Crews Repair Road, Race Course from Big Water
While most racers who will lace up for tomorrow’s marathon are concerned about the numbers when it comes to time, distance and nutrition, county officials are more concerned with the numbers concerning flooding in Leadville’s historic eastside mining district as late spring run-off, brings historic water levels.
Early Thursday morning road and bridge crews stayed busy replacing water culverts on County Road 3 which also acts as a main artery of the race course, with pipes twice their size as the water raged down through Evans Gulch.
A recently installed 24 inch culvert on County Road 3 was forced loose and pushed part of the way down Lake Creek early Thursday morning by “huge” water raging its way down valley after the first high-temperature day of spring, began melting the deep basin of snow that sits above Mountain Lake.
“It’s the biggest water I’ve ever seen,” stated Greg Teter with Parkville Water District, describing the late run-off season that brings with it the melts of late spring snows. In fact, the surge that blew out the new culverts sent dirt, rock and debris running fast down the road, which is more commonly known as the top of East 7th Street.
Aside from a slightly rougher road, the early morning surge pushed quite a bit of debris into Big Evans Reservoir, Parkville’s primary surface water surface.
“Yep, Big Evans was looking pretty dirty this (Thursday) morning, and its turbidity levels were high,” Teter added. Fortunately Parkville has other water sources to supplement and draw from in just such a situation. Leadville’s drinking water was not affected by Thursday morning’s culvert breach.
In the meantime, Lake County Road and Bridge crews got right to work early yesterday monring to remedy the problem along the popular County Road 3, which also acts as the race course for the Leadville Trail Marathon being held tomorrow, June 20. They replaced the 24″ culverts with 30″ rounds. Now keep in mind that they had just replaced – last week – the old 12” pipes that were in that crossover for years, with culverts twice their size, in anticipation of the proverbial “100 year flood.”
Both the water district and a variety of county departments continue to monitor the situation, as sunny skies, rising waters, and a flood of racing visitors are forecasted to visit Leadville’s historic eastside mining (and racing ) district this Father’s Day weekend.
An estimated 1,000 racers, along with hundreds of support crews, LRS race volunteers and staff prepare to descend upon Leadville’ historic eastside mining district for the 16th edition of the 23 mile foot race.
Leadville Trail Marathon, Heavy Half This Weekend
Tomorrow, June 20 the Leadville Race Series hosts the 16th annual Leadville Trail Marathon and Heavy Half, which comes with its own set of numbers. Like the start line altitude of 10, 152 feet and a high side climb of the 13,185 feet of altitude at Mosquito Pass. Or the 915 runners from last year, whose numbers broke down to: 23 Leadville racers, runners representing 49 states, and 9 participants from other countries, demonstrating the level of interest the LRS continues to garner among world-class athletes.
So here’s last year’s report about the Leadville Trail Marathon and Heavy Half – Including the top finishers and times to beat, including a new record time for the ladies in the Heavy Half. Also, for a copy of the Official Athlete’s Guide for Saturday’s race: CLICK HERE.
Of the 915 runners who laced up to the 2014 start line, there were more racers in the Heavy Half than the Marathon, confirming reports that some runners may have shied away of the commitment of taking on 13, 185 feet Mosquito Pass and reports of “lots of snow” still on the trail.
But for those who toughed it out, through the course changes, through the snow fields and wet trail conditions, the victory was that much sweeter. And so it was for Leadville’s Timmy Parr who crossed the 2014 finish line first with a 3:45:45 finish time. Rounding out last year’s podium was Michael Aish 3:57:24 and Paul Moth at 4:03:58. On the women’s side, it was Leadville local Christy Lindh with an impressive 4:45:38. Kathryn Ross (4:58:11) of Durango and Erin Lewis (4:59:49) of Crested Butte rounded out the top three female finishers for the Leadville Trail Marathon.
On the “lighter” side of the race, also known as the Heavy Half Marathon, Ewen North broke through the 2014 finish line ribbon first with a time of 2:16:01. Ryan McCurnin was only seconds behind for a second place finish of 2:16:51. But the surprise of the day came from Meagan Deakins of Mountain View, Ca who not only took third, but also set a new female course record for the Heavy Half with a time of 2:17:21.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Deakins stated (over and again) at the 2014 finish line.
Perhaps an understatement for the sea level dweller, as the challenging course not only starts at an altitude of 10,200 feet but then goes up, up and then way up, topping out at 13,185 ft Mosquito Pass. And with winter’s snowy grip still firmly in place at the higher elevations, race organizers had to make some last minute 2014 course changes due to sizeable snow drifts still present on the course, particularly on the backside of Ball Mountain.
Those same changes will be in place this year as well. Racers, family, fans and crew are asked to use extreme caution when traveling anywhere in Leadville’s east side historic mining district where the race takes place. The peak-spring run-off has come a week late and water levels are at historic highs. And remember, they call it “adventure” racing for a reason! Stay safe! And, see you at the finish line!