Overall Rating
Overall Rating (4 Reviews)
(4 Ratings)  (4 Reviews)
This is it. The Race of All Races. Where it all began. In 1983, 45 tough-minded runners braved 100 miles of high-altitude, extreme Rocky Mountain terrain — starting at 10,200 feet, climbing to 12,600 feet and running into global endurance history. Today, the Life Time Leadville Trail 100 RUN presented … MORE
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Recent reviews

    bres FIRST-TIMER '18

    All the preraces information is available. Well marked course with aid stations. If you do your homework, it helps. You should expect logistics with your team to fail at some … MORE

    All the preraces information is available. Well marked course with aid stations. If you do your homework, it helps. You should expect logistics with your team to fail at some point. There is limited cell in areas and despite being a major race, the race series still can/does miss things. IN 2019, they shuttle bus driver stopped working, leaving pacers to miss their runners b/c there was not any transportation.


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    M_Sohaskey Feb 06, 2021 at 12:26am

    Bravo, Brian! You definitely didn't pick a fast & flat 100 for your first. Glad you were able to persevere and get it done, and congrats on easily beating the… MORE

    Bravo, Brian! You definitely didn't pick a fast & flat 100 for your first. Glad you were able to persevere and get it done, and congrats on easily beating the 30-hour cutoff! 💪 LESS

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    Solupia FIRST-TIMER '18

    Spoiler Alert: This review is modified from my original Race Report. A quick summary review is available near the end, Leadville 100 marks my 3rd attempt for 100 mile race … MORE

    Spoiler Alert: This review is modified from my original Race Report. A quick summary review is available near the end,

    Leadville 100 marks my 3rd attempt for 100 mile race and 2nd finish. It’s the hardest race thus far, yet best 100 mile race for me. Tho not my PR, I had less feet problem compared to Rio Del Lago 100, and I finished at a higher altitude as supposed to Bryce Canyon 100 (which I DNF’d).

    LT100 has a hard cutoff of 30hr as supposed to BC100’s 36hr. I came into the race knowing it will be tough with 14k+elevation gain at the altitude between 9000 and 12,600 above sea level. In order to ensure I don’t have the same problem as I did in BC100, I spent 5 days acclimating in the Rockies. Sure enough, I had no headache during the entire race! Hurray!

    The temperature was perfect. Though it’s cold in the low 40s before dawn, I had plenty of layers to keep myself warm. Maybe too warm … 😓 As I left the first aid station at mile 12, we ran up to Sugarloaf Pass. Though it started to rain, I began to sweat under my base layer. But worrying about the cold evening on my return, I kept under armor on till 3rd aid station at mile 29. This turns out to be a major mistake. I was originally on track with my pace for the sub-25hr plan, because of overheating, my time dropped significantly between Outward Bound and Half Pipe aid stations.

    Rain stopped. After taking off my under armor at mile 29, I started to pick up my pace as I traversed over foothill of Mt Elbert. I made up some lost time as I arrived at Twin Lakes.

    Knowing I will be heading up Hope Pass, the highest point of the race, 12,600 ft above sea level, I had been relatively conservative in my approach for this race. I took my time to scrutinize the scenery and took off towards the river crossing. The cold water felt nice on my slightly sore feet. But it messed up the insoles of my shoes. Once I got to the base of the Mt Hope, I began my relentless climb. I was making amazing progress as I passed many people on the way up without taking a break. I felt great with the cadence and progressed forward with a vengeance against my previous DNF. When I reached Hope Pass, the view was gorgeous. I am surprised that I didn’t have my usually headache. I knew then I can finish this race for sure. Trotting downhill, I came to a bottleneck behind a blind runner, Jason. He is an incredible athletes even though he is legally blind. He is officially a Lead man by completing the Leadville Race Series including the Leadville 100 MTB a week ago. It’s inspiring yet scary to look as he ran down the rocky mountain. I seriously don’t know how he managed that without spraining his ankles. Or he may have some amazing tenacity.

    After some delay before I got to pass Jason the blind runner, I made it to the Winfield the turnaround point. Upon arrival, I had less than 40min till cutoff time. I make a quick replenish of my gear and started heading back. That’s about 32 min before cutoff.

