The epic Leadville Trail 100 Run is set to take place tomorrow in Leadville, Colorado. The 100-mile long “Race Across the Sky” will test some of the best endurance runners on the planet with a grueling course designed to push anyone to the limit.
The actual race itself begins at 4AM in the morning with the athletes setting out for one very long day on the trail. The top runners will finish in around 18 hours (last year’s champ Duncan Callahan came in with a time of 17:43:24) while the bulk of the pack will take somewhere in the neighborhood of 24-28 hours to finish, depending on conditions. There is a mandatory 30-hour cut off for the race as well, and a lot of runners fall outside of that window.
While obviously the length of the trail is always a concern, the altitude in Leadville adds another dimension to the run. It is a 50-miles out and back course, with the lowest point falling at 9200 feet (2804 meters) while the highest is 12,600 feet (3840 meters). Needless to say, in between there are a lot of ups and downs.
Last year, Lifetime Fitness took over the Leadville series of athletic events and has been promoting it ever since. Before, it was always more of a grassroots affair, but it feels a bit more corporate this time out. On the other hand, the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, which took place last weekend, seemed to fly under the radar. The past few years it has been a media circus, with guys like Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer, amongst others, riding in the event. I actually had to actively search for the results this time out, and barely knew that it was taking place.
Good luck to all the runners tomorrow. Stay safe on the trail!
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