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Friday, July 30

Run This: Leadville Trail 100

The Leadville Trail 100 mile race began 29 years ago when ex-miner Ken Chlouber invented the "Race Across the Sky" to generate tourism in the city. The first LT 100 had 45 runners, only 10 of whom actually finished. To date the course follows the same 50 miles out and back as the original route, winding through the Rockies and topping out at 12,600 feet at Hope Pass. (It's important to note, too, that the lowest point in the trail is 9,300 feet.) The racers are provided with flashlights and batteries as approximately half of the race is run in utter darkness, (old mining roads in the mountains don't have street lights) and typically only a little over half of the runners make it to the finish. Exhaustion, broken ankles, and altitude sickness are common in the Leadville ER the weekend of the race.

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While I will admit that the idea of a 100 mile race is slightly intriguing, I definitely don't see myself actually withstanding 30 hours of running, half of which may be in the dark. (The 4:00 AM start time and mandatory medical check are also great deterrents.) The Marathon and Heavy Half Marathon, however, are a bit more within my reach. The half/marathon course winds its way through the historic mining district of Leadville via old mining roads and tops out at the 13,185 feet of Mosquito Pass. Not exactly your weekend trail run, but an appealing challenge nonetheless.

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So if you are in the Leadville, CO area during the summer months, there are a number of events for you to attend. From Lance-approved mountain bike races, to 10ks and training camps, Leadville has definitely made a business out of its trial running. But don't worry about the crowds of racers, Leadville still maintains it's small town affections. One participant described the trail 100 mountain bike race as riding with 1500 of your friends.

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{read more about the LT 100 history here.}

Happy Trails.

copyright Hiking in Stilettos


Claire Kiefer said...

Man . . . my mom does half marathons regularly and has finished a whole marathon once, but I just don't think it's in me!

Heather Taylor said...

One of these days, I will definitely do a marathon! The energy everyone has for those is incredibly uplifting.

McMel said...

we actually saw the movie/docu race across the sky in the movie theater last summer. amazing! it focused on the mountain bike aspect, but yes, the trail is crazy! if you haven't seen it, you should check it out!