    As I heading back up the mountain, Jason the blind runner caught up to me. Instead of letting him pass me, I took it upon myself to start running up the hill with him by opening up the path in front. It actually have me great advantage to pass many people. Jason was running at a steady 11min/mile pace. Though I was running in front of him, he was really the one pacing me the whole time. We ran together for over 2 miles. But since I left the last aid station really quickly, I didn’t give myself enough time to go take care minor business. I said goodbye to Jason and off the bush I went. I didn’t catch-up to him until I have reached Hope Pass. There’s a long trail of bottleneck with people hiking slowly up the mountain. I took this opportunity to rest my body for the descent.

    Once the other side of the mountain, I began my speedy descent. Sun began to set, I wanted to head down to Twin Lakes as fast as I can.

    By the time I reached aid station, it was roughly 50 min before cutoff. I had gained some time I thought. But that’s when thing began to go wrong. In order to prepare for the night, I went to the portable potty to change out my gear. It was stinky inside, and I got really nauseous by the time I was finished. I needed I breather. I was thinking, I can’t throw up now and lose my momentum. After testing a little bit with some coke and ginger ale, I began my ascent. This was 30 min before cutoff.

    Getting some fresh air in my system, I was able to regain my energy to move forward again. I got to Half Pipe with 45min from cutoff. I thought I was going to regain some time little by little.

    Lo and behold, things didn’t go as I planned. It started raining again upon arrival at Half Pipe. Fortunately, it was a quick shower. After leaving mile 71, my stomach began to shut down. I threw up all that I ate at the previous aid station. This is the first time I experienced over nutrition. I have heard of it, but didn’t know it will happen to me. Previously, I had been consuming Bolthouse protein shakes as my main source of fuel during this race. However, this is where the mistake comes in. Though protein is great to combat bonking, it’s far harder to digest than carbohydrate. As a result, my body was unable to suggest all that I had consumed thus far. Now it just decided to reject anymore intake. In fear of wasting more energy throwing up, I stopped ingesting any food as much as I can. But the nausea didn’t go away.

    From Half Pipe to Outward Bound was relatively flat, I was able to jog along without losing much time. I left the aid station without eating or drinking anything. This was 45 min before cutoff. I thought I will forsure to finish now as I am still progressing in a good pace.

    However, I made a 4th mistake. I ran off the course. Instead making a left turn onto the dirt road up Sugarloaf Pass, I ran straight along the road for an extra quarter of a mile. I thought it was weird that I haven’t seen any course marking and no one was following as I slowed down to a stop. I started to worry and took out my phone to check the map. Unfortunately, Google map doesn’t show the trail up Sugarloaf Pass. I was unable to confirm my location relative to the course. After some debates, I backtracked until I could find the course marking. Of course, I missed the turn!

    Without knowing how much time I have wasted and how far left to go, I started scrambling up the mountain. Reaching to the top, a floating aid station was created by some volunteers. Folks at the aid station claimed that there’s only 4 mile downhill to May Queen aid station. Since I had 90 min till the cutoff at the time, I thought I would have plenty of time to spare to find the race. Unfortunately, the 4 mile was a lie. Running downhill after an hour later, I still haven’t seen any sign of the aid station. I began to worry again. I was being extra cautious of afraid being lost. Every time I haven’t seen a flag for more than 100ft, I started to doubt myself.

    At the same time, my nausea hadn’t improved. I was still unable to ingest anything without throwing up. A fellow runner had offered me some mango ginger candies. They helped, but only lasted for 10 min. I was slowly getting worried about bonking, though my body is still feeling okay for the meantime.

    Thank God, I reached May Queen 10min before cutoff! Without stopping for a moment, I ran pass the timing mat and moved on even though I needed to use the restroom. Half a mile later, there’s a bathroom. Now, it’s 3hr 30min to finish cutoff.

    In order to finish in time, I must maintain an average 16min/mile pace. That’s not a causal walking pace, especially not over a rolling hills stretch of the course. With my body slowly depleted of calories, I can sense the bonk was coming. I prayed really hard that God will give me strength to finish this race with it knowing how much I had left in my tank. I had been going on without any food or drink for 20 miles now and about 6 hours now.

    As I make my attempt to let gravity pulled me on the downhill and power walk the uphill to speed up the process, I could sense the empty tank light lit up in my body at about 7 miles before finish.

    Not knowing what I should do, I decided to chuck half of my protein shake down. Every time I was about to puke, I gulped in a bit more protein shake to counter the body reaction. Not sure if that would work, I managed to intake some Calories. That’s huge.

