10 years of the Big Dam Run

The Magento community is healthy and vibrant, and we have been running since the beginning. The first Magento Imagine happened in 2011, and a group of us got together and did some runs. The next year the conference got more significant and more formal. If Susan was coming to the event, she also wants to run a race. After all, the importance of running in a group is paramount. The beginning of the Big Dam Run had its humble start.

Big Dam Run Humble beginning

Labor of Love

We searched around and found the Labor of Love Races in Las Vegas. We quickly made a signup form, and Bob Schwartz got on board to design a T-Shirt. The event drew the interest of 25 people. We needed a bus to get everyone there! (It was at Lovel Canyon in the middle of the desert!). We organized a bus and ferried everyone to the start line distance with options of 10k or 21k. You can see all the official photos for the first Mage::Run

Rockin Rabbit

Ben Marks

Image 2013 had a different date, and so we had another race. We found the Rockin Rabbit run, which was nearly all downhill (For the half marathon), and ended at Lake Mead. My favorite part of this race had to be the stress of getting everyone onto the bus and especially Ben Marks making us all wait in the lobby, then showing up in a squirrel costume! I felt the Magento community’s spirit at this event, which was such an exciting time. I think Ben ran the 5k in his outfit in 90f heat!

The start line for the 5k would become the eventual start line for the official Big Dam Run years later!

The Big Dam slow years

2014 Magento Partner Summit

In 2014 we ran a 5k out and back to the welcome to Las Vegas sign. The energy wasn’t there this year and the next, and it felt like the run would be at 25-30 people every year. In the past, Magento sent out a photographer, and I think in 2014 and 2015, we, therefore, did not get one.

The highlight for me in 2015 was running the Boston Marathon, then getting on an airplane on Monday night and speaking at Magento Imagine on a Tuesday. The downside is I missed the race.

Long live Magento

2016 Big Dam Run

The sale of Magento happened before the 2016 Magento Imagine event. We could not find a suitable race to join, and we decided to hold our event near the Hoover Dam. Mark Lavelle had just taken over as CEO and was entirely behind us in our efforts to put on our race. The new event was also our first officially named Big Dam Run. We started with an expected list of 25 people, and soon we had 40, then 50, and finally 80. We scrambled to get busses and extra sponsors to cover the cost. The highlight was the Magento executive team showing up and running the race.

Mark Lavelle and the Magento Team

The glory years

The next three years were our best years, and we grew like crazy. We eventually had to get an ambulance, port-a-potties, and everything else you need for a “real” race. In 2019 the trail had some tunnel collapses to do the full route but still ended up being our best and most well-attended event ever.


No one could imagine that 2020 would be canceled. (I mean the entire year.) We switched the Big Dam Run to virtual, and 2021 is also a virtual event.

To sum things up, we are looking forward to 2022 for our next in-person event!






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