Strategy to Finish A 100 Mile Run

Following is an account of how to run a 100 mile racewritten by IBMer Dana Roueche ( have lifted this account from the Ultra Running Pagesand placed it here to give people an idea of what ittakes to complete such a big race.


I have spent some time thinking about the drop out rate at Leadville anddecided that maybe I can help increase the finisher percentage. Even ifit is only by one person, it will be worth my effort. I have completedLeadville 3 times so far and have run the course an additional 2 times intraining. Since it is an out and back, I have seen every inch of thetrail 10 times and know the course well.

I sincerely believe the low finisher rate does not need to be as low asit is. There are many reasons that contribute to the low rate but canbe grouped into a broader generalization. That is, Leadville offers atremendous opportunity to make many mistakes in strategy and approach.Because of the altitude and level of course difficulty, it is not veryforgiving. It does not take too many misjudgements to put you in aposition of not being able to recover in time to be able to complete thecourse.

I would like to offer a strategy to all of those who are running, or planto run Leadville in the future for the first time and want to finish.This is also for those who have tried before and failed to finish. Overhalf the starters have not completed Leadville before, so this applies toa lot of people in general and a lot of people on the lists. Let's seeif the members on the lists can have a higher finisher rate than 50%.

I plan on posting this strategy in ten segments over the next severalweeks/months. Each segment will be from aid station to aid station.If you miss a segment, I will save these on file and will be happy toe-mail them on request. Steve Siguaw, if you'd like to put these onthe Leadville Homepage, feel free to do so.

In theory, if you are a strong enough walker, you can walk the entirecourse and finish within 30 hrs or an average of 18 minutes/mile. Inpractice, that would be very difficult to do because you need down timeat the aid stations to rest, refuel and change equipment. By runningsome of the course, you can put time in the bank to spend at aid stationsand for some of the slower going on the passes. Based on the layout ofthe course, a reasonable mix of 40 miles of running and 60 miles ofwalking will allow you to finish comfortably and in fine form. A higherproportion of running will simply get you to the finish line faster onlyif you are capable of handling it. If not, you may risk not finishing.There is plenty of opportunity to decide if you can run more than 40miles without risking a DNF and I'll tell you where that is in thestrategy.

Part 1 - Start to May Queen

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
13.5 13.5 12.5 1.0 3:15:00 3:15:00 2:28:30 2:28:30

Before starting, an undertaking as big as this, it is critical toconvince yourself that you can do it. Sure you may have doubts, but inyour heart you need to believe you can do it! That one aspect is thebiggest factor in making the difference between finishing and not.

There are parts of the course to make time and parts to lay back and gowith slow and steady progress. This first section is one of thegentler stretches and offers opportunity to get ahead of the cutofftimes. As noted in my preface, the assumption will be 40 miles ofrunning and this already accounts for 12.5 of those 40 miles.

Because of the altitude, and many who are coming from much lowerelevations, it is critical to start slow in the first few miles towarm up and become aerobically efficient. Fortunately, the first 5miles are either gently downhill or flat. Great for a warm-up buteasy to make the MISTAKE of starting too fast. There will be a risein the pavement after the first 1/2 mile for a few hundred yards, thisshould be walked. To make sure you don't start out too fast, check yourwatch as soon as you hit the dirt road. This is roughly 1 mile, youshould be no faster than 10 minutes at this point, preferably slower.The next 2.5 miles are gradually downhill on a wide dirt road calledthe Boulevard. When you take a sharp right, look at your watch again,you should be no faster than 35 minutes. You'll then make your waytowards Turquoise Lake, when you turn right onto a trail for the firsttime under powerlines, there will be a very steep hill. Check yourwatch it should be 55 minutes. The point of the watch checking isto make sure you are not going to fast. This will get you used torunning 11 minute pace. Remember the pace and try to keep it until thefirst aid station. At 11 min pace, you will get there in 2:28:30.

While traveling on the trail around the lake to May Queen, it is asingle track trail and difficult to pass people. Don't try to pass onthis trail unless you find an easy place to do so. It is a big wasteof energy, you have a lot of opportunity to pass later. As you progress,the trail will roll with a series of small hills, don't hesitate to walkon the steeper hills. You should walk about a mile in total of thesehills along the way.

