails and the athletes will head to Washington in November to run the Grand Ridge race.
Through this program, we invite runners of color to apply to join the team. We offer our athletes a comped race entry to our chosen race and race weekend travel and accommodations. Our inaugural event took place in November 2022 at The Active Joe's Dinosaur Valley Endurance Run. Every member of the team finished their race, including nine athletes who completed the 100k distance. It’s not enough to hear that we are welcome in outdoor spaces; we need explicit invitations. We need leaders to be intentional about safely including people of color in these sports.Historically, trail running has not been an inclusive space for people of color, and by creating a space for us, we hope for more race directors & race companies to follow suit.