• Leadville Trail 100 Preview 2010

    Yeah, its just about that time, and the fine folks at RunColo have asked me to dig through a mountain of names to come up with a few that might have a shot at either taking home the ore cart or going top 10.

    Despite the fantastically long list of names, the competition - it has to be said - looks to be a little on the thin side, but a couple of names that aren't on the published start list should make things interesting - presuming of course they end up toeing the line. And regardless of what happens at the pointy end of the proceedings, it is absolutely superb, in my humble opinion, that such a large field is assembling to run 100 miles at 10,000+ above sea level. It would appear that the sport of ultrarunning is alive, well and thriving.

    This will be the last year that the Choublers take charge of the proceedings in Americas highest incorporated city, and quite honestly I am excited to see what some new energy for the race will bring next year. Leadville has as much name recognition - if not more - than any of the other storied races around the country, yet has consistently failed to attract the depth of field that a race such as Western States does each and every year. I could come up with more than a few reasons why this might be, but that would be a discussion for a different day. Suffice to say, the corporate offices at Life Time Fitness have a massive opportunity to take the Leadville name and turn it into the premier 100-mile footrace in the country.

    What would it take? A cash purse would be a start; some tweaks to the course would be huge; a few more aid stations would be a godsend; incentives for competitive runners would be fantastic; and some content on the website in addition to a state-of-the art webcast would be the icing on the cake. Just some thoughts at this stage, and definitely something to discuss and digest in a future post, but for now, a little prognosticating.

    So in the mens field, we have four former winners (maybe more, but no past results on the Leadville website sigh to check from). Three of those former winners I would say have a shot at going top 10, and two have a shot at the title.

    Former Winners

    Tony Krupicka, Boulder If he runs, as I'm sure he will, then Tony is the red-hot favorite. Last year he had some genuine competition in the form of Timmy Parr; this year I really dont see any competition but the clock. 15:42:59 ......... it's a big ask, but doable for sure.

    Duncan Callahan, Gunnison Duncan won two years ago with a low-18 run and then finished third last year with a mid-18 run. Im sure hes looking to at least run in the 17s this year, and I think hell need to if he wants podium again.

    Paul Dewitt, Palmer Lake Paul has won Leadville twice (I think), but his days of competing seriously in ultras are seemingly over. But you never know.

    Kirk Apt, Fruita He wont win, he wont finish top 10, but this legend of Colorado 100-mile running will get yet another finish under his belt to add to yet another finish at Hardrock a few weeks ago.


    Hal Koerner - I have it on good authority that Hal will be toeing the line on Saturday, and while the addition of his name adds a little spice to the proceedings, I don't think he's going to be challenging Tony for the Ore Cart. He's finished second twice, with a best of 18:30, so it looks like a hattrick of bridesmaid finishes could be in the cards, but he'll have to go faster than 18:30.

    Zeke Tiernan, Carbondale Finished third in 08 in 18:30, but doesnt run a whole bunch of ultras. If in shape, Zeke has to be considered a contender for top three.

    Jeff Beuche, Boulder Fifth last year, third in 06 and some other solid ultra finishes to his name, but rarely that fast.

    Andy Jones-Wilkins, Ketchum, ID What to say about Andy other than he will finish top 10. If there is one guy in the sport who knows how to get it done, its Andy. Hes coming off a strong ninth-place run at States and a win at Vermont, so Im backing him to go top five. We need to find Andy a ticket to Wasatch so he can take a crack at Joe Kulaks Grand Slam record, right Andy? Joe ran 20:03 at Leadville in his record-setting year (03), and according to Senor Jaime, Andy is 23 minutes off Kulaks cumulative time after two races (Western States and Vermont). A mid-19 run for Andy, and it's off to the races at Wasatch.

    Harry Harcrow, Larkspur - Harry had a nightmare run last year, and I was there to witness the carnage from Fish Hatchery home. However, hes finished as high as second and top 10 three times. That said, hes never run faster than 19:30, so he probably wont go top 10 this year, especially on current form, but I hope he proves me wrong.

