Each summer the town of Leadville, Colorado transforms into an endurance athlete’s high altitude playground. Since its conception in 1983, the Leadville Race Series, taking place at 13,000 feet, has built a reputation as one of the most challenging endurance events in the country. There are seven different running events and four mountain biking events in the series to choose between. Competitors can choose single events or strive for the titles of Leadman or Leadwomen. These are earned by completing and qualifying in 5 events, two of which are 100 mile races! The iconic series kicked off this weekend with the Trail Marathon and Heavy Half, where athletes from all corners of the country came to test their physical and mental strength.
This year, 1,4000 athletes gathered at the startline in Leadville on Saturday morning. It was a beautiful day and runners were at full force on the trails. Runners traversed through Leadville’s mining towns, winding up to Mosquito pass. During the three mile climb to the top of the pass, racers were greeted by 50 mph winds as they pushed through the already demanding terrain. Overall the race went off without a hitch, ending in a huge celebration at the finish line, and an overwhelming sense of community and spirit.
At the podium, Colorado locals were front and center. Leadville local, and high school history teacher, Timmy Parr took home the trail marathon win for the second year in a row! In the women’s division, Boulderite Jackie Harlow came out on top. Sara Woodward of Denver claimed the winning title in the heavy half women’s division, with Matt Kempton of Golden finishing first overall.
Course records remained uncontested this year, with Michael Aish continuing to hold the top spot at 3:31:17, which he set in 2015. The female course record hasn’t been topped since 2008, when Keri Nelson completed the course in an astounding 3:58:08! Last year’s course record of oldest person to run the marathon, set by Bill Boyle at the sprightly age of 77, also remains untouched.
The Trail Marathon and Heavy Half maybe over, but we’re just at the beginning of the series! The next event is the Silver Rush 50 mile mountain bike race and 50 mile run, taking place on July 7th and 8th. Some of the others following are the Leadville Trail 100 mile MTB race, 10K, and Trail 100 “Race Across The Sky” run, all taking place in August.
Looking for more great blogs on races? Check out Our Favorite Races in Colorado or Top Summer Runs lists, and make sure to cruise over to the all new Athlinks.com to claim your race results from the Leadville Race Series and all the other races you’ve ever won!