2013 Leadville 100 Mile Run Results and Roundup

Leadville 100Ian Sharman (post-race interview) won the men’s race at the 2013 Leadville 100, his third 100 miler since June 29th, as he’s participating in the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. After a dynamic first 60 miles, the men’s race later evolved to one dictated by Sharman with fellow Brit Nick Clark (post-race interview) the only one able to mount a charge. On the women’s side, Coloradan Ashley Arnold (post-race interview), who placed third in the 2010 edition of the race, dominated the 2013 edition from the start. She led from the line and built an ever-more-insurmountable lead as the race proceeded. Two very different races, but the outcomes were identical: big wins on the high-altitude stage of the Leadville 100.

In addition to this article, you can find our full play-by-play of the race as well as a collection of our pre-race interviews and preview on our Leadville 100 Live Coverage page.

New BalanceAs usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to Leadville 100-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports.

Thanks to New Balance for sponsoring iRunFar’s coverage of the race.

Ps. To get all the latest ultra news from iRunFar.com, subscribe via RSS or email.

2013 Leadville 100 Men’s Race

The 2013 Leadville 100 men’s race is hard to summarize in a couple paragraphs. After the race’s first 13.5 miles into the the May Queen aid station, Brit-by-way-of-California Ian Sharman led the race with a gigantic chase pack of dudes about a minute back. But by the Outward Bound aid station 11 miles later, New Zealand’s Mike Aish had opened a decent gap on Ian and the rest of the field, which he would maintain for 45 more miles.

Mile Aish leading at Twin Lakes 2, mile 60-ish. Photo: Bryon Powell/iRunFar

Mile Aish leading at Twin Lakes 2 (mile 60). Photo: Bryon Powell/iRunFar

And then somewhere in there, Mike had a physical breakdown that involved doing a lot of walking in and out of the Half Pipe 2 aid station at mile 71. When Mike faltered, the tough crowd of Ian Sharman and Nick Clark pounced. At Half Pipe 2, Ian and Nick came through in first and second place, with Ian gapping Nick by more than 16 minutes. But things still took a turn for the interesting because, at the mile 86.5 aid station at May Queen 2, Nick had closed the lead to just 10 minutes, leaving us fans wondering what would transpire on the meandering trail around Turquoise Lake. But after May Queen 2, Ian sped up and Nick slowed down, allowing Ian to extend his lead to more than 35 minutes at the finish line. Ian’s 16:30:03 was the fourth fastest in the race’s history.

Ian Sharman - 2013 Leadville 100 champion

Ian Sharman wins the 2013 Leadville 100. Photo: Bryon Powell/iRunFar

Nick Clark on the road to (another) second-place finish. Photo: Bryon Powell/iRunFar

Nick Clark on the road to (another) second-place finish. Photo: Bryon Powell/iRunFar

And amongst the rest of the men’s top 10, the group seemed to be almost equally composed of fast starters who managed to hang on through dwindling speed in the race’s second half and more conservative starters who pressed the gas pedal after the 50-mile mark. Notably, one of those fast starters included Scott Jurek, who after an approximately two-year hiatus from racing ultrarmarathons, declared his intention to race the 2013 Leadville 100. However, the elements got the best of him such that he complained of a foul stomach–albeit a happy heart–at the May Queen 2 aid station. He hung on for an eighth-place finish.

2013 Leadville 100 - Scott Jurek

Early on, Scott Jurek runs the 2013 Leadville 100. Photo: Meghan Hicks/iRunFar

And among the conservative starters/fast finishers group, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note the blazing finish of Bob Africa who completed the Leadman competition. He was far off the leader radar all day, but he used racing smarts to find his way to ninth place by the finish line.

Finally, South African trail phenom and 2011 Leadville 100 winner Ryan Sandes started the race as one of the plausible favorites, but DNFed at the Winfield aid station, mile 50, because of hip and back pain.

2013 Leadville 100 Men’s Results

  1. Ian Sharman (SCOTT Sports) – 16:30:03 (pre-race and post-race interviews with Nick Clark)
  2. Nick Clark (Pearl Izumi) – 17:06:29 (pre-race and post-race interviews with Ian Sharman)
  3. Mike Aish – 17:27:59 (pre-race interview)
  4. Kyle Pietari – 18:37:21
  5. Andrew Catalano – 18:43:26
  6. Timo Meyer – 19:04:19
  7. Eric Sullivan – 19:17:33
  8. Scott Jurek (Brooks) – 19:21:54 (pre-race interview)
  9. Bob Africa – 19:38:41
  10. Javier Montero – 19:45:46

Full results.

2013 Leadville 100 Women’s Race

Line to line, Ashley Arnold ran with grace, cool, and definitely a good sense of humor. Early on, the Coloradan’s pace was a fast one. For instance, at May Queen, mile 13.5, she was only five minutes off the lead men. Though her pace slowed some as the day went on, she stayed stronger–and faster–than all of her female peers. Of note on the course, she often reported that she was having a great time, that she couldn’t understand how she was doing so much better than the other women in the race, and that she was trying to run a smart race by intermixing hiking with running on the course’s steep bits. All of this clearly payed off because she emerged the women’s victor by hours.

2013 Leadville 100 - Ashley Arnold

Ashley Arnold on her way to a dominating Leadville win. Photo: Bryon Powell/iRunFar

Shaheen Sattar, of Texas, might have run the ladies most consistent race. As early as the May Queen aid station at mile 13.5, Shaheen sat about half way through the women’s top 10, and as late as Winfield at mile 50, she was still in sixth place. But as the race wore on, Shaheen worked her way up through the top five, ultimately finishing in the second position at 22:42:41. Shaheen and Keila Merino were clearly in a late-race duel, however, as Keila’s 22:47:36 finish to round out the women’s podium was less than five minutes back.

Shaheen Sattar at Winfield, mile 50, on her way to a second-place finish. Photo: Meghan Hicks/iRunFar

Shaheen Sattar at Winfield, mile 50, on her way to a second-place finish. Photo: Meghan Hicks/iRunFar

Defending champion Tina Lewis, of Colorado, returned this year just a few weeks after being cleared for running by her doctor after a foot injury. Tina pressed the pace, breathing down Ashley’s neck for the race’s first 40 miles. However, on the first climb toward Hope Pass after the Twin Lakes aid station at mile 40, she found herself unable to complete the climb due to returning foot pain, so she returned to Twin Lakes to drop out.

2013 Leadville 100 - Tina Lewis

Tina Lewis at about mile 24 of the 2013 Leadville 100, before she DNFed. Photo: Meghan Hicks/iRunFar

While Oregon’s Denise Bourassa rounded out the women’s top three during the race’s first half, she lapsed to the back half of the women’s top 10 later on, finally finishing in 12th place.

2013 Leadville 100 Women’s Results

  1. Ashley Arnold (Salomon) – 20:25:43 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  2. Shaheen Sattar – 22:42:41
  3. Keila Merino – 22:47:36
  4. Katrin Silva – 23:16:25
  5. Rebecca Hall – 23:43:13
  6. Kara Henry – 23:50:20
  7. Abby Mcqueeney Penamonte – 24:06:20
  8. Maddy Hribar – 24:24:20
  9. Nicole Studer – 24:25:43
  10. Maggie Nelsen – 24:37:45

Full women’s race results.

2013 Leadville 100 Articles, Race Reports, and More

Articles and Photo Galleries

Race Reports

2013 Race Issues [Added 8/22]

The 2013 edition of the Leadville saw some growing pains with discontent voiced by numerous runners, pacers, crew, volunteers, and other stakeholders. There’s significant discussion of the issues and possible solutions in the comments on this article. Please keep the discussion respectful, civil, and constructive, so as to foster continued discussion and, hopefully, help improve the race going forward.

One excellent recount of the issues was written by pacer Rod Bien in his Leadville Loses Its Soul, while runner-up Nick Clark writes of how the Leadville 100 seemed tired, how he thinks the race can be turned around, why Leadville 2014 needs to be a success, and how he’d be willing to step in to direct the race.