    Marty Wacker, Grand Junction - Marty has been having a pretty good year after a solid 14th place run at Leadville last year, so he could turn a few heads and pull out a top-10 run.

    Jason Koop, Colorado Springs - Dont know much about Jason other than he finished 8th last year, a fact that quite clearly sets him up as a top-10 contender this year. He struggled at States this year and finished 51st.

    Corey Hanson, Bellvue - Corey went the Leadman route last year, suffering through some nasty achilles issues. Hes in much better running shape this year, and hes another guy who could turn a few heads if he runs wisely.

    Other Contenders

    Bob Sweeney, Louisville Bob is a road ultra guy and a fast one at that. Hes represented the US on the roads at the 100k distance multiple times. If hes going to excel at a trail 100, then surely this course is the one. Definitely a top-three contender.

    Rod Bien, Bend, OR Rod has been running ultras for a long time. Word is that he didnt have the run he wanted at Western States after a very solid third at Miwok. Im imagining hell have the bit between his teeth. Top five.

    Dylan Bowman, Aspen Hes had a couple of good runs at local races this year, but remains a novice at the 100-mile distance. Could knock one out of the park, could DNF.

    Tim Waggoner, Golden I dont know where to start with Tim, so I wont. I just hope he has the race that many think he's capable of.

    Neal Gorman, Washington DC Second at Vermont, strong at Western States, and on his way to Grand Slamdom. Got to think hes in the running for a top-10 finish.

    Pawel Oboz, Grand Junction Speedster who took down Justin Mocks Fruita 25-mile record this spring, but then DNF'd early at the Mt Evans Ascent with an injury. Not sure if hes ever attempted a 100, but I am sure that if hes trained for it he has as good a shot as anyone of going top 10. Hes a sub-1:10 half guy and sub 2:30 marathoner.

    Jack Pilla, Charlotte, VT At the tender age of 52, Pilla appears to be running as strong as ever. He was third at the Burning River USATF 100 just last month in 16:22 and has won Vermont in recent years. Could easily finish top five.

    Jayson Swigart, Boulder - Road speedster, low 2:30 marathoner, dropped at Winfield last year, but Justin tells me that he's determined to get back to town this year.

    Ryan Kircher, Denver - 14th at this year's Lake City 50, 2nd at the 2010 Jemez 50K.

    Thomas Reiss, San Luis, Obispo, CA - Don't know much about him, but he was 9th at the 2008 Miwok 100K. Only 31st this year though. Won the 2008 Tahoe Rim Trail 50M in a then CR of 7:52.


    Pete Stevenson, Ft. Collins Pete is a good friend and long-time training partner. He had a fantastic run at Western States (18:58), a horrible run at Vermont, so he appears to be set-up nicely for a strong run at Leavdille (followed by a horrible run at Wasatch). Hes capable of a sub-20, and therefore top 10. Im pulling for him.

    Marco Peinado, Leadville A Leadville local and all-around nice guy. Marco has good days and bad days. Hopefully hell have a good one on his home turf.

    Jason Ostrom, Ft. Collins Another training partner, Jason is returning to ultras after a pretty long lay-off. Hes got something of a history with DNFing, so says that if has a solid run at Leadville, he can retire in peace. Or something like that.

    Brooks Williams, Colorado Springs Another friend from the local ultra circuit. He ran 23 and change last year, but reckons he can shave hours from that.

    PittBrownie, Colorado Springs/Nearest Bar If he can lay off the PBRs until the Blvd, he may beat Fuller.

    Brandon Fuller, Longmont Laser focused. Hes a bitter rival of Jon Teisher (aka PittBrownie) and these guys have been talking Leadville smack for what seems like an eternity. Something will have to give, and if its not Brandons guts, he may just have a chance.

    Kraig Koski, Longmont - Holds the FKT for Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route (1:49).

    Matt Mahoney, Melbourne, Florida - Wait, isn't he on the TransRockies start list too? Hardcore.