When you get to the aid station, check your watch to see if you arearound 2 1/2 hrs. That is 45 minutes ahead of the cutoff, you do notwant to be any slower than that because there are few finishers able tocomplete the course in time starting out much slower.

Ideally, you want to be there in 2:28, spend 2 minutes at the aid stationand head out at 2:30. There will be aid stations later in the run thatyou should spend more time at. This isn't one of them. You should fillyour bottles, take as much food as you can hold and start walking.You'll be walking after leaving this aid station and have plenty ofopportunity to rest and eat while walking. The key is relentless forwardmotion. It won't be fast but it will be forward.

Hint for enjoyment: Take the time to look out on the lake as you'rerunning around it, it is beautiful at night. You'll see a long stringof flashlights around the perimeter from all of the other runners. Ifthe moon is out and it's calm you can see the reflection of Mt Massivein the water.

Next Segment: May Queen to the Fish Hatchery (hopefully next week)

Part 2 - May Queen to the Fish Hatchery

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
23.5 10.0 5.0 5.0 6:00:00 2:45:00 4:43:00 2:13:00

I'd like to take a moment to talk about the weather and various subjects.At the start, you can expect the temperature to be 25 to 40 F. Easy toprepare for. As the day goes on, it can warm up to the 70s even 80, thenin an instant, a storm can blow in and drop to freezing. I strongly urgeyou to carry a goretex jacket the entire way. I tie mine around my waistand forget about it.

Drop bags, I don't use a crew and only use two drop bags. One at theFish Hatchery and one at Twin Lakes. This allows access every 20 miles.Do not hesitate to have 5, one for each aid station, especially if youdon't have a crew. It never hurts to have more than you need.

Calories, let me start by giving some facts. You will burn a good 12,000calories in order to finish Leadville. Your body can provide around1,800 from Glycogen and possibly another 2,200 without much trouble fromfat. That means you need to consume 8,000 calories from outside. If youdon't, the body needs to continue burning fat but you won't feel likemoving at a rate that's worth much. In addition, your body will alsobe using muscle for protein requirements. If you use an energy drink,you can get another 3,000 calories if it isn't overly diluted. Theremaining 5,000 calories must come from food. That's 500 calories peraid station. That is a lot, I strongly suggest you have a plan to eatthat much.

As you leave May Queen with energy drink in your bottles and food inyour hands, you will be walking up a gradual hill on a paved road. Noneed to run, it is more important to make sure you are eating those 500calories. In less than 1/2 mile you will turn left and cross the firststream. Usually you can get across without getting your feet wet.I would suggest just wading through but it is very easy to keep yourfeet dry for the 1st 40 miles on this course. After the stream you willconnect with the Colorado trail. The 5 miles leaving May Queen to thetop of Sugarloaf pass is a 1,200 foot climb. There will be a few levelspots where you can run but for the most part this will be a walk. Bevery carefull not to go anaerobic as you get higher in altitude.

At this point, after warming up for the first 2 1/2 hrs at 11 minute paceyou should feel great. The sun will be rising, you haven't gone out toofast, cleared out the cob webs and are now ready to get to work. Afterrunning for most of 2 1/2 hrs, it will feel good to walk. You shouldwalk as briskly as possible climbing the hill. After the Colorado trail,you will turn on Hagerman Pass road. Many people run on this road, thereis no need to. If you do, you are burning precious glycogen that can beput to much better use later in the run. A brisk walk at 20 minutepace will do fine. After a mile, you will turn off Hagerman on to asteeper jeep road leading to the top of the pass. You will know you areat the top of the pass when you go under the power lines. From here itis downhill to the next aid station and time to run. The downhill of thepass is very steep at points. I suggest you neither push the pace orhold back. This is a quad trasher so be careful. I am tall and tendto run this section at 7 minute pace or faster, I love the gravity. Isuggest trying 9 minute pace if you are concerned about agility andsafety.

At the bottom, there will be another stream crossing that usually has aboard across it. Soon after, you will hit pavement with lots of peoplecheering for you. Walk up a 1/4 mile hill then run downhill for a mileto the Fish Hatchery aid station.

At the aid station, this will be the last quick one, allow 2 minutes torefill your bottles and get another 500 calories of food. You will beleaving the aid station 1:15 ahead of the cutoff.

