"A glimpse of heaven, a taste of hell." The race's motto says it all. This is the race that made me admit that I needed to get my heel looked at by a doctor. Over the course of a few years I'd gone from a sub-24 to a 30 plus hour 100 mile runner. I got a buckle that day, but only just.
"The race across the sky." I live at sea level so the altitude was a huge factor in this race. The highest point is 12,600 feet. The average elevation is 10,200. All that climbing may have been tough, but the views were amazing. This is a race, IMO, where all the usual pacing advice is wrong. You have to haul ass for the first 50 miles & then hang on until the finish.
The actual town of Leadville is really cool, with an interesting history. The surrounding mountains are fantastic. This is definitely a destination race.
"The world's oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race." This was one of the toughest runs that I've ever done. The temperature was over 100 degrees for most of the day. It was even warm at night. By the end of the run my stomach and feet were a mess. I did come away with a shiny new belt buckle & an even greater respect for Gordy Ainsleigh.
I intend to run this race again. I want to finish stronger, not necessarily faster (that would be nice), but more "under my own steam". I'd also like 50% less blisters and 100% less vomiting.
The course was a 2-mile loop on an asphalt path. Running on a looping course for 100 miles is fairly difficult mental challenge. This course includes a small hill, making it tougher than I expected. Still, I did managed to come in fourth overall (third men's) with a time that was under 24 hours.
I completed every Headlands Hundred from 2007 to 2011. Every iteration of this course has been surprisingly challenging. My best best finish was 22:59 and fifth overall.