Monday, July 2, 2012

Leadville Marathon 2012 Race Report

An hour before race time!
 Holy crap!  Quite hard to find the words to explain the never ending panoramic mountain views, unbelievable kinship with fellow racers and sense of accomplishment from finishing the Leadville Marathon.  This Saturdays' race, my first in the Leadman Challenge has to be considered a success and I am so excited to have this ball rolling.  I did not feel much like a runner during this 26.2 mile, never flat mountain run, but I made it out feeling healthy and hungry for a more.  This is a much more competitive field than anyone could have predicted. 

Heath and I in the front at the 30 foot mark, chatting with TIM W (2nd Place overall!!!)
What was in the air to make 2012 the year that all of these guys wanted to string together this 10,000 plus foot adventure in insanity along with me?  Tim Waggoner, Troy Howard, Jeff Spencer, Al Thresher and Chris Westerman are the 5 guys ahead of me in the Leadman standings and all are such cool guys that had great marathons runs.  And so many other great racers right behind.

My race started out okay and did not get much better.  The Leadville Race series had to have been developed with the notion that the shorter the race, the harder the terrain.  So if you are looking for an easy out by doing just the marathon, look elsewhere.  My time on this course was nearly an hour slower than another trail run from 4 months ago and even slower than a 32 mile trail run from last year.  Was it my lack of taper or level of difficulty?  Not entirely sure, but I was just never able to get my legs to turn over like I typically can.  I ran most of the day in out of a couple groups of runners.  Chatting up with new friends Luke Crespin of Denver and Scott Swaney of Highlands Ranch.  Great guys that had awesome results.

Our first climb, right out of the gates gained 2000 feet in 6 miles, dropped us down to 11,200 and into the aid stations.  Then we made our way up Mosquito Pass to that glorious 13.1 mile mark at 13,185.  The climb up was much more of a heart pumping, fast paced hike.  I am sure the top guys ran a good portion of that 3 mile stretch, but us mortals did all we could to find solid traction and carry upward and onward.  At the turn I felt my spirits lift, knowing we just had to crank some massive downhilling and one climb and we'd be home.  But this descent was far from what the Doctor ordered. 

The "good" line of the trail was being used by the uphill hikers, so going down required picking through endless loose rocks, boulders and 2-3 foot drops.  Check out Marathon runner Nick Lee's video.  Going downhill fast, in this fashion is scary, fun and damned dangerous.  I made it down unscathed but my stomach turned upside down and I had quite a headache.  I made a short pit stop, cruised through the aid station and buckled down for the final uphill.  This dirt road turned to single track climb never ended and I tried to keep some guys in sight and not let too many others gain on me.  We all had a similar, sagged shoulder form about us, just trying to get through it all. Getting to that final aid station at mile 22 was awesome, all of the volunteers were so helpful and really fun.  WE CANNOT do these events without them, I continually try to thank them and feed off the energy.  One guy screamed, "4 miles! All downhill!"  That got me fired up, but I seemed to remember a little uptick after a few unmanned water coolers.  I hit the water coolers, poured some cold h2o over my head and cruised up the hill and tried to drill the final 2 miles into town. Towards the end, I get so excited to see Nicole and my boys that it drops minutes off of my per mile pace.  That finish line was so far down the road, but my stride picked up and I was so stoked to see Rocco run towards me right before the finish line. 

I was pumped to be done and had fun recapping the race with lots of new friends and competitors.  I want to thank Nicole and my boys for their crazy support.  Heath (finishing in 3:50, awesome race bro!) and Amanda Kirschner with Ella and Georgia cheering wildly! Kevin Curtis, one of my best buds for his support, picture taking and cheering as always.  Paul Landry for the on course cheering and my great bud Pat Sullivan for showing up unannounced after climbing a couple 14ers earlier that day.  So cool to see everyone.  THANKS ADDAERO for the amazing support!  Pics and sum up below...
Finishing up!

W/ Sawyer and Spiderman Plane (last known whereabouts, if you find this plane, please let us know!!!)

My big boy Rocco.
Love of my life, Nicole!
Heath and I at the finish of our third 2012 Marathon of together.
 We are made well aware of the millions of sedentary people in our society and it is disheartening to say the least.  But the public also needs to take note of all of these exceptional, yet very normal people going above and beyond their physical limitations to compete in endurance events around the country every day.  It was amazing to see nearly 600 other friends and companions climbing and climbing to the turn around at Mosquito Pass - just to run back. Smiles, laughs, picture takers and competitors made up a field of amazing athletes, Congrats to all who partook in the Leadville Marathon!

13 days until the Leadville Silver Rush 50 mile BIKE and 50 mile RUN...


  1. Nice work out there! I agree, that last climb up to Ball was killer!

  2. Great job. Sounds like a burley race. Good luck with the rest of your races. We are cheering you on. Amazing!!