At 4:00am on August 22, three Rogues – coach Cindy Henges, Ken Fries and Jason Lippman – lined up in Leadville, Colorado, ready to embark on a 100 mile trail race through the Rockies. This wasn’t any old 100 miler; this was 100 miles of mountain trail that never ventured below 9,200ft and soared up to 12,6000ft. at Hope Pass.
The race was 50 miles out, 50 miles back with 11 essential aid stations along the way: mile 0, mile 13.5, mile 23.5, mile 30.5, mile 39.5, mile 50, mile 60.5, mile 69.5, mile 76.5, mile 86.5, mile 100. The turnaround at Hope Pass is arguably the hardest section of any ultra marathon in America, climbing 3,100 ft then descending 2,100ft –and that’s just on the way out. On the way back the runners ascend those 2,100ft. at a 21% grade – a portion of the race where many, many athletes call it quits. Jason and Ken? They ran negative splits, 4:30 on the way out and 3:30 on the way back!
The runners were allowed to have pacers after the 50 mile mark, those incredible family members and friends who are willing to stay out in the woods all night, pulling their runner through 20+ miles by means of company and unfailing moral support.
More than a full day later, all three crossed the coveted finish line: Jason in 27 hours, four minutes, Ken in 29:05 and Cindy in 29:22.
Read about their experience, moment by moment, on Ken’s blog. Feeling inspired enough to think that maybe, just maybe, you’ll try this some day? Check out the official website and course description here.
Congratulations to all three of you!