Hint for enjoyment: This is one of my favorite sections. I have warmedup, fallen into a rhythm and have become aware that I am in the processof undertaking another incredible experience. As you climb Hagerman rd,the view back to the lake is just spectacular. Turquoise lake is nestledin a valley of lush evergreens, at this time of day, the water is darkblues and greens rather than what it's name implies. The sun is risingin a orange, yellow and violet sky. A mist will be evaporating off thelake and trees. To the West, there will be snow capped peaks of whiteand pink from the sun hitting them with a deep blue sky background. Therichness of all the color is just incredible. This will all be happeningright at the same time you experience your first big endorphin rush, wow!At that point you should shout out to the world, "I feel great". You'llbe at the top of Sugarloaf before you know it.

Next Segment: Fish Hatchery to Halfmoon

Part 3 - Fish Hatchery to Halfmoon

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
30.5 7.0 4.0 3.0 8:00:00 2:00:00 6:19:00 1:38:00

Leaving the Fish Hatchery, you will hopefully be dressed in shorts andt-shirt with plenty of sunscreen. For those unfamiliar with theColorado high country, there is a lot less atmosphere blocking thesun's rays and you should be careful especially if you have light skin.A hat with a visor also helps keep the sun or rain from your face.Don't forget your jacket tied around your waist. Last year after leavingthis aid station, a storm blew in and it rained and sleeted sideways forhours. Don't forget your 500 calories of food to be carried with you asyou progress towards the next aid station.

This is a short segment of 7 miles, the first mile is a gradual downhillon pavement. Hopefully you can eat and jog at the same time, if not,walk briskly until you have finished eating. If you where unable toleave the fish hatchery in 4:45, do not PANIC. We are building plentyof buffer, you do not want to attempt to make it up all at once.There will be plenty of opportunity for that later. For now, simplyshuffle along at a comfortable 10 minute pace. Continue at this pacewhile on Halfmoon road, a wide dirt road leading towards the Mt. Elbertand Mt. Massive trailhead. When the road climbs, simply shift to a walk,then back to a run. I am suggesting a mix of 4 miles of running at 10minute pace and 3 miles of walking at 18 minute pace. You may not needto do as much walking here. If you are able to run to the tree line,the point where they won't allow cars to go any further, you have run 4.5miles and can walk the remaining 2.5 miles to the aid station. You arenow far enough into the run that if you go a little faster, youprobably won't be overextending yourself. There are some decent climbson this road and I do encourage you to walk them.

When you arrive at Halfmoon, get some fluids and food and SIT DOWN. Youhave been on your feet for over 6 hrs, it's time to give them a rest.Stay at this aid station for 5 or 6 minutes or until 6:25 has elapsed.Again, carry food out of the aid station, 500 calories. This time youwill be back on Halfmoon road, going uphill, walking. You will beleaving this aid station 1:35 ahead of the cutoff.

Hint for enjoyment: This section is made up primarily of a wide dirtroad. Lots of room and easy to run in a group. Try to match up witha group and join in on the conversation. This is definitely the bestsocial part of the run. Everyone has settled into the position they'llkeep for most of the run and a lot of faces should start becomingfamiliar. As you make your way into the trees, the atmosphere has aquiet, camping, vacationing feel to it. I find this a very peaceful andrelaxing segment.

Next Segment: Halfmoon to Twin Lakes

Part 4 - Halfmoon to Twin Lakes

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
39.5 9.0 5.0 4.0 10:30:00 2:30:00 8:25:00 2:06:00

It helps to break the course into 3 parts. The start to Halfmoon,Halfmoon to Halfmoon and Halfmoon to the finish. We have completed thefirst part. If you have followed this strategy, you should feel fairlystrong at this point. I have purposely tried to hold you back to saveyourself for the middle 41 miles. This is where the heart of Leadvilleis. This is where it is going to take a strong heart and soul of everyrunner who finishes Leadville. The final stretch, if you need to, youwill be able to walk the entire 29 miles and finish under the cutoffs.

If you are behind the pace I've suggested, it is time to catch up. Itcan be done on this section fairly easily. If you're comfortable andon pace, I suggest using this section to get ahead a little. Aftergoing 30 miles, the risk of going too fast is diminishing quickly, justuse your head if you plan on going faster.

