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Trail of the Week: Leadville Trail 100 Course

Get a closer look at the 100-mile journey Leadville runners go on.

Our Trail of the Week feature is made possible through a partnership with Trail Run Project.

One of the most famous ultramarathons in the U.S. takes place Sunday in Colorado, as runners will take off from the old mining town of Leadville for the Leadville Trail 100.

So what exactly are these runners in for?

The course is an out and back from downtown Leadville. The primary obstacle is the formidable 12,600-foot Hope Pass, near the apogee of the course. That section is simultaneously the most beautiful and most painful part of the race. Hope will threaten to drain just that from you as you dig deep to get up and over. And since it’s an out and back course, you’ve got to do it twice.

The notorious Powerline section is the first and last significant climb of the course. This brutal section accounts for more than 4,000 feet of vertical change and is characterized by loose, rutted, consistently steep doubletrack following, well… a power line.

The final crusher is the long stretch of road back into Leadville. By then, you’re 100 miles in and on your way to a coveted buckle—and bragging rights for life.

The Data

Miles: 99.7

Runnable: 90 percent

Singletrack: 35 percent

Average Grade: 5 percent

Max Grade: 40 percent

Total Ascent: 13,904 feet

Total Descent: -13,903 feet

Highest Elevation: 12,506 feet

For a closer look, check out the interactive map, data, photos and virtual run simulator courtesy of Trail Run Project: