Hall Hopeful for Firecracker 5k
“Our events, albeit small, bring participants to Leadville from various parts of the country. With COVID-19 in mind our board believes that it is vital that we place the safety of our community, participants, and volunteers first,” stated Carlos Martinez, Race Director of two events which were scheduled to take place in Leadville this June.
On Monday, April 27 the Leadville-Lake County Sports Hall of Fame announced that it has canceled two of its summer races as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Added to the growing list of other annual summer events, the local nonprofit will not hold its 2020 Fish Hatchery 5K nor its Turquoise Lake 20K which were scheduled for June 6-7.
“We know this is a challenging time for everyone and cancellation of the two events is disappointing news to many,” said Martinez in a press release distributed media outlets. The two races will not be rescheduled this year, however all pre-registrations will rollover as an entry in the 2021 edition of the events.
Last year, the Turquoise 20K and the Hatchery 5k brought more than 200 athletes to the start lines that took place in early June. And at 10,200 feet often times the biggest competitor at this early season race is Mother Nature, in the form of snow. Last year’s historic snow levels at Turquoise Lake had organizers re-routing the popular course to avoid the 2-3 foot snow drifts still hanging around in month six!
While both races do boast a solid rooster of athletes from across the nation, they are also favorites of local runners, both in venue and in their direct financial benefit back to the community. As of today, the Hall of Fame board has NOT made a decision to cancel their community-centered and very popular Leadville Firecracker 5K held on the Fourth of July. That decision will be made in early June.
Proceeds from the Hall of Fame’s running events have traditionally been a source of funding for Leadville Nordic and are used to provide fishing poles for every fifth-grader at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery’s annual Kid’s Fishing Day. Individuals who wish to make a donation can send them to SHF, PO Box 123, Leadville, CO 80461.
The race proceeds benefit the Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2002. Governed by a nine-member board, the organization strives to those who have been outstanding in athletics or have given meritorious service to the athletics and/or recreation within our community. The SHF serves as the official sports Hall of Fame for the City of Leadville, County of Lake, and the Senior High Schools of Climax, Leadville, and Lake County.
LT100 Qualifier Canceled in NY
By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today
The Leadville Race Series (LRS) took another hit earlier this week with the announcement that the Wilmington Whiteface MTB had been “moved” to October according to event planner Youphoria Productions. In a Facebook post for the Leadville Trail 100 (LT100) qualifier race which was scheduled to take place in upstate new York in June event producer, Josh Colley explained:
“Wilmington Whiteface 100 Racers – After much consideration with state and local entities, the conclusion has been made that the June 6th race date will be moved to October 3rd, 2020. We will be sending all registered athletes an email with your options tomorrow afternoon. If you aren’t registered yet, watch the Youphoria page tomorrow for the message containing more information. Thanks for your understanding in this time of worldwide challenges. Stay safe.”
It was the second hit for the event-planning company owned by the former LT100 Race Director (2011-17) who helped build out these money-making qualifying races, scattered across the country and owned by Life Time. The 2020 season’s first “qualifying race” disappointment came in March when the Austin Rattler to be held on March 29 in Texas was “re-scheduled.”
To date, the LT100 qualifying races have calculated millions for Life Time since the fitness giant first bought the LRS from founders Ken Chlouber and Merilee Maupin back in 2010. There’s the Wilmington Whiteface MTB which plays out on the Olympic grounds of Lake Placid in New York. There’s the Austin Rattler MTB in Texas and the Tahoe Trail MTB in California. Of course, closer to home that list includes the Silver Rush 50-mile MTB as well as the Leadville Stage Race, both held on home turf and still managed locally by the LRS team.
The Iconic Leadville Trail 100 MTB Start Line
To date, both the Texas and New York races have been “moved” to fall dates, diminishing their LT100 qualifier status by simple definition. The slots for the Rattler were distributed by random draw by Colley in March after the race was canceled. But that would not be the case for the New York race. There is no information about the coveted LT100 MTB slots which would have been awarded to the podium spots from this event. In fact, other than a post on social media there has not been any press distributed about Monday’s announcement.
