Long Aspen area races will test runners’ lungs, legs | AspenTimes.com

Long Aspen area races will test runners’ lungs, legs

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Post Independent

Running a race in the Roaring Fork Valley in the coming months? Prepare for plenty of ups and downs and roots and rocks.

A mix of newer races and two longtime classics are on tap, starting July 30 with the Mount Sopris Runoff.

The Mount Sopris Runoff is a 14-mile grinder that takes runners from the old schoolhouse in Emma to West Sopris Creek Road, a 1,500-foot climb before they head another 1,700 feet down to Highway 133. It finishes at the Carbondale Mountain Fair.

The race’s age is in question, but Brion After, whose Independence Run & Hike store in Carbondale puts on the event, said he believes it is 38.

“It’s a small, funky, fun race,” he said. “It’s a locals’ race that people know and want to keep it that way.”

Those not up for the challenge can do a downhill 4-mile race that also finishes at the fair.

More details are at http://www.independence​runandhike.com.

Even harder on the lungs and legs is the Audi Power of Four Trail Run, an ultra race traversing all four of Aspen Skiing Co.’s ski mountains — Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass — on Aug. 7. That accounts for 12,178 feet of elevation gain and 11,632 feet of elevation loss.

The 50-kilometer race, which starts at the base of Aspen Mountain and finishes in Snowmass Village, is the crown jewel of the trail races slated for that weekend. Other events include a 10K and 25K (Tiehack to Snowmass) on Aug. 7, as well as a race up Aspen Mountain on Aug. 6.

Prize money will be offered to the top three finishers in the 50K, 25K and Aspen Mountain climb, including $1,000 to the 50K winner.

For more information, visit http://www.aspensnowmass.com/while-you-are-here/events/audi-power-of-four-trail-run/schedule.

The Aspen Backcountry Marathon is set for the next weekend, on Aug. 13, with $600 going to both the male and female victors. The race starts and finishes at Rio Grande Park — Ducky Derby festivities also are at the park that day — with marathoners climbing up the Sunnyside Trail on Red Mountain before hitting various trails (Shady Side, Secret/Jedi, Upper Plunge, Red Mountain Communications Site Road, Four Corners, Hobbit, Hunter Creek Toll Road, Lower Lollipop Trail, and down Smuggler Mountain Road, among others).

New this year is a 21K, which also takes runners up Sunnyside and down Hunter Creek Trail. More details on the races, which are presented by Aspen Parks and Recreation, are at http://www.aspenbackcountrymarathon.com.

If running downhill on asphalt is your pleasure, not to mention achieving fast times, try the Basalt Half Marathon on Aug. 20. This year’s event marks its 40th edition, making it one of the oldest races in the Roaring Fork Valley. The race starts near Ruedi Reservoir and goes down Frying Pan River Road into downtown Basalt. The drop in elevation is about 1,000 feet. More info is at http://www.basalthalfmarathon.com.

The Salomon Golden Leaf Half Marathon, which is sold out, is a fall tradition that attracts runners from all over the state. The race starts at Fanny Hill in Snowmass, taking runners to Government Trail. It traverses both Snowmass and Buttermilk, dropping runners into the Marolt Open Space. A few blocks on West Hopkins are the lone stretch of asphalt before runners finish at Koch Lumber Park. There’s an elevation gain of 980 feet, mostly in the race’s first 5 or 6 miles, with a descent of 1,712 feet.

Go to http://www.goldenleafrace.com for additional info.