The Estes Park Marathon is one of America’s most scenic marathon courses! Runners enjoy our new road course that is surrounded by glorious 360 degree views of Rocky Mountain National Park. Starting with an inspiring 1500 ft descent, within the first 6.5 miles, runners will find their rhythm and strong …
The Estes Park Marathon is one of America’s most scenic marathon courses! Runners enjoy our new road course that is surrounded by glorious 360 degree views of Rocky Mountain National Park. Starting with an inspiring 1500 ft descent, within the first 6.5 miles, runners will find their rhythm and strong pace for an exceptional marathon race. As with all great journeys, the mountainous beauty will encourage you to overcome the physical and psychological challenges of the climbs and feel the thrill of several scenic downhills. Share the celebration and joy of running with us!
The MARATHON & HALF MARATHON courses start from the scenic Dao House on Hwy 7, and descend 1500ft within first 6.5 miles on mix of dirt trail, smooth surface road/pathways!
The Half Marathon will continue to descend directly to Lake Estes Trail for breath taking views of the Continental Divide.
The Marathon runners will travel on the Lake Estes Trail and run the Dry Gulch/Devil’s Gulch loop, passing the historic Stanley Hotel.
First 6 miles were an amazing downhill. The part that looked like it would be hard was. But also parts that appeared they wouldn't be too bad were also hard. … MORE
First 6 miles were an amazing downhill. The part that looked like it would be hard was. But also parts that appeared they wouldn’t be too bad were also hard. The second half of the marathon was pretty, but a letdown from the mountain descent and the sun was out (temp was good, but the sun felt really hot) and this was a rough race. Add to it (for me only) stomach issues from dinner the night before and it was a rough race. But I’m pleased with how I finished. I’m pleased I finished.
First thing that comes to mind when I think of the Estes Park Marathon - oh how beautiful it is! What a gorgeous course! Sure, I imagine there are prettier … MORE
First thing that comes to mind when I think of the Estes Park Marathon – oh how beautiful it is! What a gorgeous course! Sure, I imagine there are prettier trail race courses, but I don’t know how many road races are going to be prettier than Estes! Of course, since Estes is a small mountain town, you can’t expect much in the way of cheering crowds that you would get for a big city race. But who runs Estes for crowds? You are going to come to this race for Rocky Mountain views!
Estes is not a big race (as expected) and they don’t communicate much beforehand (maybe an email or two plus a couple social media posts). However, they got the needed information across, particularly with the wave start, bus loading, etc. There was no expo to speak of, but I was very happy that they provided the option to pick up the race packet the day of the race. That was very convenient for those of us who live relatively close, but not close enough where we want to drive back and forth just for packet pickup.
As for the actual course – it starts off with a pretty big downhill. You drop 2000 feet over the first 6 miles, so you have to be careful here so you don’t trash your legs. I took it easy and it paid off for me the rest of the race, where it is flattish in parts with some rollers and one decent climb over a mile. With this strategy, I felt pretty strong the entire way (not my fastest race, bug good enough to win the Masters division – woot!). Honestly the prettiest part of the course is during those first 6 miles, but there are parts of the rest of the race where you get some outstanding views as well. I don’t remember what mile it is, but I do remember seeing a great view of Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker, and not to mention you run right by the famous Stanley Hotel. Course support was good – kind volunteers and just enough water stops.
The post race party was pretty nice – held out in a field on a beautiful day, although the food was a bit underwhelming (I believe the race let us know that one of their vendors was unable to make it, so it may be better in other years). The swag was the usual – fairly nice short-sleeved tech shirt, and a beautiful medal!
I would highly recommend the Estes Park Marathon for anyone who prefers road running and is looking for a Colorado race. In Colorado, you really want a pretty course, and Estes delivers big time! Add in a nice medal and and efficient logistics, you have a winner.
It was a cool and rainy start at around 9500 feet but the beauty that surrounded the start and much of the race was breathtaking. If the view won't take … MORE
It was a cool and rainy start at around 9500 feet but the beauty that surrounded the start and much of the race was breathtaking. If the view won’t take your breath away, the elevation might. I knew this would be an issue for a “flatlander” from Iowa (the elevations I train at are around 750′) so I slowed down my pace and just took in the beauty that was surrounding me. I took pictures, slowed down to chat with and encourage other runners and somehow still managed to finish second in my age division. The event was well run, the shuttle to the start was easy, the volunteers were helpful, cheerful and encouraging, the aid stations were well stocked, the porta potties could have been slightly more plentiful along the route but I only say that because they weren’t necessarily where I needed them, LOL. The start area was great as we were able to relax inside the lodge with fresh coffee, tea or hot chocolate and water to make the wait in the cool, damp morning much more tolerable. The race itself takes you from about 9500 feet at the Dao House down scenic HWY 7 into the town of Estes Park about 2000′ below over the first 10 or so miles. The views of the rockies are plentiful as are beautiful streams and lakes. The route then tours around the town and then out around the countryside (and up and down a few hills) and then back into town past the historic Stanley Hotel back around the lake and finishing on the HS track (the rubber surface sure felt good on tired legs). Post race food options were not great in my opinion (or maybe it was just because I finished about an hour later than I normally would at lower elevations). Options were cheese pizza, broccoli pizza, salad and some vegetarian dish. No offense to my fellow runners but who runs 26.2 miles and can’t wait to grab a salad. Nonetheless, I had a great time and enjoyed my cheese pizza 🙂
If you’re looking to BQ, this race, although downhill for most of the first 10 miles, is likely not a great race for that. If you’re looking for a destination race, this is a great one! The Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park area is full of fun things to do and see. My wife and I loved the area and will probably go back to do more exploring.