serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Leadville Trail 100 Run Training Camp 2010

posted by Chris Barber


This is a guest post by Hawwaiian Shirt Ray who has a great blog where he shares his experiences to inspire others to do extraordinary things.  His mantra is, “You Gotta Keep Moving.”

Leadville Training Camp is three days of trail running on the course for the Leadville Trail 100 Ultra Trail Race.  The camp is designed to give runners all the tools they will need to start and finish the Leadville Trail 100 in less than 30 hours.  The camp directors truly do not want to see any runner fail in their attempt to finish the Leadville Trail 100; that is why they have the training camp.  There is a panel of experts that volunteer their time to help answer all of your questions.  The panel is made up of runners that have done the Leadville Trail 100 multiple times; most of them have ten or more finishes under their belts.  That is over 1,000 miles of running the Leadville Trail 100 race, so they really know what it takes to get to the finish in less than 30 hours.  The panels of runners are out on the trail with the camp participants running and are interspersed in the front, middle, and back of the pack.  They are there to answer the runners questions about the course or any other question that they might have on how to finish the Leadville Trail 100.

Who should attend the Leadville Trail 1oo Camp?

The camp is designed to give first time Leadville Trail 100 runners the tools to finish the race in less than 30 hours, and for veterans of the course, it reinforces the strategies to complete the race.  This is my third time at training camp and I have returned yet again to gauge how my training is coming along, and also to remind myself of the course.  The first time I came to the Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp I didn’t know what to expect during my first attempt at running a 100 mile ultra trail race, let alone running the Leadville Trail 100.  During my three days at camp I learned what it was going to take to cross the finish line in under 30 hours and I also left with the feeling that “I can do it!”

Camaraderie and New Friends

Another thing that I really like about camp is the camaraderie of all the attendants.  There are a wide range of runners some that have completed the race before, runners that never have run a 100 mile ultra trail run, and runners that have never even run a 50 mile ultra trail run.  My experience has been that all of the runners want to help each other finish the race.  It is a great way to make new friends, learn their stories, and then see them at the race.

The first two days of camp everyone meets for breakfast at 6:30 am and this is the first opportunity to start meeting the runners that you will be running with during camp.  Each year I have made new friends and it is fun to see them at other ultra trail races and to see them on race day at the Leadville Trail 100.  Then at the end of each days’ run it is fun to hangout and share each other’s stores from the trail.

Three Days of Running on the Leadville Trail 100 Course

The three days of trail running consists of two daytime trail runs and one nighttime trail run.  The goal of those runs is to familiarize the runners with the course.  Day 1 run consists of the “Double Crossing.”  The runners start at Twin Lakes, run over Hope Pass at 12,600 feet to Winfield and return to Twin Lakes; about 20 miles.  The evening of Day 2 there is a dinner and Q&A session with the panel of experts after the dinner.  This is a great opportunity for the runners to get all of their questions answered about the race how to finish the race in less than 30 hours.  Day 3 is the night run which starts at Twin Lakes and goes to Tree Line.  The first year I attended the camp I did not go on the night run because I thought I knew all the trails so well that it would not be of any help.  Wow, was I wrong.  During the race I had no idea what was ahead, where I was, and how much longer I had until the next aid station.  I highly recommend any runner attending the Leadville Trail Training Camp to participate in the night run.

For the next three days I will discuss each day of training camp in detail.