    I hate to give the women short shrift, but, well, I just dont recognize too many names. Thats not to say we dont have an interesting race at the pointy end.

    Lynette Clemons, Leadville Came out of nowhere to win last year. Got to think that if shes fit, shell be looking to repeat. That said, her 20:58 was a little on the pedestrian side, so may have to go a little faster this year.

    Jamie Donaldson, Littleton Appears to prefer running in circles and in extreme heat, but still managed to fend off Darcy Africa for second last year.

    Elizabeth Howard, San Antonio, TX If she can handle the altitude, Elizabeth is my pick for the win. She won Rocky Raccoon (second overall) this year, beating Jamie D by over an hour in an electrifying 15:45. Would be great to see a sub-20 womens finish (only two have done it) - maybe even something with an hour of the legendary Ann Trason (18:02).

    Samantha Sigle, Boulder Won Cascade Crest 100 last year, and has some other good ultra finishes to her name. Definitely in contention for a top-three berth.

    Elinor Fish, Basalt Trailrunner editor and solid trail racer. Top five.

    Megan Morrissey, Eagle In the same mold as Elinor. Should run well. Top five.

    Kelly Cronin, Yosemite, CA Fifth last year.

    Monica Scholz, Jerseyville, CANADA Monica appears to be on a mad 100-mile quest this year. She has already finished 13 100-milers in the last eight months, so will undoubtedly finish at Leadville, and probably in the top five.

    Catharine Speights, Fort Collins, CO This one is more of a shout-out than anything else, and Cat insists that shes in it just to finish, but I say that shes in far better (faster) shape than she claims. Pulling for a top 10 for Cat solid all day/night.

    What say you?
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. teamgangels's Avatar
      teamgangels -
      Eric Truhe is another local who has the potential to go top 10 if he busts out a good race. Ran well at Lake City and Silver Rush and was low 21 last year.

      Leila Degrave could also go top 10. Had a good run at North Fork 50.
    1. georgezack's Avatar
      georgezack -
      Hal eh? Good stuff.
    1. ESCO's Avatar
      ESCO -
      Nick, what are the odd makers calling for Brownie Vs. Fuller?

      I say if Fuller can take him in a marathon, Brownie has got no shot!
    1. Nick Clark's Avatar
      Nick Clark -
      Simon, the bookies like to go on form, so last I checked Brownie was the odds on 4-7 favorite in the head to head; Fuller at 6-4.
    1. shadmika's Avatar
      shadmika -
      Last I heard AJW is not running this year, which is a bummer. I was looking forward to talking with him.
    1. georgezack's Avatar
      georgezack -
      Kraig has said he is out, as I believe he is coming off a bout with Lyme disease.
    1. Ryan Kircher's Avatar
      Ryan Kircher -
      Rumor has it that the guy who won the 10K past this weekend (by over 4 minutes), Mike Arnstein is running. He took 2nd at JFK50 last year, so he must be pretty fast. He's not on the entry list. Weird he'd travel to Leadville for just a 10K though.
    1. jmock's Avatar
      jmock -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Kircher View Post
      Rumor has it that the guy who won the 10K past this weekend (by over 4 minutes), Mike Arnstein is running. He took 2nd at JFK50 last year, so he must be pretty fast. He's not on the entry list. Weird he'd travel to Leadville for just a 10K though.
      Arnstein was 2nd at JFK 50 this year in a super fast time. I thought he ran WS100 this year too, but don't see him in the results.
    1. Nick Clark's Avatar
      Nick Clark -
      Ryan, JM - yeah, Arnstein was at Western States, and I think a few people had him pegged as among the favorites, but he ended up DNF'ing and then piggybacking the WS training to run fifth at Vermont. Obviously with his JFK run, he has some speed but it would seem he has trouble translating that to the 100-mile distance; a common affliction among faster marathoners.

      I heard on the grapevine that there were a total of 900 signed up to run, which if true, means there are at least 100 runners not on the published start list. As I hinted at in the post, a website with (up-to-date) info would go a long way to improving the race.