    To be energy efficient, I must move quickly. I start power hike and jog as quickly as I could. Taking advantage of the “non-empty” stomach, I made the best out of it with the downhill. But of course, the last 4 miles of the race was mostly uphill. Grinding my teeth, I pushed forward. Little by little, I regained my momentum. I was able to pass back people passed me from earlier during my bonk. However, I could began to feel the impact of the long pounding of the miles.

    As the last mile was in sight, for the first time in any race, I became emotional. I choked up in excitement, knowing that this was a miracle to I could even finish in time after all that went wrong. I was crazed with excitement because it was yet the best birthday present I have ever received. God is gracious to me. This race was hard, but full of memories to savor upon as my best birthday race yet.

    I wasn’t quite sure if I could jog up the finish line due to the series of hills, instead I power hiked the last quarter mile with confidence and excitement. I had finished my 2nd 100 mile race! My official time is 29:38:45.

    Now to the recovery! To my surprise, my recovery is quicker than I could ever expect. 2 days after the race, I was able to run again on my feet. This is by far my best experience of 100 mile race. Though not a perfect race still, I had a consistent strong performance throughout the race despite the repeated setbacks. Now I can finally say that I get the 100 miler bug 😂

    * * * * * * * * * *
    Review Summary:

    OVERALL Production and Race Swag 5/5
    Excellent Production. I love the Finisher Jacket, custom printed with your name and finishing time, available in post race party 2 hours after cut-off!!! The race director has it down! Not to forget the shiny buckle. This is a special one, carefully carved and well-designed.

    Course Marking 4/5
    For runner who gets tired and delirious after so many mile, they should make it even more obvious, especially when it comes to me. I am the worst in following the course. I can easily go astray but following an opening in the forest or the animal trails. Since I managed to ran off course at one point, I guess there’s still improvement to keep my weary eyes on course.

    Course Difficulty 10.5/15: Altitude 4.5/5; Elevation Gain 3/5; Trail Technicality 3/5
    As I am learning more about ultra and course type, This course is quite manageable for some seasoned runner, and elites. Though it is recognized as post-graduate course, majority of the course is fairly runnable including many jeep trail and occasional asphalt. The 14k+ elevation gain with some rocky terrain in the mix at an Average HIGHEST elevation 100-mile course in the USA make it an above average difficulty race, However, here are definitely race out there with more technical terrain, 20k+elevation gain and higher altitude at the highest point. Therefore, I didn’t max out my rating at this time.

    Course Scenery 5/5
    From lakeside to mountain view, I love nature!

    Lesson Learned:
    1) Overnutrition is Real! Though protein is good for you and great to keep your stomach from growling, readily accessible carbohydrates are crucial to fueling during a race.
    2) Ginger Chew/Candy is your friend during mountain trail race. It helps nausea and relieves upset stomach.


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    M_Sohaskey Feb 18, 2019 at 10:01pm

    One word, Solomon: EPIC. Though maybe not what most people would consider their ideal birthday present 😂. Seriously, I loved reading every harrowing, intense line of this recap, and I… MORE

    One word, Solomon: EPIC. Though maybe not what most people would consider their ideal birthday present 😂. Seriously, I loved reading every harrowing, intense line of this recap, and I hope you've allowed yourself time to step back and appreciate what an amazing feat this was to conquer not only the Race Across the Sky, but every challenge you faced along the way. And just imagine doing all that without your eyesight! Jason is likewise one inspiring dude. Well done too on the 5-day acclimation, that clearly was a huge arrow in your quiver on race day. Which leads me to ask — were you able to do any altitude training for Leadville other than Bryce Canyon? CONGRATS on digging (very) deep to notch your second 100, and thanks again for sharing it here — can't wait to see what you do for an encore! 🙌 LESS

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    Solupia Feb 18, 2019 at 11:22pm

    Thanks. I didn't get tons of altitude trainings before my trip to Colorado. But I did make 3 impromptu mountain trail run trip within one month of Leadville 100. I… MORE

    Thanks. I didn't get tons of altitude trainings before my trip to Colorado. But I did make 3 impromptu mountain trail run trip within one month of Leadville 100. I did a day trip to summit Freel Peak near Lake Tahoe, then another day trip to Sonora Peak, and finally did a 30-hr trip to complete Rae Lake Loop in Kings Canyon NP 2 weekends before race. Since I was only in the high altitude for a few hours at a time, the acclimation never really kicked in till I went for hikes daily while in Colorado. LESS

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    M_Sohaskey Feb 19, 2019 at 1:20pm

    Which makes this even more impressive! Well done, Solomon.