[Editor’s Note 11/12/2013: The Leadville 100 race director, Josh Colley, and other race-management staff have responded to ongoing constructive criticism about the 2013 Leadville 100. In short, it appears that they will address the major issues that came up with the race this past year by reducing the number of entrants, improving parking, managing the Winfield Aid Station better, and addressing trash problems on the course for the 2014 race.]

Thank You

iRunFar’s Leadville coverage was brought to you by a slew of dedicated volunteers! Thanks to our CoverItLive moderators Travis Trampe, Andy Noise, David Boudreau, Andrew Swistak, and Mauri Pagliacci. Thanks also to the folks who assisted us in the field, Travis Liles, Israel Archuletta, and Jason Hatfield.

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Senior Editor, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

There are 166 comments

  1. Andy

    Great racing and great reporting, as always.

    So where does this leave Sharman and Clark relative to their chasing Gorman's GS record? (And has anyone who held the GS record actually won Leadville that year?)

    1. Patrick

      I'll let someone else chime in with specifics but Nick was about 30 minutes behind going into the LT100. He finished about 36 minutes behind for a deficit of 66 minutes going into Wasatch

    2. Sean

      Ian is about 4:40 under Gorman's split after Leadville, while Nick is about 3:30 under the record split. Barring catastrophe, both should be well under the record after Wasatch, however, it's definitely still very much a race, as 1:10 at Wasatch is hardly anything.

            1. Bryon Powell

              One can sign up to be eligible for the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning award for $80. http://www.run100s.com/gs.htm

              Per the official page,

              The "Slam" consists of officially finishing the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run and the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run all in the same year. The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning Award was established in 1986, when Tom Green was the first finisher.

              I'd read this to mean that Nick Clark is, indeed, on track to complete the slam and, therefore, set the record. He's just not in the pool to get an award or "official recognition." So, he won't be listed as a grand slam finisher on the above noted website. This would result in confusing verbiage if he sets the record. Otherwise, he'll have slammed… just not officially.

  2. Luke

    Congrats to all those runners who started and completed the run with NO pacers!! There was a lot of chatter during the coverage abut Matt Carpenter's record, but what's hardly ever mentioned is that Matt did it with NO pacers. Next time there is chat about someone on the verge of maybe touching his record, hopefully its about someone who's also running the whole thing solo….if not, its not the same

    1. Rich

      Well, I mean, if the weather is 1 degree off, it's not the same, blah blah. The cluster-F of having to run roads from Outward Bound this year dodging cars was also 'not the same'. The date, is not the same. I'm not sure why people have to hyper-analyze silly semantics.

      IMO this year you'd have been FASTER without pacers due to the clusterF of disorganization at aid stations when it came to crewing.

    2. Bohica

      I hear you Luke, but it's difficult to compare. The course isn't exactly the same as when Carpenter (for better or worse) destroyed it either. I personally think pacers actually make you slower – too much for me to worry about. I know Carpenter believed that as well. Also, I don't think the muling makes a difference here either. How much does someone carrying water, a few gels, and a rain coat really make a difference? Not much in my tiny little brain. I love Carpenter and still think his record is one of the most difficult to break, but a comparison is apples-to-oranges.

      1. Jake

        If a pacer mules stuff or lights the way for you so you don't have to burden yourself with unnecessary things on your body, my humble opinion that's an obvious advantage. I think definitely no one was thinking CR here, but if someone explicitly went in planning for a CR if it didn't matter then just don't do it so there would be no controversy.

  3. Patrick

    Bryon and Meghan, thanks for the amazing coverage!! It was great to meet you at Twin Lakes and I'm so glad you started IRF.

  4. jenn

    What a great race! It kept me tethered to my phone or laptop for a good chunk of yesterday. Congrats to all! And I *love* that photo of Nick, above. That's fantastic.

    Re. The Leadville course record, whatever entrant runs a faster time than Carpenter will get the CR. The rules explicitly allow pacers and muling, and not using them was his choice. To beat the record, an entrant needs to follow the race's rules, not have to stick with Matt C's choice forever afterward.

  5. Vlad Henzl

    While I would like to congratulate the winners and all those who finished, I wonder how the race organization was perceived by the regular runners. For me, it was a huge disappointment. Being a mid packer (who eventually DNF'ed following a solid finish in 2012) it seems really strange that aid station after aid station runs out of food, coke, GU, cups for soup or soup itself hours before cut off and the distressed runners even at such special place as at Hopeless 2 are treated with nothing but cup of water and words of encouragement.

    The runners being almost ran over by cars at Winfield is an evergreen, but the chaos at Fish Hatchery (now Outward Bound AS) makes it a good tie.

    I also do not understand why aid station tents were so much smaller than last year, while the race grew by about 200+ runners resulting in virtual stampede. There was also very little space to take a break, sit down and browse through your drop bag if you ever get one. Yes, it took even 5-10 minutes to get one, because people who promised to bring it were called to do something else and simply forgot about it. At some aid stations (Half Pipe) drop bags were hidden out of runners views so there was little chance to find it yourself. And drop bags for the finish were not brought to finish area until AFTER the race, i.e. around 11 am.

    I myself am involved in organization of one of major 50 miler in south west thus I believe I understand how easy it is to make mistakes or how easily some things can go wrong. I also would never guess to publicly question competence of other race organizers, yet the systematic pattern experienced by me and several other close friends is simply beyond believe, especially considering the rich and long history, prominence and "professional" management of such huge race as Leadville 100.

    I'd welcome a constructive debate whether my perspective was somehow misleading, or whether problems experienced by me and my friends were real and are consider as serious by others as well.

    1. KenZ

      Hmmmm, that may have just cemented my thoughts that I'll never run Leadville. I mean, I love a good classic race, but this sounds like it's gotten too big to handle properly. Anyone want to give input here (since I wasn't there and am simply taking Vlad's points as they stand)?

      1. Brian Westphal

        Although I somewhat agree with Vlad's frustration of aid station cluster, I did have aid station "volunteers" who were very helpful and want to thank them for there supreme efforts. Signing up for an event with 1000+ others is not to be taken lightly and some disappointments are expected. Knowing your system and self-sufficiency is a part of ultras, having crew and aid is what makes races special. Unless you are an elite and want to win, you are pretty much on your own baby! which is why we run isn't it?

        1. KenZ

          Yeah, good points. I guess what I mainly ask for from a race is truth in advertising. Don't care if the course is well marked, but if it isn't, don't say it is (not the case here, but it has been discussed before). Don't care if there are drop bags at all, but don't tell me there are drop bag stations (thus setting up the expectation) and then make them frustratingly difficult to access. Don't tell me there are aid stations and then not have aid (food) available. Instead, just state drop bags may be hard to access, and food may be gone by the time one gets there. Truth in advertising. Properly adjusted expectations = reduced frustration.

          Don't mind being on my own (other than BW, I have never used a crew or a pacer), but if having a crew is a necessary requirement at Leadville to ensure you can get your drop bag and have something to eat because the aid stations may run out of food, it needs to be explicitly stated.

        2. Justin

          Good points Brian and Vlad. While I've only done one 100 (which was extremely well run), along with a few shorter races, I think there should be certain minimum standards regarding aid stations. Sure, self-sufficiency is part of the ultrarunning ethos, but if you take the effort to train for a race, take the time and money to get to it, and pay the $ to register (which is not insignificant), I don't think the aid stations should be running out of food. Maybe Leadville has gotten too big. Just my two cents…great to hear from those of you that were actually there. One more thing…I have no doubt that the volunteers did their absolute best…always the best part of a race.

          1. Adam

            I agree with Justin and Vlad. You don't pay entry fees to be self-sufficient. Being truly self-sufficient while travelling 100 miles through the mountains by foot generally requires one to carry so much gear and food (and water, if moving through a dry ecosystem without plumbing) that true sustained running becomes impossible. I love the idea of self-supported fell-running/Barkley-events, but they must be advertised as such. If I'm running a 50 miler with nothing but a 20 oz water bottle and a little waist pack, I really need there to be food and water at the planned aid stations, and if I'm running into the night I need to get my headlamp and jacket out of my drop bag.

