Descending "Powerline" at the 2012 Leadville 100

The Road to Leadman

Gudrun Mountain Bike Festival

Leadman….what does that word evoke.  To most it is a mystery word, not meaning anything in particular…something about a man that is very heavy maybe???

A Leadman, or Leadwoman for the female persuasion, is an extraordinary endurance athlete who has completed five running and cycling events in a given year in Leadville, Colorado as part of the Leadville Race Series. Specifically, a Leadman does the the following:

  • 26.2 mile trail marathon in June (8 ½ hour cut-off)
  • 50 mile mountain bike (8 hour cut-off)
    or  50 mile run (14 hour cut-off) in July
  • 100 mile mountain bike race (12 hour cut-off) in early August
  • 10k run the day after the 100 mile MTB race
  • 100 mile run (30 hour cut-off), in mid-August

So three months of grueling “ultra” endurance events at elevations ranging from 9,200 to 12,600 feet.


First and foremost I should point out I think engaging in this type of activity, and specifically this series is a terribly selfish endeavor.  The time commitment for training, traveling, and participating in these events is overwhelming.  It dominates an individual’s life and all of their close friends and family relationships.

Descending "Powerline" at the 2012 Leadville 100
Descending “Powerline” at the 2012 Leadville 100

I can’t answer why Leadman for others, but for me the decision to attempt to become a Leadman was years in the making.  In 2012 I did the 100 mountain bike race in 10:02.  In 2013 the ante was upped and thanks to a precious friend who taught me how to be an ultra-runner I completed the Silver King event, a stepping stone to Leadman.  The 50 mile mountain bike was completed in 6:08 and the next day the 50 mile run was completed in 12:02 for a combined time 18:10.  But now, as I embrace this challenge I realize that I need it to help me find myself.  Due to personal circumstances…a divorce, a breakup, flexible employment…and the personal need to focus on something to steady my mind, I found myself looking hard at Leadman.

For me, it’s a personal journey over the next 10 months, to clear my head, to become focused and enjoy the calm of having a difficult purpose that requires all my attention.  Arkansas Outside asked me to do a series of articles on becoming a Leadman.  I need your prayers, support and encouragement.  Please, join me on the journey and hopefully we can share the experience and both become more “ultra”.

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Go to Part 2 of the Road to Leadman Series.

See also  Ladies Du Fayetteville Duathlon Saturday, June 8

8 Responses

  1. Sounds like an amazingly challenging year. You know that your welcome to come train at my high altitude home any time.

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