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My love for community and running

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; Photos courtesy of Ashley Oxton

Photo of Castle Pines running group

Pictured above are members of Castle Pines Running. Ashley Oxton founded the group five years ago and leads the group in community runs. Oxton says the group is equal parts running and socializing.

Castle Pines resident Ashley Oxton remembers a time – long before King Soopers was at the corner of Lagae Road and Castle Pines Parkway, long before Daniels Park Road was paved, and long before the first house was built in the Castle Valley development – back when the only retail business in Castle Pines was a gas station located where the Starbucks is today. She grew up here then, in her parent’s home in The Village at Castle Pines.

Oxton fondly remembers her youth in the community. Oxton recalls spending countless hours outside catching frogs in the pond located near the pond house in The Village. She rode horses and competed in the equestrian cross country three-day eventing competition that was held in the fields where Castle Valley is today. After a big snow, Oxton would head to Daniels Park, where she and her friends would take turns getting pulled on a sled hooked to the back bumper of a car.

Oxton spent 10 years away while she attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She and her husband returned to raise their family. “Castle Pines shaped me. I wanted to raise my kids in the community,” she said.

Photo of Ashley Oxton with her children in Saratoga, Wyoming.

Ashley Oxton is pictured with her children in Saratoga, Wyoming. Her daughter, Avery is in the back (left) with Oxton, and in the front are her sons Gavin (left) and Davis (right).

It was while she was staying home, raising her kids that Oxton fell in love with running. She started running road races and has completed 19 marathons. Her first was the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. After running a difficult road marathon in San Diego, where the temperature was through the roof and mile 20 was all uphill, Oxton ran her first trail in Leadville, Colorado. She never looked back. She fell in love with trail running and ultramarathons. The smell of pine that she connects with her childhood is a big reason behind her love for trail running.

Oxton paired her love of the community with her love of running and established Castle Pines Running (CPR), a local running club in 2015. To learn more about CPR, see the related story on page 35.

Oxton is still running with the group, completing on average 35 to 40 miles a week. She has, however taken a step back from the administrative duties, while finishing her degree in nursing.

Oxton summed it up, “Running to me is the ability to always be able to push yourself, test your limits and see just how far you can go – in running and in life.”

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