Genevieve Harrison of Eagle finishes second in the Leadville Trail 100 Run
Less than half the runners who entered completed the race in the allotted 30-hour time frame
For the runners of the annual Leadville Trail 100 Run, simply completing the grueling 100-mile race is an accomplishment. This year, only 321 of the 681 runners who started the run finished within the allotted 30-hour time frame. And of the 321 that finished, Eagle resident and 34-year-old Genevieve Harrison finished second overall in the women’s division.
Harrison completed the race — which began at 4 a.m. on Saturday and went overnight to Sunday — in 22 hours, 6 minutes and 59 seconds, crossing the finish line at 2:06 a.m. on Sunday, just one minute behind the first-place female runner, Annie Hughes, a 23-year-old from Leadville. Finishing 22nd overall, Harrison averaged slightly over 13 minutes per mile.
“It feels a little unreal, a little surreal. I’m pretty excited about it,” Harrison said. “My goals were not to get in the top three, but just to finish and to beat my previous time, so I was really stoked.”
For Harrison, it wasn’t until mile 87.8 that she realized she was in the top three runners in the women’s division.
“I didn’t really realize my rank until about Mayqueen Aid Station when my husband told me that I was in third, not too far away from second place,” she said. “I felt pretty good at that point. I knew I had 13 miles to go and my sister ran that 13 miles with me as my pacer so that was pretty neat.”
Approaching the finish line, Harrison was cheered on by her family, who live in Leadville right near the end of the route.
“It really feels good to have accomplished the LT 100 just as a finisher, but to get second is such a bonus,” she said.
This was Harrison’s fourth time running the race and only her second time finishing. Her first time finishing the race was in 2017, and the day that she finished she found out she was pregnant with her daughter.
“It was a very emotional day,” she said.
This year, Harrison improved her 2017 time by nearly seven hours, earning herself the “big buckle” for finishing under the coveted 25-hour cutoff.
While Harrison has been in love with running since fifth grade, she really got into distance running and ultramarathons around the same time she started having kids. And since having her son a little over a year and a half ago, she has allowed herself to really dig into the sport.
“This year has been the first year that I’ve dialed in with my running; I’m allowing a lot of my time to go toward running right now and it feels really good,” she said. “I love the freedom of being on trails and being able to see things and experience things that you couldn’t by car or sometimes by bike, just being able to get to places that are hard to get to.”
For her, running these long races is about maintaining the right mindset, and keeping a positive attitude while remembering the reason why she’s out there. This year, Harrison’s why was the nonprofit First Descents, which provides outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer and serious health conditions. Harrison was one of around 15 runners who were running for the charity.
Looking ahead, Harrison will definitely keep running. Plus, there’s a good chance she’ll be back in Leadville to race again next year.
“Being not even 48 hours away from the race, it’s hard to wrap your head around doing something like that again but I really enjoy racing, I love friendly competition and I enjoy seeing how far my body can go, so I’m sure I’ll be back out there,” she said.
The Leadville Trail 100 Run
For Harrison, what makes this race unique is Leadville and its history with ultramarathons.
“It’s just beautiful being up there, and the town and race have such a cool history to it,” she said. “It’s just a really neat, spiritual place.”
The Leadville Trail 100 Run, also known as the “Race Across the Sky,” was started in 1983 as a way to boost the local economy after production cuts and layoffs at the Climax Molybdenum Mine caused a local crisis. Since then, this single race has grown into a series of 15 mountain bike and trail running events, but the famed 100-mile trail run remains the finale event of the series.
The race, which has followed nearly the same course since its inception, takes runners from Leadville to the ghost town of Winfield and back. Over the course of two days, racers gain just under 16,000 feet in elevation, with the lowest point at 9,200 feet and the highest point at 12,424 feet at Hope Pass.
While the race was started locally in 1983, Life Time took over production of the events in 2010 and this year, it was presented by La Sportiva.
Since its inception, the Leadville Trail 100 has made it a point to have a positive impact on the town of Leadville. This year, 66 athletes from the trail run as well as the 100-mile mountain bike race that took place on Aug. 14 raised $150,000 for the Life Time Foundation, which will be given to Lake County Public Schools to keep highly processed food out of meals, while increasing the amount of fresh and simply prepared foods for students.
Additionally, Leadville local Rodrigo Jimenez, who started the race 2.5 hours after the official start, raised more than $72,000 for the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation after passing 660 of the 681 runners on-course, receiving fundraising pledges for each.
Adrian Macdonald of Fort Collins was the first runner to finish the 2021 race. | Life Time/Courtesy photo
Annie Hughes — 21:06:58
Genevieve Harrison — 22:06:59
Blake Wageman — 22:25:20
Michelle Kent — 23:10:20
Tara Richardson — 23:18:51
Ashley Arnold — 23:44:56
Adrian MacDonald — 16:18:19
Matt Flaherty — 16:59:38
Anton Krupicka — 17:07:55
Ian Sharman —17:46:31
Marvin Sandoval — 18:50:41
Rodrigo Jimenez — 19:30:16
For full results, visit AthLinks.com.