I wanted to take a couple minutes and first explore this new blog and check out how it can help Thumbs Up Runners (TUR) but also how I can share ideas and stories about races I ran. In this case we are going to talk about the Leadville Marathon. For my Blog format I am going to break it down into five parts with an overall ranking. these parts are 1) Race Organization and Registration 2) Race Course 3) Race Course Support 4) Expo and associated events and finally the one people look at the most 5) Race Bling, Swag, and awards. So this should set the tone for the numerous races I will be running and ran in the past. But using these 5 categories we will assign each category a 1-5 ranking and then when you combine them you can see the overall score. So on with it.
1) Leadville is run by Lifetime Fitness and they really have a good product they put together that is well supported by a great staff and a easy to use website. this makes signing up for the events quite easy. You can also sign up for race updates and you will get notices to sign up for races if you forget. This is my fourth Lifetime/Leadville Race Series event I have run and the bottom line is when you participate in the race you feel part of the family. They go to extra ordinary lengths to bring you in and make you feel ten foot tall and bullet proof. there is no animosity towards other races just a good ole family feeling. 5 of 5 Thumbs Up.
2) The Leadville Marathon course was a challenging course with two significant climbs. one you knew about (Mosquito Pass) and the other you kind of forgot about until late around mile 19-20 then you remembered that nasty, rocky, trail straight up for over a mile. I actually enjoyed the climb up Mosquito because of the amazing views and the traffic kept you focused on moving. This climb was in the woods with heat searing you and just wasn’t a fun thirty minutes or so!! Now the overall course was a mix of trails 3-4 people wide to a couple areas where you were a little more narrow. Most of the trails were multi-purpose trails and not your smooth single track or technical trails. So after about 3 hours of running on rocks and little pebbles the bottoms of my feet weren’t amused. That being said the views made up for the trails and the view on top of Mosquito Pass was AMAZING!! 4 of 5 Thumbs Up.
3) Race Course Support for Leadville Race Series events are hands down one of the best experiences you will see in any trail race. You know that each time you hit an aid station you are going to have people rush you and take your bottles and fill them up for you. They have plenty of items for food and hydration but they also have your sun block, vaseline, and bio-freeze material at every station. Leadville has also stepped up their recycling program and you really have one or two folks at each aid station digging thru trash and sorting it. Basically leaving the area better than when we started. Which is not easy for 300 plus runners! The markings were spot on and the start and finish personnel were courteous and helped you get where you needed to. 4 of 5 Thumbs Up.
4) The only real issues with some of these smaller events, if you consider it an issue, is you don’t get the bazillion vendors hocking their wares. me I personally like the small feel of a race and enjoy the relative calm before and after a race without having to rush from one vendor to the next. You know what you did get a this race? You got two free beers and I checked into that Vendor and had myself a nice Cider to cool down with. I didn’t really explore any of the other vendors on site and unless it is like a Chicago or Los Angeles Marathon where I am sole going thru the expo I prefer to keep my experiences to zilch. 3 of 5 Thumbs Up.
5) The thing that Leadville also does right is they give away good and practical gifts. First you are going to kick a nice kick ass heavy medal. Then you are going to get something cool too. This year we got some nice camp style coffee mugs, see below. For the 100 you get a nice belt buckle and for the 10K you got a small ceramic travel mug. Leadville knows how to take care of their runners but also get their brand on something you will use daily! Now the shirts this year were a light blue and really took me down a notch. I wasn’t a big fan of the design but hey its a technical shirt. Just not one I am going to wear on training runs much. 3.5 of 5 Thumbs Up.
So overall thanks for bearing with me on my first blog. Hopefully we will take this over to our website (www.thumbsuprunners.com) where we can expand on our race stories and you to can rank and rate your races. if you aren’t following us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram check us out and look up ThumbsUpRunners. Thanks and remember ‘Live free Run Free.’