It will be approximately 10:30 AM and possibly warming up. If you havebeen using an energy drink, you should be fine with respect toelectrolytes. If not, it is important to consume some Sodium andPotassium. One of the easiest ways to do this is to take some salt forthe Sodium. For the Potassium, you can take Morton light salt, which is50% potassium chloride, or bananas will help provide some potassium. Atell tale sign of being deficient of electrolytes are cramping muscles,particularly the calfs.

In Colorado, the climate is very dry, even dryer at altitude. You canloose water at an alarming rate and need to keep taking those fluids.Because of the dryness, you can be sweating and not even know it becauseit can evaporate before you get wet.Make sure that you are urinating regularly and it is not dark in color.You will be weighed at Twin Lakes, and they will hold you if your bodyweight is down, so make sure you stay well hydrated.

The section starts with a gradual climb as you continue for another mileon Halfmoon Rd before hitting the trailhead for the Colorado Trail. Themode here should be to run when you can.

When you are back on the trail, there are 3 climbs with the restdownhill. The first is the toughest and will get your attention withabout 400 feet of climbing over 3/4 of a mile. At the top, start runningand recover while running. Do this for the next two lesser hills. Afterthe 3rd hill, there is a 3.5 mile downhill shot to Twin Lakes. You willloose about 1,200 feet in this section and can really make up some time.Like on Sugarloaf, let gravity do the job. This is much less steep andmore runable. The terrain is a soft mix of sand and pine needles, atrail runners dream. At the end of this section, you should really feellike you've made some progress.

I recommend that you spend 10 minutes at the Twin Lakes aid station.The next section, Hope Pass is the most demanding in the run and it iscritical that you take the time to refuel and hydrate. I also stronglyurge you NOT to spend more than 10 minutes here. You have covered 39miles and your legs will stiffen if you rest too long. More peopledrop out at this aid station than any of the others. I guess 39 milesis enough to let them know what the course is about and now they haveHope Pass staring them in the face. If you just get up and leave theaid station, you are greatly increasing your odds of finishing. Now isnot the time to decide if you've had enough. You should leave the aidstation at 8:35, 1:55 ahead of the cutoff.

Hint for enjoyment: Hopefully you have gotten your social needssatisfied on the last section. After sitting back for 30 miles, it istime to move out. Because you are rested and the trail through here isgorgeous, you'll want to have fun simply running. When running downhill,you'll need to focus on the trail rather than conversation. As youapproach Twin Lakes, make sure you catch the view of the lakes throughthe clearings in the trees. It is really impressive. It is also niceto see your destination. Finally, as you break out of the woods beforethe aid station, there will be a big crowd cheering for you! Enjoy therush of adrenaline and don't stumble down the hill with everyonewatching.

Part 5 - Twin Lakes to Winfield

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
50.0 10.5 4.0 6.5 14:00:00 3:30:00 12:30:00 4:05:00

We are now at the section we've all been waiting for, the signature ofLeadville, Hope Pass. So far, you have run a very controlled race andwill be able to go over Hope with no trouble at all. Well, maybe just alittle struggle. Actually, this section is brutal and should not betaken lightly. You should train specifically for this section with hillwork, weights etc. You may not have a problem while actually climbingHope but it's damage will manifest itself later in the race. No one isspared.

Before I start, if you've ignored my advice about carrying a jacket upuntil now, that's ok, but now is not the time to risk it. On the warmestday, it is rare that it will hit 60 on the pass. Most likely it will be50. It could be 30 and snowing with a 50 mph wind. I have seen theweather drop from 60 to 30 in the high mountains in a matter of minuteson many occasions. For your own safety, you should expect bad weatheron top of Hope. If it's nice, consider yourself lucky.

When leaving Twin Lakes, the course will be flat for the 1st 1 1/4 miles.If you've been able to keep your feet dry up to this point, great, it'snow time to get them wet. There is a main river crossing, Lake Creek,that feeds Twin Lakes. Depending on the runoff from the snow melt, thiscould be anywhere from knee to waist deep. Before you get to thiscrossing, there are many smaller crossings, 4 or 5 that need to becrossed first. Don't waste your time taking off you shoes and socks tocross. It's too far and rocky to walk barefoot between crossings andyou'd take forever putting on and taking off your shoes. If it is dryand sunny out, your feet will dry in a mile or two anyway. The wateris freezing cold and feels great after running for 40 miles.

