The 2024 Hardrock 100 is history! Check out our in-depth results article for the full race story, as well as our interviews with champions Courtney Dauwalter and Ludovic Pommeret.

New Billy Yang Film “Like a Lead Balloon” Follows Runner Through Hardships to the 2023 Leadville 100 Mile Finish Line

Watch aspiring ultrarunner Jeff Beecham tackle the 2023 Leadville 100 Mile to help move past his life’s challenges in this new Billy Yang film.

By on January 3, 2024 | Comments

This poetic and inspiring film by Billy Yang follows ultrarunner Jeff Beecham as he makes his way through the highs and lows of one of the most challenging 100-mile ultramarathons in the U.S., the Leadville 100 Mile, which takes place in the small Colorado town of Leadville.

It also tracks some of the life challenges that Beecham uses ultrarunning to surmount, showing the universal power of our sport.

Beecham is a father and wealth management practice owner who fell into the running community when other people in his office were inspired by running. It was then that he started his own running journey and over time felt the pull toward ultras like his fellow running friends.

Like a Lead Balloon film - feature

Screenshot from the film “Like a Lead Balloon: 30 Hours at the Leadville 100.”

This film tells not only the story of one man’s journey in running a 100-mile race but also shares some of the life background that led Beecham to this race’s start line.

A product of humble beginnings, Beecham came from a family in the U.S. Midwest that barely scraped by. Then, as an adult, his family experienced profound loss, when one of Beecham and his wife’s children, Birdie, passed away shortly after birth.

He compares his own life to the beginnings of the chemical element lead, not likely to be anything too spectacular or to have much worth.

Wishing to take control of his success, Beecham in part chose ultras and specifically the Leadville 100 Mile as his outlet. Always fighting to achieve the things in life that are important to him, Beecham set out to be an example to his family, as well as anyone looking to aspire for something more.

You know that skin-prickling feeling when words reach in and touch your soul? That is precisely the feeling you will get multiple times when watching this man’s journey, and listening to him compare both his need and ability to be resilient and persistent to a lead balloon, which has indeed flown, despite its unlikelihood to.

Aside from Beecham’s inspiring story, this film also showcases some of the beautiful views of the Leadville 100 Mile. It’s a must-watch not only for current and aspiring ultrarunners, but also for anyone who needs a push toward their goals despite the natural roadblocks of life.

Amber Nelson

Amber Nelson is a writer, trail and obstacle course runner, and lover of travel and new experiences. She’s been writing about all things health and fitness for about three years and especially loves writing about about anything running related. Running changed Amber’s life when she stumbled into it after a 100 pound weight loss. In her free time you can find her planning upcoming travel, listening to an audio book while running in the foothills of Boise, Idaho, or slowly chipping away at her PhD in social psychology.