            Furthermore, there's the environmental impact to consider, if one cares about such things. It's possible that running 1,000 people around a trail system is not a good idea from any standpoint save that of the RD's wallet.

    2. Anonymous

      Vlad- I finished and had the exact same feelings as you. I would have been livid if I had not finished as there was it was a nightmare aid station after aid station. At one point I grabbed a used cup ( they ran out ) out of the trash. No gels from 20 on- no coke. A total failure in so many ways. Top that off with a sign at may queen out that said 10 miles to finish. WOW

    3. Gordo

      I crewed and paced this year. I've never been up to the race before, so I can't compare to previous years, but I thought it was a vehicular Charlie Foxtrot at Outward Bound, Twin Lakes, and particularly at Winfield.

      At Outward Bound, the traffic routing was planned either by a sadist or a moron. They had a one lane entrance road with two way traffic, runners crossing, and crews going both ways on and across it with their gear. At Twin Lakes, where there was supposed to be a shuttle service, there were so few shuttles that most crews ended up walking a couple of miles each way. And lastly, here's a cut and paste from a forum about my experience at Winfield.

      ———————————-

      I did the first leg, from Winfield to Twin Lakes. With a really miserable warm up. There was the mother of all traffic jams going up the Winfield Road. We thought that we left plenty of margin, but sat on the road just watching it erode. We expected Sean to hit the turnaround at 3:45. At 3:15 we hadn't even gotten to the Hope Pass trail head, which is still 2.5 miles from the aid station. I couldn't stand it any more, jumped out of the car, grabbed some food for Sean, and took off running up the road. After maybe a half mile I passed the point where they were doing traffic control, only letting more cars in as cars left. That was at the trail head. I'm looking at my watch and thinking about how screwed we were. Another half mile uphill in the hot sun breathing clouds of dust raised by exiting cars, and I hear cars behind me. They'd let another group of ten or so through! I had my thumb out before they even got around the corner. The first two cars were packed full, but the third car picked me up. We picked up two more pacers on the way, and had three big(I was the smallest by far) sweaty guys jammed into the back of a small compact car. It turns out that the two women that picked us up had completely missed their runner and that their pacer had done what I did and they were just going up to see whether or not their pacer had made it or needed a ride back down. Anyway, when we hit the traffic slowdown in Winfield, where the runners were running a bit of the road down to the new trail, we all jumped out and ran for the aid station, which was maybe a quarter mile farther. I'm watching for Sean all the way. At the entrance to the AS, I asked the woman who was checking runners in if 228 had arrived. She said that she didn't think so. WTF? (He had and was actually about to leave again.) I sprinted to the tent, sighed a waiver and grabbed my pacer tag. I'm sweating like a pig and thirsty already. Great. Ran to the food tent, looking for Sean, grabbed a cup of water and ran for the check in point again. This time I found a woman with a clipboard that had a list of numbers written on it. I look over her shoulder and see 228 near the bottom. So I say, "228 just got here?" and she says "No. 228 left three runners ago." Crap. Sprint back down the road through Winfield, dodging cars and runners. I caught Sean just before he cut into the woods onto the new trail that runs over to the base of Hope Pass. We got into Twin Lakes about 7:45.

      —————————

      Thankfully, they still had soup when we hit Hopeless. I also paced out of OB and they still had plenty of Coke and coffee at MayQueen when we got there around 4.

      I thought all of the volunteers that I ran into did a great job dealing with the organizational disaster, but there's only so much you can do when you're handed a mess like that. My take on it, given all the promotion of Leadman/woman and the other races in the series, is that the race owners are just trying to milk as much cash as possible out of this sucker. That part of it was a real letdown after hearing so much about the race. Until I hear that the organizers have gotten their stuff together, they're not getting any of my money. But I suspect that I'm in the minority. Lots of folks will still be eager to fork over because of the big name.

      Gordo

      1. Rob T

        When I was at the CF that was 'outward bound' there was still NO MEDICAL there….and this was well after the mid-pack went through!! Then, when medical DID show up, they couldn't get them in, and I overheard concerns from them that they would never be able to get out if they needed an ambulance.

        At Twin Lakes Volunteers were asking people in my crew for band-aids because they had run out.

        At Winfield, volunteers were asking people for WATER because they had run out!!! Really?? There was almost a fist fight due to some traffic miscommunication at Winfield too.

        In addition, what really blew my mind was how quickly Winfield packed up after the cutoff. Less than an hour. Now….you KNOW (or did they?) how many people made the Hopeless cutoff and were on their way down….you KNOW that if they didn't make the cutoff that something happened or they would be in need of aid/nutrition/medical/or hell, just INFO. But when those folks came down to winfield…there was no aid station. The tents were down and the volunteers were gone. Would staying for 2 hours after the cutoff have been a big deal? There were tons of hurting/in need of medical/aid/food/water who were extremely confused to see…nothing…when they finally made it to winfield. How does that happen? Where was sweep? where was the communication? Crew couldn't make it to Winfield because of the cluster-F…but you did, only 50 minutes after the cutoff…there is no cell reception..what do you do? "Oh well Mr/Ms. 50 mile runner, you're on your own, better start walking back, oh, and heres no water because we ran out!"

      2. Vlad Henzl

        Unfortunately I can't say that all the volunteers I ran to were great. Some truly were a blessing, some just had no idea what they are doing and some others were outright incompetent. When I was bent over a trash can at Winfield feeling really bad, I was told by one to let her know if I puke so she does not have to see it.

        My friend was treated for bad blisters at Fish Hatchery 2. While the med guy worked on his feet he offered my friend that his assistant can dry his socks over the heater. Well, the young lady took the socks and simply threw them over the gas heater (you know, the one with warnings not to cover by anything). In a few minutes she was back with socks toasted black with huge holes burned through. She said she did not expect this to happen. At least the med guy apologized and offered that they'll try to find some new socks. The lady got it wrong and in few minutes was she back with a pair of hand gloves. Few minutes later they found some dirty socks that other runner left behind. Better than nothing thought my friend … quite a few hours later finishing in really bad pain but with a priceless souvenir.

  6. Kieran Mccarthy

    I agree with the commenters who are saying that this race has jumped the shark. I've been a long-time fan of this race. I've run it, crewed it, and paced it. But the organizers have made some horrific decisions the last few years that impact the quality of the experience in a way that's difficult to ignore of forget.

    Most notably:

    1) Allowing more than a thousand runners to line up is irresponsible. I heard countless stories of runners crashing into each other on Hope and fumbling into each other around the lake. Plus, the environmental impact of allowing that many runners on sensitive trails at the same time is profound. The powerline trail is eroded to the point where it is becoming almost unusable. The Winfield Road is not designed to handle that kind of traffic. Limit the field or the reputation of this race will continue to go down the toilet.

    2) Fix the Outward Bound Aid Station. Again, more than a thousand runners. Nearly a thousand crews, all coming in and out of the aid station around the same time. Only one entrance in and out. Such a simple error; it's hard to know how anyone thought that this would be workable.

    I say this with lots of love for Leadville and this race. Hopefully the organizers will take some constructive criticism and realize that if they care to preserve the long-term reputation of their brand, limiting the size of the field is the only rational choice.

  7. jenn

    Wow. I thought it was bad, just reading Bryon's tweet reminding drivers to not dust out runners, but yeah, this sounds like it was a real clusterf. And medical personnel not sure that they can perform their jobs is … not good. It sounds as though a strict shuttle system needs to be employed if they are going to both maintain high numbers of entrants and provide crew access to these aid stations. (Not considering for the moment your point about deteriorating trail conditions.)

    Re. aid station breakdown, I'm confused. I've only worked at a couple of 100-milers, but we've always stayed functional (we may have started packing up after the cutoffs, but we were still a functional aid station) until the sweeps come through – even apart from needing to be there for any straggling runners, we needed to be there for the sweeps themselves! Were the aid stations really packed up and gone before the sweeps came through?

    Actually – re deteriorating trail conditions – does the Leadville series do anything to work on trail maintenance in the area?