After the crossings you should continue running until you hit the trees,at that point, it will be straight up for 3,400 feet. There are manystrategies about climbing Hope. The fact is, you need to get on top andit is going to take a lot of energy. My suggestion, which is part of thestrategy is to arrive here fresh, then push it hard until you're at thetop. Go as fast as you can without going anaerobic. If you have to stopand rest, you've gone anaerobic. Find a pace that you can continue non-stop until you get to the top. Keep pushing the pace but not so that itforces you to stop. There have been many suggestions to synchronize yourbreathing with your pace. I think it is a good idea, it really helpswith your rhythm.

There will be a small aid station, 1/2 mile before the top. If youneed to, fill up your bottles and take some soup or something to carrywith you. Don't stop and sit down. You've gotten your momentum goingand you'll need it for the final push. If you give yourself a chance tostiffen sitting down, it will be tough getting over the top.

Once at the top, smile for the camera, they'll take an awesome pictureof you to show your grandchildren. The next 2 1/4 miles are down a 21%grade. The first part is on loose gravel and switch backs, happysliding. Take short strides until the footing gets better, but don'twaste too much time here. In a few miles you'll be walking again. Sincethis is an out and back, you'll get a chance to see everyone ahead of youclimbing back up the pass. Say hi to all your friends.

When you hit the road to Winfield, it is gradually uphill. You can runa few of the flatter sections. Most of it you will need to walk and itmakes no sense to try to fight it. I suggest looking at your watch whenyou get on the road. It will seem like an eternity walking to Winfield,it should take 30 to 40 minutes depending on how brisk you can walk atthis point.

Depending on how well you did on the pass, hopefully you will arrive atWinfield 12:30 into the race. You will be weighed again, after that,sit down and refuel for 10 minutes, no longer. You have gone halfway ona very challenging course. You should feel good about that. Don't bealarmed by how achy your muscles feel, it is expected and you will begoing slower on the way back. It took you 12:30 to get here, you nowhave 17:20 to get back. You should leave the aid station at 12:40, 1:20ahead of the cutoff. I'm not a big NSAID user but I usually take my 1stof two 200mg tabs at this point. It takes a little of the edge off.Make sure you continue to eat. Even if the altitude has other ideas foryour stomach.

Hint for enjoyment: As you are approaching Hope and when on top, lookback to the North, you can see everywhere that you've been. Twin Lakesare below, Turquoise lake which seemed so long ago is off in thedistance and Leadville itself is to the east of the lake. To the Southyou can see straight down into Clear Creek canyon where your headed. Onthe far side of the Canyon are some spectacular 14,000 ft mountains.They are Mt Oxford, Mt Belford, Mt Missouri and Mt Huron.

Next Segment: Winfield to Twin Lakes

Part 6 - Winfield to Twin Lakes

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
60.5 10.5 7.0 3.5 17:45:00 3:45:00 16:40:00 4:10:00

The 2 mile section of road back to the trail is gradually downhill andshould be run unless you are still eating when leaving the aid station.When you hit the trail, you will be walking in a few hundred yards.the climb on this side is steeper but shorter. The gain is about 2,400over about 2 1/4 miles. Again, you should try to hike at a pace whereyou don't need to stop until you get to the top. Once you are abovetree line, this will be very difficult and will probably need to restregardless of how slow you go. Just keep plugging away and you'll getthere. Your heels won't be touching the ground the entire way.

Once over the top, let gravity do it's job. After Hope pass aid station,the descent is more gradual and very runable. As you loose altitude, youwill be able to notice the richer level of oxygen and will feel a lotbetter. When it levels out at the bottom, try to keep running all theway to the aid station. You will save valuable time by doing so, even ifyou don't want to. Don't forget you'll be crossing streams and it willfeel great.

At the Twin Lakes aid station it is time to prepare for the night ahead.You will need flashlights warmer clothes, possibly a hat and gloves. Youshould change into dry shoes as well. If you are careful, they willstay dry all the way to the finish. When dressing warm, you won't needto dress too warm just yet, but as the night wears on, you'll need to addclothes. I have yet to run here when the temp didn't drop below freezingat night. Compounded by being tired and unable to stay warm, you need toreally bundle up. More on this later.

