What a weekend of racing ahead! Leadville 100, Waldo 100k and Pikes Peak Marathon. Three classic races that contain some ‘classic runners’. Timmy Olson and Hal Koerner are heading to Waldo and Kilian Jornet and Sage Canaday are going to be going head to head at Pikes Peak. But what about Leadville?
For me, Leadville is the ‘real’ one to watch this weekend (no disrespect to Waldo or Pikes) but we all know from results this year that Timmy, Hal, Kilian and Sage are in form; no doubt. Although these races will be great showdowns the one person that we all have great interest in is Tony Krupicka.
Tony returned to racing after an 18 month lay off due to injury at Speedgoat 50k, didn’t have a great race (his words) and still placed up at the front of the race, However, Leadville and 100 miles will hopefully re establish him and confirm that he is back on the scene.
In the words of John Colley, Race Director:
2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the first Leadville Trail 100 “Race Across the Sky.”
Things were a lot different back then. The course description was basically word of mouth, with only four or five major turns actually marked for racers. Search and Rescue consisted of a little plastic whistle included in the racer packets. You were truly on your own. Running through the pack of 50 to 100 racers seemed like a lot of work. Through the years, there have been a lot of changes. Nutrition has evolved, training has become more scientific and our athletes are evolving. Cell phones and Internet give people a sense of security in the backcountry. Aid stations are now stocked with everything you need to complete your race. Rather than spending lonely miles secluded in your own thoughts, you will now be cheered on by hundreds of excited fans spread over the entire race. Some of the most important elements of this race have not changed, however. The course is still offering the same monumental challenge it always has, and Ken and Merilee still welcome you home at the finish line. As the innovators of this wonderful event, Ken and Merilee have helped thousands of athletes commit to and achieve a common goal. As in the past, they continue to be here for each and every one of you. Your Leadville experience is their highest priority.
The will of the athletes has transformed Leadville into what we see today. Year after year we welcome a group of the most dedicated racers to gather on 6th Street and put everything on the line. There is no stopping their positive attitudes and desire for success. This race has the power to change lives and mold personalities. I have experienced this myself as a past Leadville competitor. I can’t imagine Leadville without this race, or this race without Leadville. It is great to see our past champions continue to be involved in our races while the new crop of young athletes are eager to write their names in the record books.
As the start grows near, there is an excitement in the thin air. The llama crews are hauling supplies up to the Hope Pass aid station. Your personal journey is approaching, and your buckles are here waiting for you.
The mens race has Tony Krupicka at the top of the pre race favourites. Lets face it how can you not tip Tony for a top slot… he won the race back to back in 2006 and 2007 but the big question on everyones mind is will he go for Matt Carpenter’s record?
Troy Howard has performed well at Hardrock 100 and certainly Leadville will hold no fear for him. He has run just over 26 hours at Hardrock with the 5th fastest time. He will be up at the front for sure.
Nick Clark from the UK can never be ruled out of the 100 mile distance. He is tenacious and tough. For me his two third places two weeks apart in 2011 at Western States and then Hardrock show what an athlete he is. At Western States this year he went through a bad patch and seemed to go off pace but he rallied and then moved up the field to podium once again for third. Something that looked unlikely earlier.
Salomon athtlete, Thomas Lorblanchet will be representing Europe and is having a great season so far.He was fith at Speedgoat, raced will at Transvulcania La Palma and has also placed highly in Salomon 4 Trails.
Mike Aish I guess is somewhat of an unknown . Mike is from New Zealand and is a fast marathon runner and comes to Leadville as a 2 x Olympian over the 5000 and 10000m distance. To learn the ropes of ultra endurance, he’s befriended Frank Bozanich, a 44 time ultra-marathon winner. To improve on his hiking skills, Mike gave his ear to Ben Clark, who has spent the past 10 years pioneering routes up the tallest mountains in the Himalayas. In July, Mike finished first overall in the Leadville Silver Rush 50, a grinding warm-up to the main event so although the 100 distance will be new to the New Zealander, one can’t help think he may surprise us!
At Leadville we also have a race within a race with Grand Slam runners, Australian Mike Le Roux and Paul Terranova going head to head for honours. Mike currently leads but these guys have been churning out some quick 100’s and with the tough Wasatch 100 to follow this could be anyones race.
Darcy Africa, Liza Howard and Aliza Lapierre have to be the three names that jump of the page for the Ladies race. Lynette Clemens the defending Leadville champion who ran 19:50:06 in 2011 would be the ‘hot tip’ for the race win but rumours are abound that the local lady will not be on the start.
Darcy has won Leadville in 2006 and 2009 which confirms her ability on the tough terrain but Liza won the race in 2010 and is fast over the 100 mile distance. If Lynette Clemens doesn’t turn up I would place my money on Liza.
Aliza Lapierre will be up at the front and should Darcy or Liza have a bad day or should Aliza have a great day, she may well top the podium. In real terms I see her placing 3rd.
Fresh from a second place behind Anna Frost (Frosty) at Speedgoat 50k is Salomon Athlete, Kerrie Bruxvoort. She is un-tested over the distance but may be one to watch!
FACTS about Leadville
But how much do you really know about Leadville? Here are some fast facts. We can’t give you a buckle for knowing this stuff, but it will take your mind off those hundred miles.
- Leadville has multiple nicknames, including Cloud City, Magic City and Two- Mile-High City.
- Leadville is North America’s highest incorporated city.
- Even though Leadville was founded during the Silver Boom, there were too many other cities around that same time with “silver” in their names, so founders decided to name it after the ore.
- Leadville was founded in 1877 by mine owners Horace Tabor and August Meyer.
- Leadville’s population at the height of the mining boom is said to have been close to 30,000. Leadville’s population today is 2,700.
- Leadville’s past was filled with legends, eccentrics, entrepreneurs, dreamers, and other characters famously euphemized as “colorful,” including Horace and Baby Doe Tabor, Molly Brown, Texas Jack, Frank and Jesse James, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
- Leadville is one square mile and its 70 square blocks of Victorian architecture have been designated a National Historic Landmark District.
- Leadville had the highest unemployment in the nation when Ken Chlouber, determined to bring Leadville back from the brink, organized the inaugural Leadville Trail 100 Run in 1983. The mountain bike race was added 11 years later.
- The Climax Molybdenum mine, shuttered in the 1980s, is set to officially reopen this summer and employ 300 people.A live race feed will be available from iRunFar