LT100 Legends: The Sixth Street Partiers
The “Sixth Street partiers”. If you’ve read the best-selling book, “Born To Run,” by Christopher McDougall, you might be familiar with this group. Or, if you’ve been around the Leadville Ultra scene, it’s hard not to notice the revelry happening at the top of 6th Street during the start of the Leadville Trail 100 (LT100) Run.
They are a rambunctious group of fans, who have albeit, become an urban legend since McDougall’s book hit the New York Times best seller list in 2009. However, for locals, the gathering is simply known as Danny and Roe Mooney’s “Trail 100” party!
And like many tales, especially those associated with the LT100, some are true and some are tall tales. Now, if you’re up for local folklore, you’ll accept McDougall’s report: “Every year, Leadville’s Sixth Street partiers cowboy up and spend the weekend trying to outlast the runners. They start pounding at the blast of the starting gun and keep downing ‘em until the race officially ends thirty hours later.”
However, according to hostess Roe Mooney, the Trail 100 party is a bit more subdued.
“When we first moved to W. 6th Street, the residents were asked to leave a light on, to show support for the racers,” explains Mooney. “And Danny said, Well, we can do better than that!”
So for the past 18 years, the Mooneys have hosted a full on “we-support-the-runners” party. Every August, these W. 6th Street residents and their pajama-clad friends, stand on their front lawn, blasting Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run,” and the theme from the movie “Rocky,” cheer on the runners, sending them off, into the first dawn, of the two most racers will likely see in this epic 30-hour, 100-mile Ultra marathon.
And while the “Born To Run” account describes a 30-hour party, “that’s not exactly true,” states Mooney.
“While we really appreciated him (McDougall) putting us in the book, a couple of things he said were not true!” explains Mooney. For example, by no means, does the party rage on until the first runner comes back in, much less the last racer!
“We’ve always started at 3:30 – 4 a.m. for the start of the race,” says Mooney. “And our neighbors are always real nice about it. They either come or if they don’t, they don’t call the cops on us.”
So how late does the party go? Well, that all depends, says Roe.
“We usually keep the music blaring until all the runners and support crew pass by, and then we bring the speakers inside and have breakfast.” As far as Roe recalls, the latest guests they’ve ever had at the party was until 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon, hours before any LT100 racers are even near the finish line.
Other memorable years include the 2012 race, when the Mooneys daughter Alison, paced Leadville racer Jared Roberts for 30 miles and at the end of the day she also became engaged! Then last year, Roe’s colleague Lisa Morton finished the LT100 Run on her second attempt. And there was another incident, years ago, when one of the runners stopped in at the Mooneys for a bathroom break, not even a mile out on the course!
“We’ve gotten some real nice letters over the years, from people thanking us for the show of support,” concludes Mooney. So whether you need a quick “pit-stop” or a “Only 99 miles to go!” cheer from the Sixth Street partiers, runners can count on the Mooneys to “leave a light” on for LT100 racers!