The legendary “Race Across the Sky” Leadville Trail 100 Run will commence at 4am Saturday morning in downtown Leadville, Colorado. The race, which began 29 long years ago, has garnered an increasing amount of attention due to its presence in the ever-popular book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Couple that with the increase in ultrarunning events as well as its transition to the Lifetime Fitness organization and Leadville Race Series, and you have a world-class event in Colorado’s backyard.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Leadville Trail 100 has changed quite a bit since its childhood days back in the 1980′s: the course description was basically word of mouth, search and rescue consisted of a little plastic whistle included in the race packets, and only about 50 to 100 participants spent lonely miles on the secluded course with little support and less fans.
While the Leadville 100 Trail race has changed and evolved with the times, it has still continued its crucial traditions that make it what it’s always been: the “Race Across the Sky.” The course sill offers the same monumental challenges as it always has, and race innovators Ken and Merilee sill welcome you home at the finish line.
The 100-mile out-and-back course is run in the midst of the Colorado Rockies. The lowest point lies at 9,200 feet of elevation while the highest point is atop Hope Pass at 12,600 feet of elevation. The majority of the course is on forest trails with some mountain roads.
In a 100 mile race, it’s anyone’s game. Runners can go from feeling horrible to amazing to horrible again in no time. It’s for this reason that ultra races are so exciting to follow and watch – the tides can turn at any point. This year’s race across the sky will be no different. Racers from across the country are already getting their drop bags ready and mentally preparing themselves for one of the toughest adventures of their lives. Let’s take a look at what the top times from last year look like.
2011 Leadville Trail 100 Run Top Male Finishers
1. Ryan Sandes, Capetown, SA – 16:46:54
2. Dylan Bowman, Aspen, CO – 17:18:59
3. Neal Gorman, Washington, DC – 17:48:51
2011 Leadville Trail 100 Run Top Female Finishers
1. Lynette Clemons, Leadville, CO – 19:59:06
2. Rhonda Claridge, Ophir, CO – 21:11:24
3. Andrea Metz, Wausau, WI – 21:13:14
Good luck Leadville 100 racers!
When it comes to that point, when it hurts beyond hurt, when your lungs are burning, your legs are dead, and you’ve still got miles and miles to go, that’s when you dig deep. -Ken Chlouber, Organizer of the Inaugural Leadville Trail 100 Run in 1983.