You should arrive at Twin Lakes at 16:30, take 10 minutes. This will bethe last 10 minute break, the rest will be 5 minutes. You should leaveby 16:40 with flashlight in hand and 1:05 ahead of the cutoff.

Hint for Enjoyment: In addition to the spectacular views, when at theHope pass aid station, check out the llamas they use to pack in thesupplies. They are so at home. My first year doing Leadville, I wassitting on a log at the aid station not doing well at all. I rememberlooking at the llamas contentedly eating grass. They seemed to reallygive me peace and strength. I soon got up and was able to run my bunsoff down the mountain. Also look at the flowers and the rushing mountaincreeks along the way, they're just great.

Next Segment: Twin Lakes to Halfmoon

Part 7 - Twin Lakes to Halfmoon

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
69.5 9.0 3.0 6.0 20:45:00 3:00:00 19:45:00 3:05:00

If it helps to make promises to God, you will be inclined to do so duringthis section. Before I get into the details, I want to make you awareof a fact. The fact is that, given you have left the Twin Lakes aidstation, there is a very high probability that you will finish thisrun. Very few drop out after passing through the Twin Lakes aid station.If they do, it is because of a physical injury or they can't make thecutoffs. We are in no trouble with the cutoffs and if we're careful wewon't get injured. That reminds me of a point I omitted earlier. Itwill be dark and you need as much night vision as possible. A way tohelp with this is to wear sunglasses during the day. The sun can bevery bright, especially on Hope and will temporarily burn the retinasof your eyes. You won't notice this during the day but it will impairyour night vision when it gets dark. I suggest you wear sunglasses evenif it is cloudy for UV protection at altitude.

Back to promises, this section does not get the same attention as Hopeor Sugarloaf passes but it is very tough. There are a lot of factorscontributing to this. Physically you have traveled over 60 miles, youhave just had the crap beaten out of you twice on Hope pass and youhave been on your feet for over 16 hrs. If you haven't eaten or hadenough to drink, now is where it will take it's toll. Given that, younow have 1,400 feet to climb. Mentally, you are still a long way fromthe finish, you are annoyed by aches and pains and it is now dark andcold. If I where to recommend the most important section to have apacer, it would be this one. On the other hand, if I where a pacer, Imay want to stay clear, there are some cranky runners out there.

The atmosphere of the race really changes on this section. It becomesvery quiet, dark and runners become scarce. At this point, half thestarters have dropped out and the remaining half are spread out over40 miles. The hike and picnic is over, it is now time to get seriousand focus on what you are doing.

There are 3 rises that never seem to end. The first is the worst, mostof the climbing is on a jeep road. When you hit the trail, it levels andyou get a break. There are several smaller rises so if you are notfamiliar with the course, it's hard to keep track of the big 3. It'snot important, just make sure you run when you can. If it helps, look atyour watch when you leave Twin Lakes, it'll take 2:55 to get to Halfmoon.You'll know when you're on the last rise because the trail turns left ata rock pile and quickly heads downhill to Halfmoon road. Once headingdown, you can run most of the way to the next aid station.

Expect to arrive at Halfmoon at 19:45. If you have a drop bag, you'llprobably need more clothes by now and new batteries. It is now closeto midnight, if you haven't had any coffee or caffeine yet, it is time.The caffeine not only helps with alertness but it helps your bodymetabolize fat for energy, just what you need. Personally, I have foundthe coffee to be too time consuming unless it is already made and nottoo hot. Instead, I carry 2 or 3 caffeine pills for the night. Youshould only take 5 minutes at this aid station leaving at 19:50, 55minutes ahead of the cutoff.

Hint for enjoyment: In prior segments I have suggested focusing on theexternal environment, now it is time to look inward. Soon you will befocusing on the finish, at this point there are few distractions otherthan the here and now. You will be sufficiently tired to let your guarddown and possibly learn a few things about yourself. First you shouldfeel really good about making it this far, this was all your doing, thepreparation and your performance so far. You will really appreciate thisbecause it will become evident during this section how difficult of anundertaking this really is and the fact that you are doing it. Youshould hold your head up and be very proud of where you are. Even ifyou stopped now, you have accomplished a lot. You should also know thatit will get easier as you progress, the hard part is behind you. Enjoythe moment of walking through the evergreens with soft needles underfoot.In spite of this section being tough, if you pass through in harmony withit rather than fighting it, there will be no problem.

