Rally Through the Alley

A blue “artvark,” mascot of the inaugural 1K Rally Through the Alley in Ridgway Saturday. The race begins at 12:30 p.m., and will be immediately followed by the 23rd annual Love Your Valley Festival in Hartwell Park, featuring live music and craft brew samplings from 16 regional breweries. (Courtesy photo)

Gather ‘round, couch potatoes and arts lovers: Saturday is your day.

What can you say about a marathon run that is more like a molehill — and a downhill molehill, at that?

Welcome to the first annual Ridgway 1K Rally Through the Alley.

“Yup. 1K. That’s .62 grueling miles,” a news release reads. “Downhill. Through some alleys.”

Ironically, Saturday’s “run” — more properly described as creative loafing, with some noshing — is the brainchild of one of this region’s fittest (and most kookily creative) athletes: Natasha Pyeatte, the artistic director of Weehawken Dance.

The alley-rally is to benefit two of the region’s leading nonprofits, Weehawken Creative Arts and the Sherbino Theater. Which is to say, it’s a benefit for the arts, conceived of as a run-up (as it were) to the Love Your Valley Festival, which takes place this weekend in Hartwell Park. That, too, is a benefit for the arts: All proceeds raised at the fest will go toward the free Ridgway Concert Series, which takes place in the park Thursday nights in July.

Natasha’s “been dreaming about” a marathon for slackers “for years,” said Ashley King, executive director of the two nonprofits. So too, apparently, has the nonprofits’ programming director, Tricia Oakland. “When the board said we should organize a fundraiser,” well…let’s just say they were prepared. “We’ve always imagined an ultimate arts marathon,” King said. “You can walk, you can roll, you can whatever.”

Indeed, you can stay in bed. A “sleep-in” option, for a donation of $50, gets you both a T-shirt and a commemorative sticker that proclaim: “Ridgway 1K Rally Through the Alley. I Didn’t Even Get Off The Couch For This.”

But say you do want to stir your stumps (however slightly). Both “creative costumes and methods of ambulation are encouraged” for participants, King said. “Think: potato sacks, and cartwheels, and riding a mattress down the street. We already know we have a horse pulling a buckboard entered into this ‘race.’”

Indeed, at press time, there were already 115 entrants, “a number that far exceeded what we’ve been expecting,” King said. Naturally,  “There’s been a lot of talk about what this will evolve into next year.”

What if the marathon included, say, an inner tube “race” a short distance down the Uncompaghre River? “Or maybe we could have a 4K ‘warmup’ to the 1K for people who actually want to — you know — run,” said King, sounding a little taken aback at the idea. “We can imagine entire triathalons that involve total slackertude.”

As it is, the inaugural rally already oozes slackertude: Salon Monti and Glow Day Spa “will be teaming up to apply body glitter and mustaches,” at a stop along the race route, King said. “There’ll be a donut ‘aid’ station sponsored by Ridgway Hot Yoga, a bacon ‘aid’ station courtesy of Full Tilt Saloon, and an ice-cream ‘aid’ station from our local café, A La Mode. And, of course, the ultimate ‘aid’ station at the end: beer tasting and live music” from 1-6 p.m. in Hartwell Park.

Ridgway Town Clerk Pam Kraft has been programming the Love Your Valley Fest for over 20 years, and recruited Front Range rock band A-Mac and the Height to play. Admission to the fest is free.

“We’ll have 16 regional microbrewers on hand” to offer samples for $20 per person, Kraft said. “I’m sorry I won’t get to watch the Rally Through the Alley. I’ll be too busy setting up” (besides, the rally’s too brief).

To participate in the inaugural 1K Rally Through the Alley, which begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and will be followed by the Love Your Valley Festival at 1 p.m., park at the elementary school off Amelia Street at noon and check in at the Old Schoolhouse next to RIGS on Highway 62.

“The race goes uphill for, like, 40 steps, and then it’s downhill the rest of the way,” King said. “We don’t want to wear people out.”

To register, go to ridgway1k.com.