Lately I've been thinking a lot about the races in Colorado and most of them are in very scenic places in the mountains. Colorado Springs has some great races to showcase it's trails and the Gnar runners of Fort Collins have some rockin' events, but besides the Bear Chase Race, there aren't really any other ultra-marathons in the greater Denver area. The Bear Chase race, is a great event which is managed very well. Bear Creek Lake park is a great venue for newer trail runners because it is flat and not technical. The park is pretty and the course for each race does a number of loops around the park. I'm not downplaying the Bear chase Race at all, but there are a lot of nearby trails in the area that offer more climbing, scenery, and technicality.
If you were to flip open any running magazine you might find write-ups of running towns that are great to visit. Places like Boulder, Sedona, Missoula, San Fran and its outliers, etc, but you never see Denver on the list. I'm not quite sure why there aren't more races, write-ups, and runners flocking to the area because my heart is filled with contentedness over the trails here. There are numerous county and city parks with trails that can be endlessly connected.
I originally assumed that the reason for the lack of races was because the parks would not allow races. I know that the parks in the Chataqua area of Boulder, for example, were off-limits and I assumed maybe the same was true in Denver. But I've seen a few more races popping up here and there in some of my favorite parks and I've dug around through some city rec sites to find great local races that just aren't marketed that well to the greater community. Can't blame them;
This brings me to my main thought. For a long time now, I've been wanting to start a race. Now that I am finally in a community that I love, I want to highlight all of the reasons that I love it. And those reasons largely consist of trails that I would love to showcase. No need to wake up at 3 am to drive to the mountains for a race, when you could hit up a great ultra in your backyard and train on the course as well. I can think of multiple courses that would involve some serious elevation gain with the perk of being at a lower starting elevation. Also, I've found that there is something surreal about starting in the plains and getting up to a little mountain town entirely through human powered transportation. If World War Z became a reality, I know a direct route from my house, up trails, and into the mountains where I could live happily while the world figures itself out.
Obviously I have a lot of work to do to make this a reality. I already have some friends that want to be involved, but if you are reading this and want to be involved, then let me know. Even if I don't really know who you are. I already have a name for the event, but I'm not going to share it yet because I don't want any other aspiring race directors out there to steal it;) Plus I don't want to reveal it until I have a kick-ass logo to go along with it.
I don't have a lot of details yet, but I was thinking it would be a good late season race. Snow can linger in the foothills until May, then June through September is really hot, and snow usually doesn't accumulate much at all before November at the earliest... not until late January this past year. Realistically it would be cool to have the race together for October 2014, but maybe I'm just dreaming. I'm hoping that by putting this on my blog I will have people to keep me accountable to actually make this happen.
I have a lot of thoughts on the course, but I don't want to give any details until I talk to different parks and see if they would even allow it. If you talk to me, I would be happy to tell you different options and even take you running on them!!
Yes, I started in the plains and got here by foot.