On Sunday, July 19, runners can accept the challenge offered by the La Sportiva HalfMarathon which is a bit longer than the traditional 13.1 mile distance. At 14.5 miles this is the longest race in the La Sportiva Vail Mountain Trail Running series – in fact almost twice as long as the other events in the series.
“This race is one you plan in your season, not one to run on a whim,” says VRD Sports Director Joel Rabinowitz. “Although the average grade is a mere seven percent, the route boasts nearly 4,020 feet of climbing with a high point on the course at 11,653 feet. At miles 3 and 8.7, there will be cut-off times, just like in past years. Runners must make the first aid station (at three miles) within one hour and the 8.7-mile aid station within three hours. These cutoff times will be strictly adhered to.
The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at Golden Peak Children’s Center. There will be five aid stations along the route at miles 3, 6, 8.7, 11, and 13 providing water and Gatorade Endurance Formula. The course will be monitored by Search and Rescue and Vail Mountain Ski Patrol who will be on site to insure the safety of the runners.
Nancy Hobbs, co-author of the Ultimate Guide to Trail Running and promotions coordinator for the event says, “For those ready to test their fitness, the HalfMarathon is positioned really well in the summer racing schedule. It’s a great training run for anyone planning to run Pikes Peak Ascent or Marathon or even the Leadville Trail 100. Runners get distance, significant elevation changes, and high altitude.”
Parking is free at the Vail Village parking structure and is a short walk from Golden Peak. For spectators who would like to see the finish, head to Lionshead and take the Eagle Bahn Gondola to the summit. Rides on the Gondola are free to spectators from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Every race finisher receives a commemorative T-shirt designed by Bernie Boettcher, an artist from Silt, Colorado who finished second at last year’s race. Prizes from La Sportiva will be presented to overall and age group winners and raffle prize drawings will be held at the race awards ceremony featuring products from area merchants and national companies.
Named best race series of 2005 and 2008 by Colorado Runner, the La Sportiva Vail Mountain Trail Running series celebrates its twelfth anniversary this year. In order to be scored as a series finisher, participants must complete at least five of the six events. Dan Weiland, 34, Vail, CO, and Anita Ortiz, 45, Eagle, CO, won the first race in the series, the La Sportiva Summer Solstice 10 km on June 20. Jason Delaney, 29, Golden, and Kelly Couch, 31, Vail, were victorious in race two, the La Sportiva HillClimb on July 5.
The shortest distance event in the series at 4.3 miles, the La Sportiva Berry Picker, will be run on August 2. The race starts at an elevation of 8,238 feet at Lionshead and ascends to 10,346 feet to finish at the top of Eagle’s Nest. The average grade is 12 percent on single track trails and double-wide gravel paths.
The fifth event, the La Sportiva 10k at 10,000 Feet will be held on August 16. Runners will take a ride up the Eagle Bahn Gondola for the start of the race at the summit of Vail Mountain. The entire race is above 9,000 feet of elevation with the high points above 10,000 feet.
The final race of the series is the La Sportiva Evergold 10k on September 13. The race starts behind Golden Peak Children’s Center located at the base of Vail Mountain, and traverses the mountain on some of the most beautiful trails at a time of year when the colors are sure to include golden, and bright yellows from the Aspen trees.
Register for one event, two events, or for the entire series. Individual race entry is $25 or $35 on race day. Register Online at www.active.com, or download an entry form at www.vailrec.com and fax or snail mail your entry to Vail Recreation District, or register onsite at the VRD offices.
Joining series title sponsor La Sportiva will be First Bank of Vail, Vail’s Mountain Haus, Tiga Advertising, SmartWool, Howard Head Sports Medicine Centers, Steadman Hawkins, Gatorade, Journey Films, KT Tape, Save Our Soles, KINeSYS Performance Sunscreen, KZYR, Plum TV, Aquatic Sports, Vail Daily, and Air Drives.
Top finishers at the 2008 HalfMarathon:
1. Matt Hill, 27, 1:53:18
2. Michael Selig, 30, 1:55:25
3. Scott Oberbreckling, 44, 1:58:58
1. Allison Krausen, 28, 2:11:38
2. Susan Nuzum, 41, 2:13:25
3. Lisa Isom, 36, 2:17:25