    Which makes this even more impressive! Well done, Solomon.

    AGeraldi FIRST-TIMER '08

    This was, without a doubt, my most challenging ultra (and that includes Mont Blanc, Badwater and each of my three Keys 100 finishes). I drove up to Leadville from Denver. … MORE

    This was, without a doubt, my most challenging ultra (and that includes Mont Blanc, Badwater and each of my three Keys 100 finishes). I drove up to Leadville from Denver. It was a beautiful drive and the city was beautiful I was staying at the Leadville Hostel.

    I woke up at 2:30 am with the other 3 guys in my Hostel bedroom (after buying a pair of ear plugs, slept like a rock through the snoring of Mr. Leadville – the 24 time finisher Bill Finkbeiner). We all started the day with the same act – looking outside at the weather. The sky was mostly cloudy with the occasional lightning bolt flashing across the horizon. Based upon that, we all dressed in our cold weather gear, packed extra gear in our bags (this was my first ultra where I actually wore a pack) and grabbed a hot breakfast (mine was coffee with a Powerbar).

    The time seemed to drag for a bit, but soon it was time to walk down to the start. About 5 minutes into my walk, the rain started falling. It continued pretty heavily then started to decrease closer to the actual start.

    The line was full – nearly 500 runners ready for the 4:00am start.
    Many were huddled under doorways and awnings to stay dry until the last minute. With the final minute being countdown, I said a quick prayer and joined the crowd. Then we were off. I again based my early race strategy upon the wisdom of my “coach’ Don of ZombieRunners. I walked the first 5 minutes – by the time those 5 minutes were up, I was one of the last 3 people.

    Then I started running. The course goes down the Leadville city streets at 10,200 feet. Many residents were out cheering on the bunch of crazy lunatics running past their house. As the run progressed, we turned onto a dirt road with scattered rocks. I was actually feeling pretty good at this point – my breathing was relaxed despite the elevation and I was slowly working my way through the crowd. We then turned up a dirt hill and climbed for a short bit before crossing a street and into some woods.

    The path continued past some campgrounds on the right with a lake appearing on the left. Occasionally the morning air would be filled with the sound of creeks running under our running feet as they emptied the rainwater into the lake. I continued my forward progression, slowly passing people when possible along this often single track path. Soon I came up on one of my roommates – Elwyn. We ran together for a bit but then I went ahead.

    Before I knew it, we entered the first crew access point called Boat Ramp. Strangely enough, it was on a boat ramp. Because I had no crew or pacers for this race, there seemed little reason for me to stop so I continued on. In the dawn this was a wonderful run – the trail winding through trees, over boulders and through the occasional puddle/stream. Soon, there was enough light that allowed me to turn my headlamp and flashlight off.

    At the half marathon point, we entered the first official aid station called May Queen. I had a drop bag there, but since this was so early in the race, I merely filled my water bottles, stashed my lights in my backpack, and continued on. A runner came up on me about 3 minutes out of the station. He had missed his crew and suspecting that he would meet them later never filled his bottles. So he was already running on empty. I offered him about ¾ of one of my 3 bottles (I had 1 hand-bottle of Succeed Clip2 and 1 hand-bottle of water and another bottle of water behind my back). We then ran together for a bit before I left him on a nice downhill.

    The downhill soon turned to a climb going up through a wooded area.

    I was now starting to get quite warm from the run plus the wet weather in the woods was increasing the humidity. So as soon as the climb ended on a wide unpaved road, I stopped to take off my jacket and stash it in my bag. I started running and 15 seconds later the sky opened up with heavy rain and hail. “Great timing!” I said to a runner next to me and we shared a laugh.

    I continued the run up the road without the jacket. This climb went up Sugarloaf and the views were fantastic.

    I was feeling really good as I shifted from a run to power-walk. At the summit I paused for a second to put my jacket back on and then continued running.
    I passed a huge tower with power lines that were crackling in the rain/sleet. This was the summit called, appropriately enough, Powerline. One could see the valley below where May Queen was located.

    Powerline continued along the summit ridge for a bit before descending down some wonderful downhill trails. Some were quite steep consisting of gullies strewn with rocks making the fast descent a bit tricky, but I was enjoying it.

