It seems to me that during the summer trail-racing season in North America, there are certain events that attract our attention and capture the imagination year after year. Most times, it’s Western States in June and Hardrock in July. This year, my imagination has been captivated by Colorado in August and not just because my oldest son Carson has just started college out there.
Over the next few days, there is not one but three captivating running events in Colorado. First, there is the TransRockies Run stage race, which is currently on Day 4 and features runners from around the world traversing the high mountain passes of the Rockies over three or six extraordinarily scenic stages. The cool thing about TransRockies, as well, is that it’s essentially a traveling running festival with a new base camp set up each night. While I’ve never had the opportunity to attend, it seems to me to be the kind of thing that truly showcases the trail and ultrarunning community as the inclusive, egalitarian, and fun-loving place that it is.
Next, in the center of the state, is the iconic Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run. And, while this event has had its organizational ups and downs over the last few years, it stands out as one of the original 100-mile races. Challenging runners with both high altitude, lung-busting climbs as well as long stretches of runnable terrain, I have always seen Leadville as an honest test of a runner’s versatility. Blending tradition and modernity, Leadville continues to bring expansive attention to our sport that only a few other races have. For that reason, it commands my attention every year.
Finally, there is the two-day running ‘festival’ outside Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, on Saturday and Sunday. This historic two-day event, in which some people run both races on consecutive days (the Pikes Peak double) has, for years, attracted top-tier mountain runners from around the world to test their mettle on “America’s Mountain.” Legendary runner Matt Carpenter still holds the course records for both events (as he does for the Leadville 100) and each year I wonder, Will this be the year someone beats Matt’s record? For over a decade, nobody has.
And so for any trail running junkie, Colorado is the place to be this weekend. From short and flat to long and steep, Colorado is bringing hundreds of people out this week and weekend to suck a little thin air and enjoy some quality time in the mountains. While much of America sweats through the ‘dog days of summer,’ the folks in Colorado are living the dream. And these days, a little dreaming now and again may well be just what the doctor ordered.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s Beer of the Week, appropriately, comes from New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado. They make an excellent Flemish Sour Brown Ale called La Folie that is fruity and chocolatey, a blend of flavors I formerly thought were impossible to combine. Give it a try if you can get a hold of it.
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- Are you participating as a runner, crew, or spectator at any of these events in Colorado this week and weekend?
- What other races and running-based events are happening in Colorado this weekend?