June 18, 2016 will see the 17th running of the Leadville Trail marathon. This time around, Dwight hopes to be running it. Colorado holds a special place for him, being the longest place (in consecutive years) he’s ever lived and, after spending some time there together over the last couple of years, it is fast becoming one of my favourite states too.
Just as with many of the races on his bucket list, the Leadville Trail Marathon is a qualifying race for the Leadville 100 and a great opportunity to get a feel for this challenging terrain and course.
The organizers describe the race like this:
The Leadville Trail Marathon is 26.2 miles of out-and-back dirt roads and single track that takes you through the historic mining district on the east side of Leadville. […]Race start will be at 8am in front of the Sixth Street Gym. The course is primarily on old mining roads and trails, topping out at 13,185 feet at Mosquito Pass… This is the highest continuous pass in the country!
This will be offer a learning opportunity for both of us. We love Colorado, so the plan will be to take our time and allow him to acclimate for a few days before the race. This is also an opportunity for Dwight to feel out the longer races before he commits to a 50 mile race by challenging himself with a marathon length trail race.
Entry doesn’t open until January, but we have already secured a rental house for the week of 12-19 June so that Dwight can acclimate to the altitude, and so that we have room for a couple of friends from Colorado who have volunteered to help me crew for him. There are seven aid stations in this trail marathon, so there’s lots of opportunities to figure out how to make this work. This Athlete Guide has already proven useful.
Leadville is near Breckenridge, the legendary ski fields, and is about an 8 hour drive for us.
Trail Races are challenging and take longer to run, often, than road races. They are often technically and physically changing, with changes in elevation and altitude adding to the drama.
He will need to complete the Leadville Trail Marathon in less than 8.5 hours to have a shot at qualifying for the Leadville 100.
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
Anna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer currently living in eastern New Mexico. She is an attorney (non practicing) and the Executive Director of a non profit. You can follow her adventure on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. More of her photography can be viewed here. For more domestic things take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.