    Near the end of the descent the trail turned right and ended on a road. The road climbed to the next aid station at mile 23 called Fish Hatchery. I entered the FH aid station and the wonderful volunteers got me my drop bag. (Note: not only does Leadville have more volunteers than any other ultra I have run, they were all fantastic – supportive, knowledgeable and quick to go out of their way to get runners anything they needed). Here I decided to try something I learned from my Badwater run – tuna. I had stopped at the store prior to the race and found some single serving bags of tuna fish so I bought some and stashed some in my drop bags. I gulped down the tuna and headed back out. The paved road was wet as the rain started falling heavy.

    The run stayed on a road that turned onto another road. After the junction the skies really opened up again pouring cold rain down. I stopped and quickly pulled a plastic rain poncho out of my bag and continued the run. The road started climbing towards a line of trees on the horizon called coincidently Tree Line. Tree Line, like Boat Ramp, was a crew access point, not a true aid station so I went straight through and continued the now dirt road upwards.

    A small stream was to my left and it was flowing pretty fast. This road seemed to go on for a bit, passing campgrounds and some wonderful forested areas. Soon we entered the Half Moon Campground. It was here that the next aid station, weirdly named Half Moon, was located at around the 50km mark.

    I stopped here and decided to change jackets for a dryer one. I also changed shirts and grabbed my iPod. One runner who was changing gear informed me that the next section was one of his favorites with great downhills. I left the tent and entered the food tent where I was thrilled to learn they were serving vegetarian broth and vegetarian ramen. In all the races I have run (OK – not as many as lots of runners, but I’m not a novice either), Leadville was the first that I have run that offered vegetarian options at every single aid station. In the cold of this run, the hot broth and noodles were a blessing.

    I left the tent and continued running looking forward to the promised downhills. Soon the path turned right….right up. The climb was pretty steep and, while the rain had stopped, the humidity from the rain was strong. A runner next to me asked me if I knew how long and high this climb was to be. I said “Nope – but it sure is a bitch.”. He agreed. We continued climbing and I learned that we were both flatlanders – me from SF area and he from Wisconsin. He invited me to join him in one of his hard “500 feet altitude work-outs”.

    Finally, we reached the top and the trail turned to the right. My legs were burning a bit by now but the trail soon started a descent. I turned on my iPod to some great Faith No More and took off.

    I love downhills – I may not be the fastest, but certainly I attack them hard. I think I have pretty good instinct with my footing, strong ankles and a certain stupidity that allows me to take many downhills pretty fast. Here, it was like I just started the race. I went flying down the trails, passing other runners, leaping over rocks and small streams. I was having a blast. The trails seemed to go on and despite a big smile I knew that I was not going to love this portion as much on the return trip.

    Soon, the trails changed from wonderful single-track forested trails to steep rocky roads. This ended at Twin Lakes (yes, it was next to 2 lakes). I entered the 40 mile aid station. Here I contemplated changing my shoes into my lighter Asics, but a wonderful aid station worker convinced me to stick with my original plan and save those shoes for the return trip. As I sipped down some more vegetarian broth and noodles she also massaged my legs for me. (NOTE: all RD’s out there – with so many runners being so health conscious, please follow Leadville’s lead and have options available to those who can’t have the standard chicken broth).

    After resting and re-energizing about 10 minutes in the station, I started out. As I left the tent my eyes darted around for two things that I knew were coming up fast. First was the river crossing – a place where we had been informed we would have to wade across thigh high waters. The second was Hope Pass – the 12,600 foot barrier between Twin Lakes and the 50 mile turn-around. The first was behind some trees and tall grass. The second was hidden behind storm clouds (Oh goody!).

    I ran on through the mountain pastures around Twin Lakes and soon the river crossing became visible. I waited my turn and entered the river. The water was cold and fast but manageable. One of the volunteers advised me to stay to my left as there was a deep hole to the right. As the snow melt waters were inching closer to certain body parts, I opted to listen to him.

    Then I exited the river and continued on – following the path that disappeared into the trees. My legs actually were feeling really good – I think the icy waters actually helped. I started climbing and began to get pretty warm so I stopped and shed my jacket.

    As I restarted my climb, the skies opened up and the hail began to pour down. I have decided that I have a second job – I will go to areas that have a water shortage and simply take off my rain gear and within minutes the skies will open.

