A GREAT Race and Adventure (about: 2003)|
Darren Crozier from Philadelphia, PA (9/3/03)
Only 1 star for fans? - How many fans can there be up at 12,000 feet!!!... and who needs them with the view available!
I've done the road race thing from 5K to half marathon, I've done the trail race thing from cross-country 5K to 20K, but the challenge, beauty, and adventure of running up, across and down Breckenridge's 'Ten Mile Crest' mountains was an unbelievable experience! There are three races: a 5-miler, a 12.7-miler and a 24.5-miler. I ran the middle distance of 12.7, so all of this feedback is based on that race - though the first half of the marathon runs the same course.
You start in the town of Breckenridge and head out and up following wooded trails, Jeep 4x4 paths, and fire roads to rest station #1. From rest station #1 you really start to climb - I mean walking steep - not just a few people walking, I mean everyone! You are basically walk-racing. People are passing you... you are passing others. Don't forget to look around! - 'Hey, watch out for the snow blocking the trail.' I didn't bring a camera because I thought that was too 'touristee', but I wish I had - it was unbelievable. Once you reach the summit you run across the top of the mountain for approx. 2 miles to rest station #2. Here the marathon and 12.7-mile race split with the 12.7 race heading down the mountain while the marathon continues across the summit. After rest station #2 it's all downhill for the 12.7-mile race. You basically run down a switchback rocky road into Breckenridge. Big loose footing at the top, gradually becoming smoother the lower you get. Quad killer! From me - two hours up, one hour down..
Who should run this race? Let me tell you who I'm not - I'm NOT a 100-mile-a-week mountain adventurer who wanted to risk life and limb to get to the top of a mountain. I'm 37, with a 10K road PR of 45 mins, a 10-mile road PR of 1:15, I flew into CO two days before the race, and I wanted to get pizza and wings post-race! Was the altitude and course difficult? Yes! Did I have to stop a few times even when just walking near to summit? - Yes! Was it the best running event I've participated in? - Yes!
If you need marshals and volunteers at every turn, mile markers, spectators cheering you on at every hill, a structured road type of race, then this isn't for you.
If you read about crazy adventure races and running adventures and wish you could taste a little of that type of racing, then this is for you. A race with just enough support so you know that if you get in trouble, help can reach you, but a true mountain trail race with everything from crossing rivers on fallen trees (not a bridge) to running above the tree line and above snow in August at 12,000 ft.
The event is well run - the volunteers at the aid stations are great - plenty of supplies. In 2003, there was a trail running forum the day before which provided a great amount of information.(Not sure if that's a yearly thing). Trail is well marked - for my race I always had people in sight, not right with me, but in sight. Not sure if that's true for the marathon. Bottom line - you don't need backwoods navagation skills, you just need to pay attention!
I carried two water bottles, that I refilled at the aid stations. Temps started in the 50's in town, but on top of the mountain temps were closer to 30 (and windy). I carried my winter running hat and gloves with me and needed them on the mountain top. Half way back down I was able to take them back off.
The biggest endorsement I can give the race - I'll be back next year (maybe even for the marathon...).
Email me with any questions....