  8. Slow Aaron

    If the volunteers weren't great, blame the race directors for a lack of training. They are volunteers, not aid station professionals. It's Lifetime's job to train them. If your friend was in Fish2 when this happened, chances are it was late at night and the volunteer was tired and overworked. I'm not going to let the only volunteer anecdote be a bad one, so here is something I noticed:

    At 4:30 in the morning, my runner crossed the finish line and headed into the 'recovery tent' for some more aid station food (this could be worked on…). A very nice young lady got me some soup and a small sandwich. I got a ride out to my car at MayQueen, where I slept until 8:30 am. I later stopped back into the recovery tent at 9ish to see another friend, and who is in there but the same volunteer, serving every runner and pacer with a smile. There wasn't even a chair behind the table she was cooking soup at. She was there, through a cold night, standing, for at least 6 hours. No pay, no tips, just a blue t-shirt that said "Leadville Volunteer." If you (not you, specifically, Vlad) want to rip on the race organization, that's fine, but remember that volunteers are completely separate from that.

    OH – how about another story, while we're at it. We were hosted by a nurse at the Leadville hospital. She worked the night shift (7pm to 7am), then came back to the medical tent to volunteer. I don't even think she got a shirt.

    1. Mark

      If there is a need for training to be able to see the difference between socks and hand gloves, such a person should never volunteer at anything.

      1. KenZ

        OK, easy everyone. Toeing the middle line here, I think we can all agree that volunteers are volunteers, they ALL should get praise for donating their time to help others. Some are better at it, some not so much. Some of that is up to the RD and _especially_ aid station captains, and some is, well, that's how the dice roll. But let's just all agree that all volunteers are awesome people; the love they dole out is affected by personality, training, tiredness, stuff they have at hand, and the attitude of the prior 10 runners with whom they just dealt (and by whom they are unwittingly judging you). So, praise to all volunteers, good and bad. But note to RDs and aid station captains: choose as best you can (if you get a choice), and give all your volunteers the tools and skills necessary to aid others to the best of their ability.

        Agreed?

    2. Vlad Henzl

      I am sure there is a lot of good stories about volunteers as well, and I appreciate you providing for the balance. I also have a really nice story about a med lady (or nurse ?) at Hopeless 2 who really tried to take care of me despite having nothing but a single banana she tried to share among several distressed runners. In general, I think you are right that management bares the ultimate responsibility for the level of training and material support of the volunteers. In the race I help with (as well as other races I have intimate knowledge of) the aid station crews (or their cores) are more or less stable over the years. You can meet same people at the same AS year after year and that is the main reason why so many races run that smoothly so we often take it for granted. To me it seems that traditional (and experienced) volunteers abandoned Leadville and are substituted by people who in too many instances do not know what to do or do not care. That's not an accident, and people who follow Leadville for at least past few years are not really that surprised. I think it is no accident either that there was no "real" Fish Hatchery AS this year.

    3. Adam

      There's a tendency in the ultra community to valorize the fact that volunteers are just that, those who work without pay, without reflecting on what that means. While volunteering to help others is always commendable, and I have had nothing but wonderful experiences with volunteers at all the races I've run, if the RDs are turning a profit (which in the case of Leadville and Life Time, they surely are…for 1,000 runners, their revenue must have been at least $100,000) then the volunteers are not just volunteering to help fellow runners, but also to provide free labor for a capitalist enterprise. If you went to Target and your cashier was an unpaid volunteer who simply loved having the opportunity to help you check out, would you not wonder whether a large retailing firm cynically co-opted an altruistic impulse in a particular sub-section of the population in order to enhance its own profit margin? Obviously, this argument applies only to RDs who are turning a significant profit, I understand that many are barely breaking even. But it seems like the best response to what sounds like a very destructive race, both from an environmental and a health standpoint, is for both runners AND volunteers to boycott Leadville next time around.

      1. Dan P

        Aid stations are deterorating at this race. They need to cap the amount of runners. No coke at any aid stations on the way back except MQ for 28.5 hr finishers. The race seems to be run by middle mangers and tri fit folks. Seasoned volunteers are not returning. Winfield is a disaster. Great course great tradition needs to be run by runners or it will be run into the ground. Also they ran out of sweatshirts for finishers. Everyone keeps using the term RD. there are no RDs at lifetime. They have race mgmt specialists and several other types of managers. Kind of like the post office.

    1. BrianW

      Her name is Abby Long, Athlete Services and Registration Manager, Lifetime Race Series, if you really want action. Perhaps she's listening.

      My crew has a suggestion for Winfield: shuttle bus for pacers only from the highway. Btw, I sent this to Abby.

      One last tidbit, Oprah was considering ultras until she found out how many aid stations there are in a marathon.

  9. Pete

    My observation as a volunteer is that LT100 aid station instructions, training, and supply delivery (food, drink, and medical) have not scaled with the growth of this event. Hopeless should not have run out of IV tubes, good planning would have supplied that AS with a worst-case number of them. I never saw any guidance on when an AS should shut down so it's not surprising the Winfield AS captain started to pack up shortly after the 6 PM cutoff. Given that this race would immediately cease to exist if it were not for the experienced volunteers and their tribal knowledge, it's regretable that there is not more investment in preparing comprehensive procedures for all volunteers and aid stations. It's baffling why this isn't beiung done, given that Time Life Fitness has a full year to do their homework. Simply re-using the same materials from previous years is not the answer.

    Except for race management, most everyone, including the volunteers, agree that there are just too many LT100 entrants.

    1. Johnny

      Investment in additional aid station instruction, training, supplies, food, etc. to scale up with the number of entrants would cost extra money. Extra money that needs to go into the pockets of Lifetime executives. Just kidding.

  10. Speedgoatkarl

    Coke is expensive at 69 cents for a two liter…..really? they ran out of coke? Lifetime fitness obviously works out in the gym.

    Tough read hearing all of these complaints, it's a bummer for a race to grow too fast and not end up being first class.

    It's always gonna be a classic, always gonna be big, and it's always gonna be Leadville. "you can do more than you think you can". That's classic too.

    A well oiled machine with no oil…

  11. KristinZ

    I think the observations and suggestions here are solid. Please take the time to post directly to those who have the power to create the changes at the race organization level.

    1. Gordo

      Not trying to be snide, but who would that be? You have an org chart for Lifetime handy? You know which lower level manager/peon is going to be in charge next year? If you do, you could just send them a link to this discussion. Maybe the CEO would be best. He might actually care that the name Lifetime is being tarnished. But he'll probably be moving on in a couple of years anyway. Maybe the Board of Directors? They're golfing buddies of the CEO. So who you gonna call? It really is a great sentiment, but when responsibility is diffuse, you've got a real problem doing it.

      Gordo

    2. Dan P

      I did let them know that whoever decided to have Michelon ultra at mtn races should be fired. I wish it was as easy as contacting them directly. I've ran many races where I could call an RD and get results or at least talk to a human. From lifetime you get "thanks for your suggestions well defintely look into it before next year" form letter stuff. A friend who had five family members run the marathon at 100 per entrant left his license at check in. They were willing to return it for a S&H charge of 5$. Really a stamp and envelope is $5? For a guy that prob spent $1000 on the race series.
      Just to clarify I am not down on the volunteers or medical/ search and rescue folks from Leadville. They are great. It's the paid staff of lifetime that is dropping the ball.

  12. JW

    I wasn't there this year but did have an overall good experience last year despite a DNF at Fish Hatchery inbound. While the race was going on I was feeling somewhat sad not to be there running again but after reading some of these reports I'm not so sure.

    And I would be careful not to generalize about correlations between event size and service. For example I ran the Chicago marathon in 2011 with something like 35,000 runners. They didn't run out of gels or sports drink or water at the aid stations. I literally had three volunteers getting in each others' way to assist me as I crossed the line in a cramping hypoglycemic daze. And there was plenty of beer at the post-race expo. Yes an out-and-back trail run with 1000 participants will have congestion issues due to runners going both ways, that I would expect. But there is absolutely no reason why the level of service provided by race management should be any less. There are many, many companies that successfully organize much larger events than Leadville.

    p.s. sorry to hear about your DNF Vlad

  13. Jon Allen

    Interesting to hear all this feedback. Hope the race management listens. We can hope they will start listening before someone really ends up in trouble because of their mismanagement (i.e. death of runner). That would be tragic. Hopefully any first-time ultra runners don't think all races are the same as Leadville.