    Anyway, I continued up (and up and up and up) as the hail came down (and down and…well, you get the point).

    I know for a lot of people hail stones the size of peas and marbles are nothing new, but to me I was pretty amazed to see hail that far surpassed the rice sized hail that I am used to seeing, Oh, by the way, larger hail hurts when it hits a bald head – just thought you’d want to know. It was also soaking my clothes, so finally I paused and put my jacket back on again.

    After awhile the hail stopped but the climb didn’t. I kept going up. Now I have raced at elevations between 8,000 and 10,000 feet and, while feeling it, certainly was never really impacted by the elevation. But here, once I broke through 11,000 feet I was gasping. I am sure all the Colorado natives had a good laugh at my expense, but shi! This was hard.

    Finally, I passed through some trees and could see the top of Hope Pass….WAY UP THERE. I continued moving forward and now the sun was breaking through and I was getting hot. So, I stopped and once again took off my jacket (be warned, this is a reoccurring theme in this report).

    As I approached the 12,200 foot elevation, I noticed a heard of lamas around me. No, it wasn’t the lack of oxygen that caused me to see this. This was the Hope Pass aid station (yes, to those enquiring minds that want to know, they had more vegetarian broth).

    I left the HP station and started up the trail. About 100 feet before the summit, the first returning runner came running towards me. He was followed by another runner and then another. Wow – this was going to be a tight race for first.

    I crested the top of the pass and looked behind me. Twin Lakes was far below and the view was amazing.

    I looked ahead and the view was amazing – almost making the climb worthwhile.

    Then I started downhill. Finally, back into my environment. I picked up speed as I passed those who had passed me on the way up. The trail down was pretty steep – sometimes too steep to really run. I almost lost control twice around sharp and rocky turns.

    Finally, as I neared the bottom, I again met Darren (the runner from Wisconsin that I met earlier on the climb out of Half Moon). This time we exchanged names. Darren and I decided to move into Winfield (the 50 mile station) together. It was a 2 mile distance from the base of Hope to Winfield – but it only seemed like 10 miles. FINALLY we reached the aid station and got separated.

    I tried to minimize my time at the station. I got there at almost exactly 12 hours. This should have left me 18 hours to do a simple 50 miles. Problem was, it wasn’t a simple 50 (with a climb of 12,600 and two others with one exceeding 11,000) coupled with pretty challenging cut-off times at each station. I popped a couple S!Caps and stretched my thighs and calves. Soon I headed back out knowing that I had a hell of a climb ahead of me.

    I jogged the road from Winfield and soon reached the Hope Pass trail head. I started climbing…well, tried to. My thighs were already pretty thrashed, but I kept pushing forward. People were coming down the trail and I happily stepped aside to let them pass (and to let me rest). If I had thought going up Hope Pass on the outbound was bad, the steeper return trip made me wish for it again.

    Soon Darren and his pacer caught me. We kept going up together – taking turns resting. After awhile we noted that the runners coming down were out of the race as there was no way for them to make the 50 mile cut-off time.

    Near the top of the pass, Darren and I got separated when he needed to take a nature break. I crested the Hope Pass summit and started flying down the hill towards the aid station. Once there I sat down and downed some broth. I also had a peanut butter sandwich and some crackers. Soon Darren and his pacer joined me. After a bit, they took off as Darren’s knees were bothering him a bit. I soon followed and passed them going down the hill.

    I was again loving this race as I flew down the muddy path, along the flowing creek and over rocks and roots. Soon I passed Marshall Ulrich. I slowed and spoke with him a bit. I introduced myself, told him about my Badwater experience and how his wife had posted on my blog earlier. Soon though we were separated as I continued my downhill run.

    Near the end of the downhill I stopped on some rocks to strip off my tights. With the river crossing coming up, I wanted to have them stay dry for the upcoming night. Marshall caught me there and we basically ran towards the crossing together.

    Once again, we grabbed the rope and crossed through the icy waters. Once on the other side I continued my jog/walk until finally hitting the 60 mile point aid station at Twin Lakes. The aid station workers were again fantastic. One lady helped me change shoes and socks, get my rain coat on and repacked everything in my drop bag. After a bit more noodles, I headed out.

