01 November 2011

Leadville 100. Wow-wee

My buckle from 2011 (and my dime)
With the opening of the Leadville 100 registration, there is a lot of buzz everywhere from first timers to veterans in an obvious rut.

One time was enough for me, for now.  It was an enjoyable day but I would rank it 5th out of the 5 100s I completed this year (note: would've still been 5th, just edging out Pony Express had I covered the last 8 miles of it to completion).

The double climb of Hope Pass
The big belt buckle

The course is a bit boring
The race is too crowded
It's fairly easy (comparatively)

There are so many cool 100s in the US, both established old timers and newbies, that draw me in much more than repeating an event like Leadville.  Look at something like Grand Mesa 100.  The course humbles you from head to toe, mentally and physically.  Runners are given a fair amount to complete the race but not coddled.

Obviously, there are 800-1,000 participants at Leadville who may not agree with me and this is just my opinion sparked by all the talk, especially from repeat Leadville runners who are jabbering ad nauseum about the August race.  Personally, I'm stretching my boundaries and hoping to be in Chamonix for UTMB during that timeframe and if not, then heading to a different and more challenging run.

Leadville lovers unite and tell me why you love Leadville so much.


  1. Just curious how you would rate LV compared to Bear? I'm not fast...finished Bear in 33:48. I've wondered if I could finish LV under 31.

  2. It seems the Superior Sawtooth 100 is always raved about for its rugged, technical, and beautiful course. Put that one on your list for courses to see.

  3. I can't explain it. Its just a feeling.

  4. The race is too crowded
    Ummm, there were only 14 people ahead of you....

  5. I'm with you, not sure what all the excitement is.

    Though the bar scene in Leadville is better than any other hundred miler town I've been to.

  6. Some friends were saying the very same things about Boston. Hype fueling the hype, I suppose.

  7. I'm 80% with you. Leadville was a great first 100 for me, and there were sections that I absolutely love (Lake trail, CT, Hope), but can't understand why we don't just run the CT all the way to Hope.

    I would go back, but for certain reasons (Leadman or Rocky Mountain Slam). If I go back to race in Leadville just for the sake of it, it'll be for Silver Rush, which is a far superior course in my opinion.

  8. Oh, and congrats on the RD job. Ran Forest Park last year and loved it. I always try to see if I can sneak in a PCTR event when I travel back home.

  9. I WILL do Leadville again one day (not this year though). I'm not quite as down on the course as you, though I could do without the road sections and 'treeline.' Aside from those sections I enjoyed the course. I reserve the right to have a different opinion once I actually finish those final 22.5 miles! The course was also plenty difficult for me!

    Would like to do Grand Mesa one day. I will put my name in the hat for States this year and if I miss out I'll see if I can get in TRT (both in my 'backyard' and travel/time not as big an issue). If those don't work out, I know this guy that might be directing the Headlands 100 so maybe I'll go there!


  10. Tim: I'll have to respectfully disagree. Leadville has a 20-mile section where you climb 6,800 feet and drop 5,200 feet (Hope Pass, as you know) all between 9,200-12,600 feet. The Powerline climb is also a beast because of where it is in the race. I do agree that the course is way too crowded, but I don't agree that it's boring--and obviously I don't agree that it's easy especially in view of the fact that it's all at high elevation. One of the many things I love about the Leadville course is that it's runnable for much of the way. We're runners and not hikers, right?


  11. tim -- i agree with most of you points. the course is nothing special (comparatively), but i would say that the race has great history and the atmosphere is hard to rival (due to its size).

    that said, i too think once was enough for now. i'll still plan on being there next year, but in another capacity (i.e. pacing/crewing for my sister who wants to make it her first 100).


  12. Well I haven't yet attempted the 100. I'm very new at this but I plan to suprise everyone including myself. I did however run one of the shorter events up there, the heavy half. This was my second half ever. The reason I love this place so much is that it was the first time I tried to do something beyond what I thought I could do. There was never even one moment during the race where I was sure I would finish. To this day it is one of my favorites. Maybe you were looking for a more sophisticated answer but that's mine.

  13. Sorry for the delay in some comments getting published and for my delayed response. There was something wacky with comment notification and I just foundthat I had 34 unpublished comments. I'll respond to the ones where im asked a question when I have WI-fi set up tomorrow. Don't want to be banging out long winded writing on my phone!