  14. Andy Dorais

    I'm sad to hear all the negative feedback about the race organization. This was my first attempt at a 100 and I have nothing but positive things to say about the volunteers and the race in general (and I got to experience it from near the front for a bit and then as a hopeless straggler for a long time). I hope the issues voiced above were innocent miscalculations that will easily be remedied in the future.

    And Speedgoat, good Coke is at least $1 per two liter…cut em some slack!

  15. Jon Roig

    Agreed. Cool run… cool scene. I paced this year and, despite everything I'm about to say, had a blast. I left convinced that the Leadville 100 is a legitimately hard ultra and I've gotta give props to everyone who finished.

    That said, this race is a mess. First of all, aid stations were a lot weirder than any I've encountered in the past. No problems at Fish Hatchery 1, but I parked down the street. They should never have mixed cars and runners like that — it was dumb. The scene at Twin Lakes was mostly mayhem… parking, while not hard, was not at all as expected. Where was the lot we were supposed to use? Shuttles? I ended up parking down the street and while that's all good, it added to the chaos.

    Winfield, though, was a total disaster. With traffic backed up for several miles, getting there was nerve wracking. When my runner finally showed up, the aid station seemed super disorganized:here was a total lack of supplies there for runners in the middle of the pack — no Ramen, no Coke, no real help to be had. After the climb up Hope Pass on the return trip with my runner, Hopeless was also out of stuff. Of course, that's more forgivable, given that they use llamas to get stuff up there.

    By the time we reached TW2 seconds ahead of the cutoff, they were out of everything. No gu… no real food… help was minimal: certainly no one helped us grab the aid bags 'n' whatnot, although the volunteers seemed very nice.

    From there 'till the time my runner got timed out at Fish Hatchery 2 (mile 76) at 3:00 am, support was minimal. Half Pipe had soup but nothing else. I snagged some extra Gu from a very nice pacer from Denver.

    Did they change the time out time for Fish Hatchery? It's all good, of course, but I think it used to be 15 mins later. Although things were getting ugly, we still had seven hours to go 24 miles at 3:00 am. They lady who cut my runner was super nice… as were many, many folks who we met out there in the middle of the night.

    Awesome race… wonderful people… beautiful part of the country… fantastic energy from both the participants and the thousands of spectators.

    The race officials just need to get their shit together. If they're gonna have a race this big, they're really going to have to go over to a shuttle system or something, fix those traffic problems or ban crew from most of the course. Oh, and yeah — let runners know if you're going to be on your own in terms of support. It's cool if that's the expectation, but with an event of that distance, it'd be very useful to know that in advance.

    Ironman races are often 2000 people and and run relatively smoothly… which is to say, it is possible, but difficult if you don't design the course with that in mind from the beginning.

  16. Tom

    I thought the Leadville field was big when I did it several times ten years ago. The runners were supported then by excellent aid and volunteers. Ken and the staff knew what they were doing. The trail on the south side of Hope down to Winfield was hard to negotiate with a smaller field.

    Lifetime Fitness is purely for profit. So who is surprised they have increased the field and decreased the support. More profit. The equipment at their gyms is great and plentiful but everything they do is oriented to making money.

    I noticed two years ago how large the support crews have gotten with multiple cars and cheering squads with matching shirts for many runners. The nightmare of traffic at FH/OB and TL is bad but going up Clear Creek Road to Winfield is impossible. You don't need every friend or family member to follow you along.

    I doubt Lifetime Fitness cares about feedback or anything ultrarunners have to say. They saw a growing business opportunity and applied their model to it.

  17. Lstomsl

    What is "official" in ultra running??? There is no governing body, no standard set of rules, no standard distances, no official record keeping, no official anything. The sports main sources of info, irunar and ultrasignup are both grassroots efforts without official sanction.

    Ultra-running as a sport has developed organically over the years from race-directors and other private parties who saw a need or opportunity and filled it. This is one of the reasons it is such a great sport. I suspect this will change in the not-to-distant future for better or worse, but I say Nicks result would be as valid as anyone else's whether or not he sends $80 to "Stan Jensens website". That has no standing to be official anymore then you or I do.

  18. Shelby

    I was not a part of the Leadville experience in any way prior to this year, so my only comparisons are to Bighorn, Hardrock and running the Chicago Marathon with 30k people back in '98. I was crewing at Twin Lakes and pacing from Winfield and it was clear that whoever was in charge of parking/traffic had little understanding of the mess about to unfold. Our crew had to wait an hour to park at FH/OB, almost missing our runner. The shuttle buses at TL that carried only 10 people were virtually useless since they had to sit in the same traffic as the cars that were lined up a mile down the road. Most everyone just walked all their supplies in 1-2 miles.

    Winfield was a nightmare. As soon as we crewed our runner at TL1, we headed out there knowing that there would be a backup. It was backed up 4 miles to the aid station. After waiting almost 90 minutes, I grabbed her a ginger ale, my pack and hit the road. Thankfully, I got a ride along with several other pacers so I wasn't breathing in all that dust. The aid station was a mess and the people on the radios were not very willing to give info on runners that hadn't made it over Hope Pass. I felt bad for people who were still waiting on runners before the cutoff, not knowing if they had dropped at Hopeless or not.

    Personally, I don't see why anyone would knowingly pay $300 for a race that is this poorly managed when there are other mountain hundos that offer beautiful scenery, excellent aid stations that are easier for crews to access for less money (Bighorn was awesome). They either need to raise the fee, add a qualifier and reduce the number of entrants or begin using buses at the aid stations mentioned above in order to fix the current mess. I'll never consider running LV as long as I hear these issues aren't being address by Lifetime. Give me a smaller family-style hundo any day over what I had to deal with this past weekend. Chicago was very well organized when I ran it, but it's a totally different experience when you're running on roads in the city where the kinds of logistical challenges of remote mountain races aren't an issue.

    It's too bad that so many I talked to that had run this race years ago said it used to be an awesome race. Clearly it has deteriorated, along with the condition of the trails with that many people stomping over them now. Not very environmentally responsible, but I don't really expect that from a large corporate entity looking to turn a profit.

    Loved the course tho' and the volunteers were great in our experience, despite that fact that they weren't given the supplies they needed for the back-of-the-packers that were coming through. They had to work with what they had and I appreciate their efforts.

  19. Garry Curry

    If anyone is planning to enter the race for 2014 they should carefully read these commeents so they know what to expect. I finished this year for the 25th time and will certainly not be going back. The volunteers are certainly not to blame, they do the best they can under difficult circumstances. The aid stations are complete chaos, with Winfield being worse then anyone could imagine. The runners are treated poorly and the focus is on profitability and p.r. for Lifetime Fitness.

  20. Trevor Davenport

    I would agree with the over-arching sentiments regarding volunteers, size of the aid stations, lack of services, food, water and overall organization from a runner's point of view. These types of failures are unacceptable for a corporately-sponsored event such as this. It clearly detracts from the historical prestige and time-honored traditions this race has been known for.

    The biggest problem I had was with the confusion and publication errors regarding cut-off times. It would seem that from the time the 2013 athlete guide was published to race day, the cut-off times changed. Now that wouldn't be a huge deal if (A) they were communicated out in email again or (B) highlighted as part of the race briefing and/or the crew briefing. Let's say I get past that issue and accept the fact the cut-off times changed…fine. I sat there at Fish Hatchery waiting for a fellow runner as the clock struck 3 am – cut-off time…lights out…game over. Only to have the race official HAND-SELECT 7 more runners to go into the aid station AFTER the cut-off time.

    A cut-off time should be absolute – no exceptions!

    I’m not sure I want to go back…

  21. Chris

    I blame that effing book.

    Talk about adjustments. On Friday, my biggest upset was when I was in the store in Leadville, looking for some printed driving instructions for the aid stations. An employee said there weren't any. They had a print out for everything else, so I took this to be a glaring oversight. My sense of proportion was about to be adjusted the next day. I've never seen a more poorly run event.