    Just as I feared, the climb out of Twin Lakes was a real pain. I ended up tagging along with a two other runners. Soon it became dark and I needed to switch on my flashlight and headlamp. The climb seemed to last forever. Near the end of the climb the skies lit up with lightening and the rain and hail started falling fast and hard again. Finally, the downhill towards Half Moon started and I cruised down and ended on the road leading to the campgrounds. The rain was soaking through my clothes and I wasn’t moving fast enough to stay warm.

    I got to the tent and sat down in front of a heater. I downed some broth and tried to change into drier clothes. But I started shivering so much, I ended up going to the medical tent where it was even warmer and wrapping a blanket around me for 5 minutes until I stopped shaking. I then gathered my stuff, downed some hot cocoa (at the direction of the med provider – great advice) and started a power walk down the road. Two aid stations to go.

    I was only a minute or two into my walk when runner comes up behind me and asks if he could hang with me a bit. “Sure” I said. His name was Matt and his ankle was giving him a real hard time (he injured it 6 years ago or so and it still bothered him). Not only was this his first 100 miler, it was his first ultra. He hadn’t even run a marathon before!

    He told me how he and his brother started the race together but his brother was forced to stop at Wynfield. His crew was his mom and girlfriend. I said he was more than welcome to hang with me as my only goal was sub-30 and if he and I could power walk through the finish line under that time, we could do it together. He set forth his timing strategy that would let us see the finish line around 9:00am (29 hours). It was agreed and we commenced.

    We chatted a bit and tried to keep ourselves entertained. Soon we came along Tree Line where his girlfriend was waiting. Matt changed jackets and grabbed another water bottle and off we went. The road from Tree Line to Fish Hatchery seemed to have increased in length during the day, but we kept moving. We finally entered Fish Hatchery and I grabbed some broth and some food. The workers filled my bottles. Matt was getting his ankle wrapped so I laid down on a bench next to a heater. But almost before I even closed my eyes, Matt was ready to go – so we left.

    The asphalt road leading out of FH eventually reached a point where the flags led us onto the dirt path that marked the beginning of the Powerline march up to Sugarloaf. Matt was actually stronger on the uphills than I so he led the way. Soon a young woman from Toronto joined us for a bit using trekking poles as she ascended the trail.

    As the night wore on, we continued up. My thighs were pretty tired but I noticed that I was keeping up with Matt. Soon though, I ended up passing him. He stated that he was really hurting. I tried to talk him into moving forward and he did. But after about 20 minutes he said he just couldn’t and wanted me to go ahead. I tried to tell him that we had plenty of time and he just had to keep moving forward. He said he would move at his own pace and actually asked me to “Please just get going.” So I compromised and told him that we had to be close to the summit and I would go ahead and if I got to it soon, I would wait for him so we could do the downhill together. If I didn’t get there soon, I would go on down to the aid station and tell his crew about him. He agreed and off I went. Man – it was at least 20 minutes before I finally got to the summit so, per our agreement and with time slipping away, I kept moving down the road.

    Now I noticed that my headlight and flashlight beams were growing dim. I stopped and changed headlamps with the spare in my bag – but it was dim too. But I continued on and finally dropped down the trail leading towards May Queen the final aid station. The trail was dark and very very muddy. Sometimes I would step down and most of my shoe would disappear in black muck. My lights were so dim, I made one wrong turn but realized it less than a minute later when the path, luckily, ended. I turned around and went back and found the right way.

    I entered the May Queen aid station and sat down. To my right was one of my roommates Jonathan being crewed by UltraRunning mag’s Tia Bodington. As we exchanged hellos, I was slapped on the back by another of my roomates Elwyn. I was just thinking how cool it was that 3 of the 4 people staying in the same room were at the last aid station at the exact same time when Elwyn commented that Bill (the fourth roommate) was there also. Wow! What a coincidence! After 87 miles, the four of us were on the exact same pace – must be that Leadville Hostel coffee.

    I asked Jonathan if he thought we still has sub-30 hours and he was confident that a nice power walk would bring us in around 29 hours. So, He took off first while a great aid station volunteer found me some replacement batteries for my flashlight. Then Elwyn and I headed out. We started a nice little jog/power walk and soon caught Jonathan. The three of us hung together a bit but soon Elwyn and I went ahead, Elwyn intent on catching Bill who we assumed was ahead of us chasing his 25th straight Leadville finish.