Next Segment: Halfmoon to the Fish Hatchery

Part 8 - Halfmoon to the Fish Hatchery

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
76.5 7.0 3.5 3.5 23:00:00 2:15:00 21:45:00 1:55:00

In the preface I mentioned a mix of 40 miles of running and 60 miles ofwalking. Through Halfmoon, the strategy is at 40.5 miles cumulative. Ifyou need to walk the rest of the way in, you can still finish as long asyou average slightly better than 21 minute miles. Very possible, butrisky. Therefore, I've decided to add just 3.5 miles more of running tothe strategy for a total of 44. By doing this, you'll be able to walkthe last two sections without the worry of running out of time.

This section happens to be the easiest one of the course. It isgradually downhill on a dirt road for 6 miles followed by a 1 mileslightly uphill paved section. After you leave the aid station, get intoa shuffling stride and just keep doing this for as long as possible.There is little risk of falling so you can just waddle along barelypicking up your feet. You want to average 15:45 per mile on this sectionso we are not talking about speed records. The longer you can keep theshuffle going, the more valuable time you will save.

The first landmark you will get to is the treeline where there will bepeople cheering you on. Yes it will be after midnight and they'll bethere waiting to give you some moral support. After that, it's openspace until the paved road. If you can run on the paved road, great,if not, then try to maintain a decent pace you'll be at the aid stationshortly.

You'll arrive at the Fish Hatchery for your last weigh in at 21:40.Don't hesitate to get more clothes for the next section. You will begoing up over 11,000 feet, it will be below freezing and possibly windy.I usually wear enough clothes to keep me warm at 10 degrees during anormal training run. The difference is that you are now exhausted, aremoving slow and generating little heat. The last few years, this aidstation has had terrific potato soup. It has really given me the energyto get over Sugarloaf pass which is next on the agenda. If you can, tryto leave in 5 minutes at 21:45. The reason is that, it will give youmore than enough time to walk the rest of the way, spend time at thenext aid station and have 15 minutes to spare at the finish. 21:45 is1:15 ahead of the cutoff.

Hint for enjoyment: If you are on time with this strategy, at somepoint during this section, you will come to the conclusion that you aregoing to finish. It is a tremendous feeling. You only have 20+ milesto go and you are going to do it. All you need to do is keep themomentum going forward. Congratulations!

Next Segment: The Fish Hatchery to May Queen

Part 9 - The Fish Hatchery to May Queen

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
86.5 10.0 0.0 10.0 26:30:00 3:30:00 25:40:00 3:55:00

Leaving the aid station you will continue on the paved road for 1.25miles. This will be uphill for the first mile, as you crest the topof the hill, the road bears to the right. There will be a ranch onthe left with a log rail fence. Stay on the left side of the road,shortly after the fence ends, you will take a sharp left onto thetrail. The turn is marked well but could easily be missed if you arehalf asleep and not looking for it. A suggestion for this run as wellas any 100 miler is to study the map before hand and anticipate turnslike these.

You are now at the base of the climb back over Sugarloaf. Take a lookat your watch, you'll be at the top in 90 minutes. This can be veryhelpful because there are false summits. It can be very discouragingto reach what you think is the top only to find another climb ahead ofyou. This is the last climb of any measure in the run, in 90 minutesyou will be able to coast the rest of the way. As you are climbing, lookfor the flashlights of runners ahead and try to catch up to them. Itwill distract you and help pull you up the hill. If you catch up,congratulate them for a great run and look for the next flashlight.

When at the top, check your watch, if it took longer than 90 minutes,that's ok. If it took longer than 2 hrs from the Fish Hatchery, youshould consider running a little of the next stretch. It will loose1,000 feet over the next 5 miles and is very runable. That assumesyou have any use of your quads left which is unlikely. As you'retraversing the pass, it will be flat and open, look forward and down tothe right, NW. You can see the lights for the May Queen aid station.If you look back and to the right, NE, you can see Leadville, the finish!