    Anyone in race management with more than two functioning synapses could have predicted what happened. The gross disregard for the entrants — as well as the pacers and crews that provide support that management cannot — is disgraceful. Nothing but a naked grab for money. My theory is that Lifetime saw a historically low finishing rate and decided to grab entry fees from a lot of people they expected to drop out early, leaving limited resources to the rest. Running out of finishers' jackets makes clear they gambled on fewer success stories — always nice to know race management is banking on your DNF.

    I can laugh at this now: I pulled onto the road into Winfield and hit the backup immediately. We waited and waited, eventually making our way up to two volunteers handing out yellow printouts telling us there was a back up on the road into Winfield! Thanks folks!

    1. Vlad Henzl

      Actually, there may be more severe backlash than just disgruntled runners on a horizon as well. When camping along the course we talked with several USFS contractors who were otherwise rooting for us. We learned about what happened to Fish Hatchery and that apparently USFS is not very happy with the Lifetime either. Moreover, if you read the most recent Leadville newspaper some people are trying to put on a ballot a provision which would allow the county to limit number of races in town:

      http://www.leadvilleherald.com/news/article_977f2

      It actually seems to be a proof of a trend that the race and local residents are not in such a harmonious relationship as is often portrayed by Lifetime. Here is one more:

      http://www.leadvilleherald.com/news/article_495c9

      While I'd think that such a cult race (or even the whole series) should be a blessing for a dying town, apparently too much of a good thing is not a good thing even though it brings a lot of money to town and county itself:

      http://www.leadvilleherald.com/news/article_b943a

  22. Rob T

    I'll let everyone else voice their other complaints over this years race, but I'd like to voice another. Michelob Ultra? We're trailrunners….in COLORADO! That's an insult to both trailrunning AND Colorado. Other than $$$, what, exactly made them think this was a good decision?

  23. Jeff

    It's troubling to read all of these comments about problems at Leadville. As others have pointed out, the circumstances resulted in less than an ideal experience, and also a potentially dangerous one, for the bulk of the field.

    There is a story here that begs for serious journalistic investigation, publication, and dissemination. That may be the best way to ensure that this situation does not reoccur, either at Leadville or in other growing races.

    But: Who is going to ask the questions that need to be asked of Lifetime execs? Who is going to get Ken Choubler's take on what's happened to his race? Who is going to talk to average Leadville runners about their 2013 experience? Runner's World? No way. Ultrarunning Magazine? Nope. iRunFar? Doubtful — it has staked a position as essentially a fan site, which is perfectly fine, and as far as I know hasn't mentioned the problems of this year's race. It has come to light thanks to all the persons commenting above.

    Seems that there is a "hard hitting" journalistic void in the sport right now, and it likely will become larger as the sport grows. It's the natural order of things for voids to be filled. Now might be the ideal time. Perhaps iRunFar may consider expanding its editorial perspective. Bryon, what do you think?

    1. Adam

      I second that, Jeff. I personally find issues like race commercialization, the environmental effects of running 1,000 people over mountain trails, and (unrelated to Leadville, but equally relevant) doping and the economics of gear production to be more interesting than the latest highly subjective post celebrating the individualistic awesomeness of running ultras, or yet another interview with an elite (nothing against the elites, but there are only so many ways you can say "I ran a lot and I won," as Dakota Jones put it, before it starts to get a bit boring).

    2. Loner

      Indeed. No Ultrarunning mag/site would dare to fairly criticize a race or gear manufacture for fear of losing advertising and swag. There is no journalism in ultrarunning – only embedded advertising in the form of websites and magazines.

  24. Laurie

    This was my 9th running of the race and I while a have a long, long list of complaints I do want to say the Golden HIgh School cross country runners who manned the Hopeless pass aid station were the BEST volunteers. It was obvious they were coached how to run the aid station and best help weary runners.

    They met us as we approached, asked what we needed, filled bottles and bladders and kept us moving. They were smiling, upbeat and extremely helpful!

    I'm sad that Leadville is not the "family race" it used to be, not due to size but due to inattention by the organizers. I think in the long run this will come back to hurt them. Just a little more attention to details like the runner's guide, volunteers, crews and drop bags goes a long, long way toward keeping runners coming back by giving racers and crews a positive experience.

    I've loved this race and hope the race organizers will listen to the runners and make changes.

    1. Chris

      The volunteers and any of the organizers I saw in action were doing the best they could. I'm skeptical that the race can return to the family event it once was without first scaling things down to a more manageable size. It's beyond the capacity of the course. I don't think it's a question of better organization or communication. It's just too many people.

      1. Jason A

        I don't think they should scale back the entrants. Leadville is a "big production". It's a place for runners to cut their teeth at a historic, challenging hundred without any experience. The atmosphere filled with thousands of nervous runners, families and crews is electric. BUT Lifetime needs to be able to grow in race support, alongside the growth in participants. Leadville is one of the only mountain hundreds without a runner cap, without community service requirements and without a qualifier. This is fine, as long as the race can convey the importance of the our sport, community and etiquette, as well as providing basic runner needs.

        With the amount of exposure and money going into this event, it needs to be nothing short of world class.

        Leadville was my first 100. It was a life changing experience for me and my crew and I hope that next year, Lifetime Fitness will refocus their resources and re-create the incredible event that once was the LT100.

        Thanks to all the race volunteers!

        1. Adam

          I doubt there is any way to run 1,000 people through remote mountain trails without disastrous results for runners, crew, volunteers, and spectators. I know there is not any way to to allow that many entrants and not do significant damage to the local ecology through erosion, animal disturbance, and, most obviously, litter. This is naked greed, and runners and volunteers who care about this sport and about the health of local trail environments should boycott this race.

          Another point: it's not clear to me that allowing people to try and run 100 miles at 10,000+ ft without any qualifying races is a good idea. Personally, I find the argument made by Chris, above, compelling: that LifeTime was banking on lots of mid-point DNFs to save them money on food, water, and personnel over the later stages of the race. If this was indeed the case, then allowing anyone to run the race without any qualifiers would not only help them turn a profit by ensuring the largest possible number of entry fees, but also by increasing the percentage of mid-point DNFs by allowing for as many inexperienced runners as possible.

          1. Mike Place

            1,000? It's near double that once you factor in all the pacers out on the trail. Leadville probably did have enough food and supplies for the people who registered but when each of them brings a buddy, things get out of hand.

            1. George

              I've said it before and I'll do it again – why allow pacers? Everyone is always talking about the race caps, environment impact, etc., but they don't acknowledge that adding pacers essential doubles the number of people on the course and doubles the # of people who have to be supported via aid stations, road access, etc. Not only that, but pacers could be out there for 50 miles of a race and they never pay any kind of entrance fees – crazy. Pacers should either be excluded from certain races or they should be part of the logistical planning, fees, registration, & results just like any other racer.

              In my opinion, if people can't finish a race without pacers, then they simply don't finish!

    1. Adam

      This year my fat ass finished Speedgoat in 10:25, and there was not only beer left (PBR, but I guess you can't have everything) but WARM fresh pizzas. I'd also like to voice my support for the refillable gel flask concept. A very simple way to cut down on a lot of waste (and worst of all, trail litter) from the single-serving foil gel packs.