    The trail soon became single track as we reversed our way back towards Leadville. We were making a decent pace, jogging the downhills and power walking the inclines and flats. Soon we came upon two other runners. Elwyn passed them by trying to catch Bill. I hung back for a bit content with my pace. Soon though I too passed them by and continued heading towards Leadville.

    After a while, it was light enough to switch off the flashlight and headlamp. The trail was winding alongside the lake and soon entered the Boat Ramp crew access. Only about 8 or so miles to go!

    The wind was coming off of the lake and my hands were frozen. I was really tired, cold and damp. I mentioned to a runner next to me that I just wanted to get this “F’n thing over with”. He laughed and agreed. After what seemed like an eternity, I exited a path and came upon a road which I crossed and entered the last trail to Leadville. This trail was a mini-Powerline run – straight down with many gullies and rocks.

    Once at the bottom of the decent, we turned onto the final dirt climb. This was a wide dirt road that seemed to go on and on. After every rise, there was yet another rise. I passed a few runners here and there, but I wasn’t really going that fast. Between my dead legs and being really cold, my pace had dropped quite a bit. Soon though, the dirt trail ended. I reached the peak at the same time as Gary Wang, a fellow Bay Area ultrarunner. I checked my watch and figured that I might still just barely get under 29 hours.

    So I started a slow jog across the street and turned on the final stretch. After cresting a small rise, the finish line was in sight – about 4 blocks away. I kept jogging as fast as I could, having to take the occasional walk break. Finally, I reached the final intersection and shouted my race number to a volunteer. A minute later I stepped on the red carpet and heard my name announced as I crossed the finish line.

    My final time: 28 hours 57 minutes 35 seconds. By far this was my slowest 100 miler – but I was so happy and proud. To me, that was one hard race. Between the cold, the elevation, the wind, and the never-ending fear of the cut-offs I felt as if I had overcome the most challenges to reach the finish line. It was my 3rd buckle this year (Keys 100 and Badwater included). It has already been added to my shadow box buckle display.

    A few valuable things I learned. 1) I never once was nauseous – I had switched my electrolyte pills over to S!Caps and they worked wonderfully. I think my hydration and electrolyte balance was the best of any race I have run. 2) Injinji socks coupled with hydropel on the feet protected me 100% from blisters. Not even a single hot spot. 3) This was the first race in which I used a pack. It worked, but because it strapped across my chest, every time I needed something or needed to change tops, it took a bit of time and effort – so next time will be a below the back/lumbar bag that I can just spin around.

    Back at the hostel, I took a quick shower. Elwyn and I noticed that our hands had really puffed up probably from altitude edema. Soon, all roommates were back and taking a quick nap before the awards. We each were still coughing constantly making our hostel dorm room sound like a typhoid ward.

    Then it was off to the awards. Co-race directors Ken and Merilee put on a great show handing out buckles, awards and bottles of Colorado whiskey. Despite the conditions, some people posted incredible times with the top 3 finishers breaking 19 hours. The first place male 50-59 years broke the top 10 overall with a sub 22 hour time!

    Bill got a standing ovation when it was announced that he had finished his 25th straight Leadville 100!

    As we helped pack up the room from the awards, I met a young man distributing samples of beer from a New Mexico brewery. He had run the first 50 miles with his brother but was forced to drop. We chatted some more and I realized that he was Matt’s brother. Matt ended up dropping at mile 87. Personally, I was amazed that he pushed through so long with a painful ankle never ever even run a marathon before. I know he will be back.

    This is certainly one heck of a race – one which every ultrarunner needs to experience.

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    St0dghill FIRST-TIMER '00

    A worthwhile challenge and accomplishment. One of my running highlights. Come prepared and enjoy the day, and in my case, the night. I don't have a comment worth the 150 … MORE

    A worthwhile challenge and accomplishment. One of my running highlights. Come prepared and enjoy the day, and in my case, the night. I don’t have a comment worth the 150 characters this answer requires.


    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Mar 31, 2018 at 5:57pm

    Congrats on one of the most impressive accomplishments in running, Mark! I can only imagine the euphoria/relief of finishing a race like Leadville. Would love to hear more about your… MORE

    Congrats on one of the most impressive accomplishments in running, Mark! I can only imagine the euphoria/relief of finishing a race like Leadville. Would love to hear more about your other racing exploits, since running all the Canadian provinces (as well as the 50 states) is on my list as well. All the best, and thanks for sharing here on RaceRaves! LESS

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