Aravaipa Running was born out of a deep respect and love for nature: exploring it, finding and overcoming limits within it, and embracing the pain and euphoria it can cause. One incredibly important aspect to this is understanding that the same nature is home to creatures that allow us to share their habitat. While wilderness areas can be roadblocks to creating the ‘ultimate’ event and certain times of the year are ruled out immediately for conservation purposes, even as race directors, we not only respect these limits but know how important the preservation and protection of these lands and animals are to our continued enjoyment of nature as we currently know it.
With that said, we are incredibly excited to announce our newest charity partnership with the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC). From the first visit to SWCC, I knew they deserved all the support and publicity we could provide. Started by the boundless passion and compassion of Linda Searles the SWCC has grown from the desire to provide care to an orphaned and injured coyote into the largest wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release in the entire southwest. Located on 10 acres of land, nestled just north of McDowell Mountain Regional Park (our most-raced trails), the SWCC is quietly providing care for hundreds of wild animals including the extremely endangered Mexican Grey Wolf. Additionally, Searles’ desire to help as many animals as possible means that no case is ever turned away.
Every story I heard on my tour tugged at my heartstrings. From a multitude of attempted domestications gone terribly wrong to cruel and unusual punishment in a roadside zoo the reoccurring theme was the love the animals now received – and it showed. The SWCC’s goal is to rehabilitate and release as many of the animals they receive as possible. However, some are beyond rehabilitation or have been mutilated to the extent that they would no longer survive if left to their own devices. Thus, SWCC is also a sanctuary for countless animals who have no other option.
We will be highlighting an animal and their story before each of the Desert Runner Trail Series races and will donate proceeds from our DRT series charity beer garden to SWCC. They will also be in attendance at each event to answer questions and will be hosting an education-hour for kids at Mesquite Canyon (details to come). The partnership is completely natural to Aravaipa Running and furthers our mission to be stewards for the trails and the animals who inhabit them.
To find out more about the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center before attending a race, please visit their website.
**Update: due to permitting issues there will not be a Beer Garden at Elephant Mountain or Mesquite Canyon**