Runners to benefit high school programs |

Runners to benefit high school programs

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Runners and mountain bikers will take the test of Aspen Mountain on Saturday with the 20th annual Aspen Mountain Summer Uphill to benefit the Aspen High School cross country running program.
Dale Strode/The Aspen Times |

Runners will take steps to support the Basalt and Aspen high school cross country programs in coming days.

First, the 38th annual Basalt Half-Marathon will return Saturday to raise money for the Basalt High School cross country teams.

Then, one week later, the 20th annual Aspen Mountain Summer Uphill will be held to bolster the Aspen High School cross country runners.

The Basalt Half-Marathon, one of the region’s longest continuous footraces, once again will take runners from the base of the Ruedi Dam to downtown Basalt via the Fryingpan Road.

Ron Lund, the longtime cross country coach at Basalt High School, is the race director.

Runners will take buses from Basalt Middle School at 7 a.m. Saturday to the start at the dam.

The start for the downhill 13-miler is 7:45 a.m.

Race-day registration will be from 6 a.m. to 6:50 a.m. at the middle school.

Advance registration is available online at

The annual half-marathon is a popular speed workout for runners gearing up for late-summer or fall marathons.

Aspen Mountain Summer Uphill

The summer Aspen tradition of the uphill climb up Aspen Mountain is back for the 20th running on Saturday, Aug. 16.

The popular climb — for runners and mountain bikers — will be nestled in the buildup to the USA Pro Challenge, the Colorado bicycle stage race that will start with the Aspen/Snowmass Circuit Race on Monday, Aug. 18.

With race preparations in full swing, the uphillers will take off to benefit the Aspen High School cross country running program, led by head coach Chris Keleher.

The Aspen Mountain Summer Uphill will start at the base of Aspen Mountain on Summer Road just above the Silver Queen Gondola patio.

The 4.5-mile course will follow Summer Road to the top of Aspen Mountain with a finish at the Sundeck restaurant (3,400 feet of climbing).

Aid stations will be located along the course, including one at Bonnie’s Restaurant.

Entry is $20, tax deductible.

Entrants may preregister at the Ute Mountaineer in downtown Aspen until 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, or on race day starting at 7 a.m. at the Silver Queen Gondola patio.

The mountain bikers will start at 8 a.m. on Aug. 16.

The running/hiking wave will start at 8:15 a.m.

Multiple awards and prizes will be presented.

The running record for the summer uphill was set in 1998 by Jeremy Wright at 45 minutes, 24 seconds.

Megan Lund holds the women’s record at 56:06, set in 2003. Megan Lund Lizotte is a former prep standout at Basalt High School who went on to run at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. She’s currently a professional runner based in San Diego and Aspen.

The mountain bike record is held by Keegan Swirbul, a recent Aspen High School graduate turned pro road cyclist. He’s currently racing in the Tour of Utah with his Bissell Development Team.

Swirbul climbed Ajax in 49 minutes, 53 seconds on a bike last summer to set the record.

In two weeks, Swirbul and his Bissell teammates will compete in the USA Pro Challenge stage race in Colorado, starting with the Aspen/Snowmas Circuit Race on Monday, Aug. 18.

Stage 2 of the USA Pro Challenge will start in downtown Aspen on Tuesday, Aug. 19, taking the riders to Crested Butte via Highway 82, Basalt, Carbondale, Highway 133, McClure Pass and Kebler Pass.

The Aspen Mountain Summer Uphill is sponsored by the Ute Mountaineer, Paradise Bakery, The Chalet Aspen, The Airport Business Center Foundation, Aspen Sports Chiropractic and Alpine Bank.

For information on the Aspen Mountain Summer Uphill or the Aspen High School cross country running program, contact Keleher at 970-319-7519.

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