Leadville Race Report

by | Sep 28, 2017

At Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle, we are in the heart of ultra-running country. I run with a weekly group that regularly has competitive racers present. One runner, who happens to lead the group, came out to Colorado just to train to become a professional ultra-runner. In his training, he suffered a toe injury, when he kicked a big root running across the trail. This can often lead to fracture, however, when we performed x-rays, he got lucky. He lost the nail, but his toe was not broken. Up here, I rarely keep people off of their feet because we realize how important exercise is to our patients. My friend was no different. My advice was to decrease his actual running for a couple weeks while increasing his cross-training activities. This would keep his cardio up, keep him strong, and allow any small fractures or contusion to heal.

From the first day I met him, it was clear that his goal was to train for and run the mother of all ultra races, the Leadville 100. The Leadville 100 is one of the oldest long-distance trail races in the country. There are several documentaries about various runners, shoes named after the race, and hundreds of racers every year who make the pilgrimage to Leadville. Because of its popularity, it is also hard to get into. Thousands of people put their name in a hat to enter, but only a few hundred can get in this way. My friend wasn’t lucky enough to draw into the race but there are some other qualifiers. Like the Boston Marathon, there are several other races that can be used to get in; he tried to win the Silver Rush 50 miler but came up just short. Leadville 100 wasn’t going to happen for him this year.

The Leadville course is difficult. Many seasoned runners fail every year. Running four marathons, back to back, covering several thousand vertical feet at an average of over 10,000 feet above sea level is no small task. This year, under 40% of the around 700 athletes finished the Leadville 100, speaking to just how difficult it can be. These runners can bow out for any number of reasons, including foot and ankle injuries, which we can take care of here at Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle.