On Saturday morning at 4 a.m., the Leadville 100 Mile began in downtown Leadville, Colorado, where 678 runners left the starting line to run 100 miles through the Rocky Mountains. The front of the race was tight from the get-go with champions and first-timers all vying for first place through the first few aid stations.
The men’s finishers came into the finish starting at around 8 p.m. Saturday night, with the women’s top finishers arriving starting at 1 a.m. The rest of the field will finish by the 30-hour cutoff mark, 10 a.m. Sunday morning.
The Leadville 100 race route gains just under 16,000 feet, with the lowest point at 9,200 feet, and the highest point at Hope Pass at 12,600 feet. The out-and-back route runs 50 miles into the mountains and then returns back to downtown Leadville.
The high elevation can pose challenges for competitors in addition to the mountains’ unpredictable weather. This year, the weather remained cool with scattered afternoon showers, typical in the high country.
The Leadville Trail 100 Mile began in 1983 after the town’s main employer, the Climax Mine, closed doors and Lake County skyrocketed to the highest unemployment rate in the country. The “Race Across the Sky” was dreamed up as an idea to bring an economy back to Lake County. The first year, 45 runners made the journey into the mountains for 100 miles and since then, thousands have done the same, and this small mountain town has become known for the iconic event.
2021 Leadville 100 Mile Men’s Race
Adrian Macdonald, a first-time 100-mile competitor, came out of the halfway point at Winfield in the first place and held strong the whole second half. He finished first with a time of 16:18:19, with a sub-10-minute mile average pace for the whole race. By two-thirds of the way through the race, Macdonald had gapped the rest of the men’s field and continued to gain on the other men until he finished more than 40 minutes ahead of second place.
The Fort Collins, Colorado, resident has successfully crossed over to trail ultramarathons from collegiate and road running, having only finished his first 50 miler earlier this year. Macdonald was paced in the last section by multi-time Leadville 100 podium finisher Nick Clark.
Four-time Leadville 100 champion Ian Sharman and two-time champion Anton Krupicka duked it out for second and third with Matt Flaherty in the second half. The race wasn’t decided among this trio until the race’s final miles, with Flaherty passing Sharman with roughly 20 miles to go and then Krupicka with less than 10 miles left in the race.
Krupicka ultimately crossed the line in third, 10 minutes behind Flaherty, to round out the men’s podium. While Krupicka’s return to ultrarunning following a more-than-half-decade break from the sport caught the attention of many, Flaherty also made a mark with great pacing on what we believe is his first 100-mile finish in a long trail-ultrarunning career.
2021 Leadville 100 Men’s Results
- Adrian Macdonald — 16:18:19
- Matt Flaherty — 16:59:38
- Anton Krupicka — 17:07:55
- Ian Sharman —17:46:31
- Marvin Sandoval — 18:50:41
2021 Leadville 100 Mile Women’s Race
The women’s field remained tight for a long portion of the race, with 23-year-old Annie Hughes, from Leadville, Colorado, a first-time Leadville 100 Mile competitor taking the lead by the second aid station at mile 23.5. She remained in first the rest of the race with a lead growing from 10 minutes to exactly an hour by the finish.
Hughes ran track and cross-country in college before moving to Leadville and discovering ultrarunning. She has set the women’s supported fastest known time on the 160-mile Collegiate Loop, took second overall at the 2021 Mace’s Hideout 100 Mile, and will compete in the 2021 Moab 240 Mile later this fall.
In the race’s first two-thirds, Blake Wageman, Kim Dobson, Ashley Arnold, Jana Willsey, and Kara Henry all fought for the podium, at some point in the race. Genevieve Harrison came from behind in the second half to take second, passing Wageman coming out of Mayqueen, with Wageman coming in about 20 minutes behind her.
Harrison has one previous Leadville 100 finish, and this time she improved massively on that 28:46 from 2017 when she was pregnant with her first child. This race looks like Wageman’s first 100-mile finish, and she took second at the 2021 Silver Rush 50 Mile earlier this year.
2021 Leadville 100 Women’s Results
- Annie Hughes — 21:06:58
- Genevieve Harrison — 22:06:59
- Blake Wageman — 22:25:20
- Michelle Kent — 23:10:20
- Tara Richardson — 23:18:51
The Leadville 100 Mile Legacy Foundation’s 2021 Dream Chaser
The Leadville 100 Mile Legacy Foundation raises money to support the Leadville community as the charity partner of the race. Rodrigo Jimenez ran as the foundation’s Dream Chaser, starting 2.5 hours after the rest of the race, to raise money for each runner he passes. He passed 600 runners and finished sixth in the men’s field.
Full results for the Leadville 100 Mile are available here.