The annual 50 mile run, part of the ever growing Leadville race series, was on Sunday. Surging in popularity and now in its third year, more than 300 runners filled out the field, including Christy, who has now run the high altitude course every time. Falling a week after the Hardrock, where she crewed for me, I sat this one out and took the opportunity to return the favor.
Unlike last years string of passing rain and hailstorms, Sunday’s weather wasn’t cold and wet but was instead unseasonably hot and very dry, hitting 80 degrees in the afternoon. That doesn’t sound like much compared to the 90’s and 100’s reported around the country, but it’s definitely hot for Leadville, and on a course that hovers between 10,000 and 12,000 feet. Thankfully, aid stations are in good supply which meant that staying hydrated wasn’t too difficult, at least according to Christy, who also said it was only towards the very end that the high temperatures became an issue.
When she finished, the clock read 9:38, which put her at 5th woman and about 40th overall, which was an 11:34 minute per mile average pace, which she seemed pleased with. Despite being a little off her PR, it was still a great finish considering the course stats- 50 miles, all above 10,000 feet with 8000 feet of elevation gain, and in 80 degree heat. And in addition to Christy, there was a pretty solid showing from Aspen in general.
Representing town on the front end and battling for the overall lead through the race was Dylan Bowman, who was here for his second go. He was hoping to improve on his finish last year, which was an already respectable 2nd place overall, behind Duncan Callahan of Gunnison. Callahan was here again as well, and I watched the two of them open up a huge gap on the rest of the field barely ten miles into it, and thought that Dylan was looking like he could take it, but there was a long way to go.
I’m not certain how it all unfolded but in the end, they finished one-two for the second year in row, with Dylan reportedly being in the lead for much of the day. When it was over, he was a minute and a half behind, finishing in a time of 6:52, which puts his average pace at 8:15’s. That’s fast. It’s also a long time to be going neck-and-neck with someone for the win. Rather than dwell on it, I bet Dylan’s just looking ahead to the 100 miler here next month, where he and Duncan will line up together once more. We should all be on the lookout for these two there, they could do really well.
Elsewhere, Rocky Kroeger finished in 10:29, which he’s got to be happy with as it was his first time at this distance and only after running his first marathon last fall in Chicago. Richard Betts, who like Dylan was also using this as prep, and who is registered for both the LT100 bike and run next month, finished around 11 hours. Best of luck to Richard with those back-to-back events. And rounding out the Aspen squad of finishers were Kevin Dunkleberg, Steve Szoradi and Kathy Haber. Congrats to everyone.
Because my crew duties were rather minimal for a 10 hour race, I spent a lot of time riding my bike around the race route and shooting pics, so here’s a few from the day. It’s a real pretty course.
And with the Silver Rush and Hardrock behind us, we now have the rest of summer free for the other kinds of fun. No more races, at least for a while. Not that races aren’t enjoyable, there’s just a different kind of summer fun out there we’ve been missing lately, and we’re eager to get back to it. The kind you need a tent, a backpack and a rope for, and most importantly, no Gu. We’re ready.