  25. Kate

    My experience as crew (I have crewed for 15 years at Leadville, have crewed the Grand Slam series, Hardrock (five times), and Badwater, (twice) in addition to so many other races I have lost count. This experience gives me a unique perspective, which, for what it is worth, I will share. The comments above are valid AND I agree with some who say this may not change unless the people of Leadville, the USFS, and the sheriff's department put a stop to it. First, I spoke with an individual at Twin Lakes who said the sheriff's department had reached out to Lifetime because Lifetime did NOT get the required permits. Only days before the race did Lifetime finally file the permit. What does that tell you about either the organizational ability of Lifetime, or their hubris? So the only reason the race happened through TL is the generous hearts of the sheriffs who did not want to pull the plug and ruin it for the runners who had worked so hard to prepare for the race. The sheriffs get a t-shirt from Lifetime for working on their day off. Second, I learned the volunteers at OB, who were directing the traffic had been doing so for 20 hours. I suspect volunteers at other aid stations may have worked as long. Is it any wonder that some may have been less than stellar in their decision-making? I get slap happy stupid by about 20 hours and I only have to worry about making one runner angry. Third, this year I refused to even go to Winfield. It had been getting worse ever since Lifetime Fitness took over. To be fair, parking was always a nightmare at Winfield even when the pack was 300 runners, but we never had a conga line snaking up Winfield road. Does anyone think it is interesting that the reason for not being able to park at TL was safety issues, but no one was worried about the safety issues into Winfield? If a runner was down, how long do you think it would take an ambulance to get in or out of Winfield? Fourth, I talked to a lot of crews who were quite upset about the "horrible crews directions." Of course I did not look at those directions as I can drive the course almost blind, but when Ken and Merilee produced the materials, the driving directions were clear and easy to follow. I know the panic, especially for the front of the pack crews, that you fear you might miss your runner, so not having clear driving directions may speak to a lack of concern for both runners and crews, or ignorance, or lack of organization, or effort. Fifth, I was prepared to wait for a shuttle at TL, but when I was told to park 1.5 miles out and loaded up the 10 pound pack, I realized shuttles were nowhere to be found. I finally saw the shuttle (it did not stop, it was already full) and realized there was ONLY ONE. It carried about 14 people. Do the math. There were probably hundreds of folks flowing every hour into TL at the peak of the race. The chance crews could make it into TL in a reasonable time were nil. Finally, I talked to one of the town folks about what they thought of all of this. They are grateful for the income it brings to Leadville, but they admitted they had no experience with the race itself. The solution? I agree, the field must be limited. Will it happen? Not based on legitimately disgruntled runners or crews. If runners boycotted the race? Perhaps, but that is not going to happen. I know, I live with a runner who has said, never again, yeh, right. Can anyone say OCD? Can any runner give up getting high on the looks people give you when you say you ran 100 miles starting at 10,000 feet and crossed a pass at 12,000', TWICE after running over 40 miles? The need for "speed" is in their blood. So, let's give a shout out to the USFS and the sheriff's department. I hate to think we need the government to rescue the race, but if Lifetime does not make an honorable decision, it is the only hope left to maintain the environment, keep runners safe and make it fun again to compete in an awesome community of ultra-athletes.

  26. KenZ

    Yep, OK, that settles it. Thanks for all the comments; definitely not running Leadville next year. No way, no chance. Fat Dog 100 for me!

      1. KenZ

        I think it was always 120 miles; they just didn't know that the first year! I've been stalking this race for a while now, and since it's the same time as Leadville, and now I KNOW I'm not going to do Leadville… 120 miles, point to point, gorgeous British Columbia, almost all wilderness single track… what's not to like? Ran into a guy at Western States who runs one of their aid stations, and he said it is in his mind equal in awesomeness to Hardrock (which he had run twice). Not quite as hard, but the awesomeness factor is the same.

        1. jenn

          I hadn't heard that about the mileage! Yeah, that course runs through some of my favorite pieces of country; I've added it to my list for a few years from now. Fingers crossed :)

  27. Kelly

    The Heavy Half and Marathon event had issues as well which was really disappointing as a first timer traveling from Texas. Many (including myself) got off course – even the men's winner of the Heavy Half who set the course record (sub 2 hrs). Course markings were the same color. How difficult is it to use different color markings? Placement of a feed zone on the back half relative to course splits, commotion and volunteers not paying attention to runners all contributed to many (half and full runners) getting off course. I was doing the Heavy Half but wound up on the full course. I was well prepared and therefore not in distress; but didn't plan on running the full. Talking about truth in advertising…. The website advertised finisher medals, however, mugs were given out. I have a large collection of event medals and was really looking forward to adding a Leadville medal to my collection. Imagine my surprise after getting off course and then getting handed a metal mug!! My finisher shirt started falling apart after the 2nd washing…and it wasn't even tech material. I'm really taken back by the issues reported on 100. This is a public relations nightmare for Lifetime – a national corporation who is in the 'business'. These logistical issues are flatly unacceptable. My disappointments seem trivial compared to those reported on the 100. I'm weighing in to say there is a troubling pattern. Appears Lifetime is too focused on the corporate bottom line. Not only were the same course markings used for the half and full… But the same shirt was given for both events and same mug for both events…none of which were dated. Sounds like the founders need another sponsor. Get back to basics. Cap the runs. Consider adding additional events to the calendar. Better for the environment, runners, Leadville, businesses and fine town folk who benefit from the events. It's such a beautiful town I hate to hear how disorganized the events are.

    1. Gordo

      "Sounds like the founders need another sponsor."

      Lifetime isn't a sponsor anymore. They were the title sponsor in 2008 and 2009 and then bought the race from Chlouber. They are the owners.

      Gordo

    1. Pete

      No doubt, the entire Lifetime Fitness Leadville Series is just a diminutive row on a spreadsheet in their larger financial picture. $275 LT100 entry fee x 1200 entrants is a drop in the puddle. Yes, sponsorship dollars do add up and help sweeten the profits but the series has got to come in way below the budget of a single LF gym or two. Has anyone else heard that the MTB 100 is the real cash cow of the Leadville series? Putting aside the conspiracy theories of catering to the wealthy MTB scene with their fancy $10K carbon rigs vs. the dirtbag ultrarunners that sleep in cars the night before the event, it may explain why the LT100 appears to be neglected, in terms of management's glaring lack of attention to detail, meager amount of supplies, and poor overall planning/execution.

  28. Pierre

    Seems like KM is right. Big machine that ran out of oil.

    Here's a crazy idea. Don't allowed pacers.

    Too many people running around and between AS.

    And the second part to that idea:

    How proud can you be of finishing 100M if you had muling and verbal assistance ?

    Isn't this suppose to be a self physical and mental test that we want to experience ourself ?

    1. Gordo

      Disallow pacing and they might lose a few runners to hypothermia. But they might actually like that idea. Whoever routed the traffic at OB may have been intentionally trying to get someone killed. In which case they did a great job. Since they've never lost a runner, maybe they figure that doing so will boost the street cred of the race. Interesting.

      Gordo

      1. sllygrl

        I ran LT100 this past weekend and while I personally didn't experience most of the crew/aid station issues (I did hear the 'you can pull a cup out of the trash for soup at Hopeless) – I was hearing about them from my crew/pacers. Its more a testament to my husband who worked tirelessly to get to aid stations way before I was there to ensure things went smoothly more than anything else – and yes I do realize that in doing so he may have affected anyone faster than me from getting who or what they need but he can't be faulted for being organized. (I would say he worked harder than I did and for that I'm grateful.)

        I was also mid to back of the pack – just a 'normal' human being working to accomplish something, and this being my first 100 miler I don't have much else to go on so I'll withhold most of my opinions for those that do.

        I am thankful for all of the volunteers and aid station workers and everyone who took time out of their day to be there to assist, I also believe there is a level of commercialism that this race has taken on that has affected the experience for many as a whole and that's just too bad. I made a point to pick up anything dropped that I saw from Mayqueen to Fish Hatchery and anywhere else when I could still bend down as a small attempt to 'give back' what I could – it wasn't much but I'm from Colorado and I try and respect the trails and the amount of people on them was probably a detriment to their conditions.

        All of that being said – I agree the issues should be addressed from all points of view – Lifetime/Chlouber/average runners…and if you want someone to do it – let me know…

    2. Gordo

      Thinking about this. It's a great idea. We should also disallow crewing. And eliminate the aid stations. And only a tool would actually wear that buckle in public anyway, so we can get rid of those, along with all of the other stuff. And water? Eliminate carrying of water, there's enough natural sources along the way. Shoes? Clothing? They give you an advantage, so they're for pussies. Run it naked and unsupported. Make it pure.

      Gordo

      1. Trey

        Funny how up-in-arms people get about the mere mention of not having pacers. The world is going to implode!! I'd die if I didn't have a pacer!!

