Buckle or Bust!
Q&A with Leadville champs Ian Sharman and Ashley Arnold
Runners near the top of the 12,600-foot Hope Pass, mile 45 and 55 of the Leadville 100. Photo by Yitka Winn.
This past weekend, thousands of runners and their friends, families and crews descended on the town of Leadville, Colorado, for the 31st running of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile (LT100), presented by Life Time Fitness. This year’s race boasted one of the largest fields in trail racing, with 1200 racers admitted—a number that no doubt contributed to the electric energy of this historic race, while also presenting some challenges in terms of course overcrowding, depleted resources at aid stations and traffic jams for crews.
Nevertheless, I was grateful for the opportunity to run this year’s race—my first ultra at altitude since moving to Colorado earlier this year—in anticipation of writing an in-depth feature story in an upcoming issue of Trail Runner. Just as I began the 3400-foot climb up Hope Pass—the “crux” of Leadville for many runners—the leaders came bombing down it in the opposite direction, grinning and whooping as they ran. Though I’m a middle-to-back of the pack runner myself, the out-and-back nature of the LT100 course allowed me to see much of the front-runner action unfold throughout the day.
Brit-turned-Oregonian-turned-Californian Ian Sharman, 32, took the win in 16:30:03, with Colorado’s Nick Clark, 39, snagging second in 17:06:29. Both Sharman and Clark are taking part in this year’s Grand Slam of Ultrarunning—competing in four of the country’s most prestigious 100-milers, Western States, Vermont, Leadville and Wasatch, which occur in the span of 10 weeks.
My predecessor at Trail Runner and fellow Colorado resident, Ashley Arnold, 26, led the women’s race from early on and never let her foot off the gas pedal—taking the win in 20:25:43. She shaved nearly three hours off her own record at Leadville, when she ran it in 2010 and took third. Shaheen Sattar, 29, of Texas, took second in this year’s race with a time of 22:42:41.
Both Sharman and Arnold took the time to chat with me after the race about their experiences. Read on to hear their stories, or …
- Click here for full LT100 results
- Keep an eye out for our full feature story on this year’s Leadville race in an upcoming print issue!
- To share your thoughts on overcrowding at trail races in general, check out this month’s Trail Runner Blog Symposium.