Shuffle your way down the jeep road until you come to a T at Hagerman Rdand go right. You'll be on Hagerman for 1 mile, stay to the left andlook for a sharp left onto the trail. The trail will lead you the restof the way to the May Queen aid station.

If you walked the whole section, you should be able to arrive at MayQueen at 25:40. The less time you spend here, the more you'll have onthe last section to finish. You can walk the last section in 4 hrs, ifyou leave at 25:45, you'll have a 15 minute buffer. You will be leaving45 minutes ahead of the cutoff.

Hint for enjoyment: Your confidence should and will be building at thispoint. You should be able to finally stop worrying about the finishline and enjoy just being out there. Don't forget, in a few hours,the whole incredible experience will be over. Shift your focus to howwonderful the experience is that you are currently going through. Therealization that it will be over soon will hit you when you see thelights of Leadville on top of Sugarloaf pass.

Next Segment: May Queen to the Finish

Part 10 - May Queen to the Finish

Total miles Segment miles Run miles Walk miles Total cutoffSegment cutoffTotal planSegment plan
100.013.5 0.0 13.5 30:00:00 3:30:00 29:45:00 4:05:00

The May Queen aid station is my favorite one to leave. I know that onceI head out, my next stop is the finish line. There are no more decisionsto be made, just keep pushing forward.

It helps to break this into 3 parts, getting to the Tabor boat ramp,getting to the Boulevard, getting to the finish. The Tabor boat rampis 6.75 miles away with rolling single track trail. I walk all thelittle uphills and try to run the downhills and flats. After the boatramp which is a concrete landing with people waiting for their runners,the trail widens and flattens. If you are going to do any more running,it will need to be over the next 3.5 miles. If you do run, this sectionwill go very quick. Along the way, there are campgrounds with restroomsclose to the trail. Outside the restrooms are water spigots if you arerunning low. After leaving the lake, you will cross a paved road andhead down a torturous steep downhill for 1/3 mile dropping to a flatdirt, then paved road. After the railroad tracks, turn right and followto the wide dirt road, the Boulevard. When you turn left on theBoulevard, you have 3.25 miles to the finish. It will be uphill for themost part and you will be walking. When you hit pavement again you have1 mile to go. At the top of a small hill, you will be able to see thefinish about 1,000 yards away.

At the finish line, don't forget to run the last 10 steps in to breakthe ribbon!

Hint for enjoyment: What can I say, smile the entire last section, youdeserve it. I have found that as much as I want to walk during thislast section, it gets very long. Any running will help you get to thecoffee and pancakes that much sooner.

Follow on

Since posting the Leadville strategy, I have had many people write to medirect to ask for my thoughts on a 25 hr pace. This August will be my 4thattempt at 25 hrs. I have been unsuccessful maintaining 25 hour pace for thelast 25 miles on my prior 3 attempts. I'm convinced this was the result of apoor energy plan and not consuming enough calories. I sincerely believe thereis an effective pace to follow which is outlined below. If you choose tofollow this pace, you will have lots of company. Similar to a 40 minute 10Kor a 3 hr marathon, a lot will have the same goal and have the same racestrategy. My experience has been that there will be a fairly large grouprunning close together for the first 60 miles. After that, the group startsto disperse quickly and only a few make the 25 hr cutoff. Maybe some of usecan be in that small group that are successful.

In my strategy to finish, I suggested running 44 miles and walking the rest.For 25 hours, you will need to run approximately 70 miles. Essentially, thewalking is done climbing Hope pass both ways, most of the way from Twin Lakesto the Fish hatchery, the return over Sugarloaf pass and occasionally fromMayqueen to the finish. The time in the aid stations should be minimal, a fewminutes, in the first 50 miles. After 50, depending on how well you aremaintaining your pace will determine how much of a time luxury you will havein the aid stations. The split times are the times LEAVING the aid stationnot arriving. If you are 10 minutes off or so, it isn't a big deal but youneed to work at getting back on pace in the next section.
Aid Station Hours
Mayqueen 2:10
Fish Hatchery 4:05
Halfmoon 5:15
Twin Lakes 7:15
Winfield 10:30
Twin Lakes 13:45
Halfmoon 16:30
Fish Hatchery 18:00
Mayqueen 21:30
Finish 25:00

Hope to see some of you in the 25 hr group as we make our way to Winfield.

Dana Roueche