      So anyway with all that traffic I'd be looking to get ahead of the hordes in the early going. Gonna be some major traffic jams around Turquoise Lake, and the Winfield Road is going to be even worse than usual, with close to double the crew traffic coming through. That section of the course definitely needs to be re-thought for next year, in my opinion.
    1. Patrick Garcia's Avatar
      Patrick Garcia -
      I think it'll be an interesting year for the carnage in the top-10, and I expect there to be some epic stuff from Treeline in. Good to see some love for Leila, I'm pacing her in, and though she's set on a finish, she's a strong finisher, so don't be surprised when she drops me on the boulevard... She made the boys work at the night run a few weeks back too.
    1. pittbrownie's Avatar
      pittbrownie -
      I think DeWitt might be running the whole thing with his father.

      Watch out for Keith Grimes. He's tapered well, taking the last six months off from any physical activity.

      Winfield will be a mess with runners and crew. Sure would be a shame if Fuller were accidentally pushed into one of the cars. I'd watch my back if I were him...
    1. jmock's Avatar
      jmock -
      Quote Originally Posted by pittbrownie View Post
      I think DeWitt might be running the whole thing with his father.

      Watch out for Keith Grimes. He's tapered well, taking the last six months off from any physical activity.

      Winfield will be a mess with runners and crew. Sure would be a shame if Fuller were accidentally pushed into one of the cars. I'd watch my back if I were him...
      Funny, thinking of Winfield the one thing that I thought of was Fuller's car. His sister will get a lot of middle fingers trying to drive that to Winfield!
    1. Nick Clark's Avatar
      Nick Clark -
      They need to scrap Winfield as a crew access point. Keep the aid station, but no vehicles. Do the pacer pick-up thing at Twin Lakes inbound or outbound. The other option is to send runners the other way down the Winfield road and figure out an alternate area for aid, making crew and pacers park on the side of the road B4 the aid station, and then have them walk in. I am sure there are a bunch of other options, like adding mileage elsewhere and just making the Hope TH the aid/turn, but the worst of all the options is the current set up, in my opinion.
    1. teamgangels's Avatar
      teamgangels -
      Winfield used to be a runner only access point and the crew would have to park along the road to Winfield and crew the runner as they returned on the inbound climb up Hopes. I think as the race got bigger the number of cars along the road became unmanageable and the people who actually live along the road had issue. I can't imagine being a middle of the packer this year choking down the dust of 100s of cars along the road to Winfield. I agree with the idea of making the turn around the Hopes trailhead and extending the trail elsewhere to make up the few miles. Alternatively, having some sort of bus bring only pacers to Winfield would also alleviate much of the problem. With the stocked aid station and drop bags there is not too much you would need that your pacer could not get for you. It will be interesting to see what Lifetime does in the next few years.
    1. Nick Clark's Avatar
      Nick Clark -
      Todd - good point on the bus option. They did the bussing thing for a couple of aid stations at Western States and it seemed to work out okay.
    1. Derrick's Avatar
      Derrick -
      Jack Pilla doesn't blog much, but interesting about his Leadville thoughts...

      Jack's Ultrarunning Blog and more!: Next Up - Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by jmock View Post
      Arnstein was 2nd at JFK 50 this year in a super fast time. I thought he ran WS100 this year too, but don't see him in the results.
      Michael also ran the VT 100 this year and did well so look for him to be in the top 10 if he can handle the altitude.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      swigart all the way. the newcomer is going to shock a lot of people!
    1. Jason Taylor's Avatar
      Jason Taylor -
      Great post Nick. Good luck to all that are racing this weekend.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      swigart all the way. the newcomer is going to shock a lot of people!
      Just curious if this 'newcomer' is going to break the course record. How else would he 'shock a lot of people'? A strong time and finish from a 'newcomer' is always great and often the case at any given ultra but it is amusing to think that he will 'shock' people. That is, again, unless he breaks the CR.
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