Rocky Mountain High
December 12, 2012 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Inside the 100 mile ultramarathon run from America's highest incorporated city.
posted by Chrysostom (12 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If this article interests you, I commend to you the Race Reports section at Run100s (an excellent website all around), which has about 10 reports posted by actual runners from Leadville over the past several years. I haven't read the reports from Leadville, but I've read a ton of ultra race reports, and while the quality varies, they almost all give a better sense of what it's like to run a race than any article could.
posted by OmieWise at 9:15 AM on December 12, 2012

That article was great! It made me miss Colorado and running, and also not miss them at all. Thanks for posting!
posted by sleevener at 9:47 AM on December 12, 2012

I feel bad for the guy disqualified for finishing at 30:05.
I have tried walking up mountain trails at 10,000 feet, and had to stop every 5 minutes. Can't imagine running at all at that altitude.

Ultramarathons always remind me of Park Barner, who I used to see running to work. According to the article, he won the first US 100k in 1974, but my favorite story about him is the C & O Canal Race later that year (300k). He was the first person ever to finish the race, coming in with just under 24 hours of running. Only one other person finished the race, coming in at 46:46.
posted by MtDewd at 9:56 AM on December 12, 2012

One crew went so far as to create a prayer circle for its nauseated runner: "Please, speak to his stomach, Lord."

Fear ye not, one of the Deities will make His presence known.
posted by disconnect at 10:13 AM on December 12, 2012

unusual that a boom-or-bust mining town would end up having its identity so thoroughly tied to the world of fitness and endurance.

I live in Colorado, and I've been to and through Leadville many times, but it is news to me that the town's identity is "thoroughly" tied to fitness and endurance. Maybe that is true for fitness and endurance enthusiasts, but it isn't true in general.

Also, I don't find that CO mountain towns are as cookie-cutter similar to Leadville and each other as the author claims based on one day's experience. There are plenty of places to go, too - for all the tourists. Hotels, motels, cabins, B&Bs, RV parks, campgrounds, not to mention bars and restaurants. And the author is sleeping in his car? WTF?

Obviously the article is all about and for the runners and the race, but that's no reason to make stuff up to fit your chosen narrative. It undermines the author's credibility.
posted by caryatid at 10:35 AM on December 12, 2012

I <3 Leadville and I recommend anyone going through there to stay a night at the hostel. Great place.
posted by victory_laser at 11:26 AM on December 12, 2012

Leadville is the most suicidally depressing place I have ever witnessed in the U.S. Molybdinum mining leveled the mountain and left it a flat grey waste of slag. Truly horrible.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:57 AM on December 12, 2012

Okay, having said that, I went back to check to make sure I wasn't unneccesarilly impugning some charming small town. The town itself looks cute enough and I'm sure has wonderful people in it. What I've seen and am remembering are the areas around Climax Mine, which was awful awful awful.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:01 PM on December 12, 2012

Never did Leadville, but I've done plenty of other nutty stuff.

Oh dude... reaching the end of a 100 mile race, that's the best feeling in the world.
posted by ph00dz at 12:08 PM on December 12, 2012

Sweet! I just read Born to Run a couple weeks ago, which has stories about some of the Leadville racers in the 90s, including Ann Trason, Scott Jurek, and some of the Tarahumara people. It's a great read.
posted by A dead Quaker at 1:04 PM on December 12, 2012

I don't think Scott Jurek ran Leadville in the 90s.
posted by OmieWise at 1:07 PM on December 12, 2012

caryatid: "I live in Colorado, and I've been to and through Leadville many times, but it is news to me that the town's identity is "thoroughly" tied to fitness and endurance."

I live in Florida and I'm an avid runner. I had never heard of Leadville when I started running, but now my only association with it are the ultra races. If you said the name to most of my runner friends, they would probably think the same. Probably the same for most runners in this country (maybe even the world). And there are a lot of runners out there.
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:48 PM on December 13, 2012

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