For racers, the conversation may take center stage on some of the athlete’s group pages, but for locals wanting to understand more about this chapter in the Leadville Trail 100 story, you can read the 2018 LT interview with YouPhoria Productions owner Josh Colley. It’s a candid account about the birth of the LT100 MTB qualifiers and what ultimately that would mean for Leadville. In it, Colley explains the business model, allowing these “qualifying” competitions to coat-tail onto the Leadville name and legacy by awarding the top finishers with the coveted start line spots at the LT100 MTB in August.
Semantics aside, both events are considered qualifiers for the mountain bike race which takes place on Leadville’s home trails in August, and part of a race series which has been lighting up the social media platforms about whether these athletic events should be taking place at all this summer. Especially in light of the growing list of other annual happenings that have been canceled in the shadow of the Coronavirus. An overwhelming majority of Lake County residents advocating online for the entire series to be canceled in 2020.
Last week, while the qualifiers were facing their own challenges, Life Time CEO Bahram Akradi took to the national airwaves once again, re-igniting the embers of local concerns, prompting residents to take to their keyboards, some directly confronting the LRS owner on social media:
- Addie Haberkorn With restaurant, businesses, rentals, and yes emergency service etc. being strained common sense would tell you to postpone Mr Akradi . All your thinking about are your pockets and not the community of Leadville or their safety.
While some take a more direct approach
- Andy Hofer Cancel
- Ramona Griego Cancel
- Andrea Romero If you’re gonna cancel our boom days, you damn well better cancel these stupid races!!!! All they’ve done is ruin leadville!!! They dont contribute to the betterment of this town & if this douche is that money hungry, maybe he should take himself elsewhere cuz rveryone is sick of him!!! Money shouldn’t allow this jerk or any other one, the opportunity to make decisions like this alone!!! If it affects the community as a whole, there should most definitely be a vote on it! Besides, no one wants them here, especially not this year!!!!
And it’s not just the locals
- Kara Quast-Nelson I am from Wisconsin with 3 registrations for the June race. Not coming for our safety and the safety of Leadville. I urge the race series to give athletes the choice to defer to 2021 if they don’t cancel. If they don’t, we are done. Plenty of races out there. CEO’s + COVID are a recipe for bad decision making.
CEO Bahram Akradi’s National TV Interview with CNBC
But as the Coronavirus clock ticks and the calendar turns the page to May, patience and good manners are running thin with residents and business owners as they wait for leadership to show up on the corner of 6th and Harrison. Someone needs to make a decision.
Until then the good people living in Leadville Today continue to navigate endless online forms for assistance and juggle family life at an entirely new level, all while quietly whispering through their homemade face masks: “it’d be nice to have our town back this summer.”
Colorado Journalist Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin, a digital media company which publishes LeadvilleToday.com and SaguacheToday.com. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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COVID Reports from Leadville Today
Meanwhile, Leadville Today will continue to bring readers the latest news concerning the virus and its impact on Lake County. Here is a list of stories covered thus far about COVID – 19.
- Ready or Not? Preparedness in Pbville – March 10
- The Closures. The Plan. The Truth. – March 15
- Shelter (Food & Water) from the Storm – March 17
- The 411 on the 911 in the 80461 – March 19
- Mountain Medicine: Wisdom From Above – March 21
- Paper or Plastic: On the Frontlines – March 26
- Melly Masks: Made in Leadville – March 27
- Close Quarters: Cloud City Quarantine – March 29
- Racing In The Shadows of The Coronavirus – April 2
- Twin Lakes: In Times of Need – April 5
- Triggered: A Tale of Two Broken Legs – April 16
- Benefits Ready for Contractors, Self-employed – April 21
- Testing, Tracing, Tracking at 10,200 – April 23
- Climax Reduces Production by Half thru 2020 – April 25