Aspen Backcountry Marathon

When the race description includes trails like "Hobbit" and "Hummingbird" trails, you can bet it's going to be a beautiful course. The Aspen Backcountry Marathon did not disappoint with the scenery. The views above Aspen were splendid.

I went into this race thinking that it would be a great introduction into a true trail race in the mountains. I knew it had elevation (4k feet) and it was longer than the Leadville 10k that I have been doing for a few years. I guess running them back to back wasn't such a good idea. But when you're only in Colorado for a week, you have to make due.

The first 8 miles included just about all of the elevation with a quick climb up to 10.5k feet. From there we traversed many dense aspen groves around Red Mountain. We descended into the Hunter Creek valley only to climb back out and up Smuggler Mountain. The end was a long downhill back into Aspen. 

The race was very well supported and "cup free". Each participant received a reusable cup from Ultra Aspire. It was very easy to carry but I'm not sure it would be sufficient in this type of race. Some other type of hydration gear was needed and recommended. I carried mine along but also had a handheld and some gels. 

I finished in 5:41 which was just about what I had planned. I was hoping to be third in my age group and claim a pair of shoes but I was beat out by only 10 minutes to finish 4th in my age. Perhaps I stopped for too many pictures.

It was a great affordable race and I can't wait for next year. I hear the course will be reversed which will be a real challenge. I just hope my vacations line up to make it possible again.