        Its the same people who are so adamant on the notion of having pacers, and at the same time wouldn't want their results to look at all diminished by noting that it was actually a team effort that got him/her to the finish line. I need a pacer so I won't get hypothermia, but just show my name on the results list!!

        I'm not anti-american, but it is such an American thing…why? I find it interesting that american runners can go to europe and run those races (and LIVE!!) without pacers, yet when they race on American soil, they wouldn't think of doing such a thing…

  29. Tom

    Look at the results page on LT site. 497 finished, a couple hundred show a DNF, couple hundred show DNS, and then a couple hundred show no result just the last aid station logged into. Are they still out there somewhere? Did they check in to the nearest aid station when they dropped? Are they still stuck in traffic?

    LTF does not care about the runners just the dollars. Surely they calculated the average 40+% finish rate into their plan for support. Plus the DNS crowd is free money.

  30. Trey

    I'm not, but if I was organizing a 100 miler I would do this regarding pacers.

    Have all pacers pre register, pay a fee and include them in the results some how (as a team). This would bring in more $, to properly establish aid stations, emergency help, parking, volunteers, asses environment impact, etc. It would also acknowledge their efforts/help for their runners. By not including pacers in the registration process, especially in bigger races, leads to issues like we're reading about at Leadville. It also wouldn't hurt to pre register your crew as well. It would not address all issues, but it would at least give organizers a more clear picture of how to plan for the event based on TOTAL number of race day participants. This is especially true here in the US, where using pacers seems to be what 90% of the people do….

  31. Rob T

    It's just different styles of racing. We also just started using poles here. We also stick to the established trail. We also don't carry liters of required gear. There are tradeoffs. Things evolve. A lot is rooted in tradition. A lot of it is silly, a lot of it is practical.

  32. Jeff Friedman

    The race has become a complete disaster since the buy out. The race staff is obviously only evaluated on the profitibility of the series, not the quality. Above all else, they literally don't care. Each year more and more complaints fall on deaf ears and issues are ignored by these meat heads. Next year will be even worse.

  33. anon

    There is no need to register pacers to learn how many "runners" in total will you have on the course. There's really no need to limit them on the food either (or make them pay for it). Good race organizer knows the average stats very well. Rates of DNS and DNF versus finishers are pretty stable so is the number of pacers per runner (not to mention that Leadville has 30 years of data). If you shorten the course by about 2.6 miles (2013 vs. 2012) no wonder that your finisher rate jumps by 7%. Food on the aid stations is EXTREMELY cheap. How much coke or GU can you drink ? In a recent 24hr race I drank about 4 gallons of liquids : equally split water, OJ, coke. How much does it cost ? 10 bucks ? … all organizers are buying in bulk with HUGE discounts (like 30-40% … that's how Meltzer can get 69c Coke) … how about food ? … maybe 10 bananas and ten cups of noodle soup or something equivalent. Is Ramen soup that much more expensive at Leadville ? … not to mention that a lot of food and drinks are donated by sponsors. Then it costs nothing !!! I'd be really surprised if the food a single runner eats at aid stations during LTR 100 costs more than 20$ a person. There is simply no excuse that you run out of food. Moreover, most of the race directors are part of more or less informal networks of other races. In our race, we have a lot of leftovers, so we pass it free to organizers of another trail marathon. They usually pass what they have left to another 50K race and what they end up with goes to another 50M … so if you have more than needed it does not get wasted (obviously not applicable to perishable items like fruits).

    Our races cost between 40-90$ depending on the distance. We have about 500-600 runners. We normally make a decent profit of 15K+, but we keep nothing from it. Everything goes to local scholarships and nonprofits. I felt pretty disgusted when only a single 2k$ check was presented at the mandatory meeting it Leadville as a donation to "lifetime legacy" foundation.

      1. anon

        sorry for a quick and inaccurate assumption. We (and others I know) buy coke at the store … with 30-40% off. We get fruits, veggies and beer for free from local sponsors. We also get all the electrolytes gratis from one of the national brands.

  34. Pam

    My understanding is that LifeTime was permitted to run 850 people at this race – so how is it that over 1200 were allowed to register and over 950 started? In any case – I agree with the sentiments about parking and traffic. After doing this race 2x, I knew what to expect regarding AS's running out of stuff and packed in all of my own food and gear. What I did not expect – and makes me more frustrated as I see all of this is how crew and pacers were treated. Agreed this is NOT a volunteer issue – but a race organization problem. My crew actually ended up calling local police in the middle of the morning on Sunday at MayQueen as there were groups fighting and yelling so much they were worried how far things were going to get out of hand. On top of that, they were forced to haul in gear over 2 miles to Winfield and it took over an hour to get in as someone told them they could not park there. After having one crew person run back to get the vehicle to haul all of my stuff out, they ended up bringing in over 15 people in the back of our truck just so they could get to their runners in time. Some of them had to abandon their vehicles nearly 4 miles out of the AS due to poor organization and direction. Outward Bound was a similar with cars all along the highway and people doing 8-point turns in front of runners to get in and out. All said, I'm extremely proud to have finished this legendary race 2x – especially as a Leadwoman, but moreso – I'm happy to say that I will never, ever have to put my crew and pacers through that again.

  35. Gordo

    Actually, I was serious. And folks do get a mental lift from competition, so each competitor should also run a solo effort for it to count as unassisted. The point is that people are getting tied in knots over shades of gray. Things that help, help. Deciding which are allowed and which aren't is why races have rules. You don't like the rules, don't run the race. There are plenty of other opportunities.

    Gordo

    1. art

      and many of the "other" opportunites don't even have entry fees.

      there can still be a competitive spirit without entry fees …

      1. Rob T

        While that sounds all nice, warm, and comfy, no, there can't be the level of competitive spirit that the top 20 guys need. Otherwise, these top guys like *cough* Speedgoat, would be running races like http://www.manitousrevengeultra.com/ that are small, organized with great *challenging* courses.

        Everyone wants to wax poetic about how smaller races are awesome with great courses…yet no one at the top of the game is even thinking about running them unless to cherry pick a win.

  36. Chris

    I think people are more likely to get their panties in a bunch when someone questions how much pride another person can take in any 100M finish that involved "verbal assistance." Something tells me that the majority of Leadville finishers aren't hanging their heads in shame, nor do I think they should be. I get antsy anytime I hear another runner defining "the test" the rest of us are taking: we're here to see how tough we are; we're here to admire the beauty; we're here to pass our limits; we're here to… no, I'm here for my reasons, and you're here for your reasons. As long as we're obeying the posted rules, those reasons are not subject to someone else's approval.

    The only person who runs 100 on his/her own is the one who goes out on an unmarked course with only the aid they can carry. Everyone else is depending on others to one degree or another. And that's what it is: a matter of degree. Any dividing line between legitimate and illegitimate is a matter of custom and, ultimately, arbitrary.

    If the problems at this year's Leadville were limited to the last 50 miles, then reconsidering allowing pacers would be a more obvious point, but the problems started well before the first pacer set foot on the course.

    1. jenn

      I agree. And I think Trey and Pierre have officially pushed me past my tolerance for people whining about pacers and crews. (It's been building for awhile.) Do I have anything against the European tradition of no pacers? No, it's great. Would I actually like to see more races here in the US that don't allow pacing? Yes. But pacing and crewing are a great tradition here. How many folks have gotten their start at trail running or ultras by pacing a friend? Having friends and family crew brings them into the great adventure, which is fun in itself, but also must make family attitudes towards all that training time a little different. This is part of what makes the trail ultra community so close and so much fun.

      And back to the Leadville topic – it's actually pretty easy to calculate how much food runners + pacers are going to eat. Somehow races manage this all the time. This is not an excuse.

      1. Pierre

        Well, i'm certainly not whining. Just trying' to have a suggestion. But i do respect this tradition.

        Cheers and happy trails.

      2. jenn

        Weird, for some reason, Pierre's response doesn't have a reply button. So to Pierre, yeah, sorry – as I said, it's been building for awhile. Your comment wasn't whiny, no, but it did seem dismissive/derogatory towards those who run with pacers … and ended up being one of the final straws to my metaphorical camel! Happy trails back at you!

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