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Run Wild: The Best Trail Running Races in Colorado for Summer 2024

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Discover Colorado’s top trail running races for summer 2024, featuring challenging courses, stunning mountain vistas, and unforgettable adventures. These races promise thrilling experiences for trail runners of all levels.



Best Trail Running Races in Colorado for Summer 2024

Colorado’s rugged terrain and breathtaking landscapes make it a premier destination for trail runners. From towering mountain peaks to scenic valleys, the state offers a diverse array of races that challenge and inspire runners of all levels.

Each summer, Colorado hosts some of the most prestigious and grueling trail running events in the United States, attracting athletes from around the globe who seek to test their endurance and experience the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. These races are more than just competitions; they are journeys through some of the most stunning and challenging terrains in the country.

Whether you’re a seasoned ultra-runner or a marathon enthusiast, Colorado’s trail running races provide a unique opportunity to push your limits and immerse yourself in nature.

In this article, we explore five of the best trail running races in Colorado for the summer of 2024, highlighting their unique features, course details, and what makes them standout events on the trail running calendar. From the high-altitude challenges of the Leadville Trail Marathon to the rugged beauty of the Hardrock 100, these races offer something for every trail runner looking for their next big adventure.

Colorado offers a diverse array of trail races that showcase its stunning landscapes and challenge runners of all levels. Here are some of the top trail running races in Colorado for summer 2024:

Leadville Trail Marathon & Heavy Half

Date: June 29, 2024
Location: Leadville, CO

The Leadville Trail Marathon and Heavy Half are iconic races that take place in the historic mining town of Leadville, Colorado. Starting at 10,200 feet and reaching up to 13,185 feet, this race is known for its challenging climbs and breathtaking views. Participants navigate steep ascents and technical descents, making it a true test of endurance and skill. The race covers old mining roads, singletrack trails, and scenic vistas of the Rocky Mountains. The Heavy Half, at 15 miles, offers a shorter but equally demanding option for runners looking to experience high-altitude trail running.

Aspen Backcountry Marathon

Date: July 13, 2024
Location: Aspen, CO

The Aspen Backcountry Marathon takes runners through the beautiful and rugged terrain surrounding Aspen. The course highlights the area’s pristine wilderness, with trails that wind through aspen groves, wildflower meadows, and along ridgelines with panoramic mountain views. This marathon is well-known for its challenging elevation profile, featuring over 4,000 feet of vertical gain. It’s an ideal race for trail runners seeking a mix of technical trails and stunning natural beauty​​.

Pikes Peak Marathon

Date: September 21, 2024
Location: Manitou Springs, CO

The Pikes Peak Marathon is one of the most storied and challenging trail races in the United States. The race begins in Manitou Springs and climbs to the summit of Pikes Peak at 14,115 feet before descending back to the start. This marathon is famous for its grueling ascent, with a vertical gain of over 7,800 feet. The high altitude and unpredictable weather conditions add to the challenge, making it a bucket-list race for many trail runners. The breathtaking views from the summit and the sense of accomplishment make this race unforgettable​.

Aspen Valley Marathon

Date: July 13, 2024
Location: Aspen, CO

The Aspen Valley Marathon offers another opportunity to experience the beauty of Aspen’s backcountry. This marathon follows the scenic Rio Grande Trail, which runs alongside the Roaring Fork River. The course is predominantly downhill, providing a fast and scenic route through the picturesque landscapes of the Roaring Fork Valley. This race is perfect for those looking to combine the thrill of a marathon with the stunning scenery of Aspen​​.

Hardrock 100

Date: July 12, 2024
Location: Silverton, CO

The Hardrock 100 is an ultra-endurance race that takes runners through the rugged San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. This 100-mile race is known for its extreme difficulty, with over 33,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. The course traverses high-altitude passes, remote trails, and includes several river crossings. The Hardrock 100 is not just a race but an adventure, attracting some of the best trail runners in the world. The race’s motto, “Wild and Tough,” perfectly encapsulates the spirit of this grueling challenge.

Conclusion

Colorado’s summer trail running races are a testament to the state’s unparalleled natural beauty and the spirit of adventure that defines its outdoor culture. From the steep ascents of the Leadville Trail Marathon to the awe-inspiring vistas of the Aspen Backcountry Marathon, each race offers unique challenges and unforgettable experiences. These events are more than just tests of endurance; they are celebrations of the rugged landscapes and the camaraderie among trail running enthusiasts.

Participating in these races allows runners to connect with nature in profound ways, navigating through alpine forests, crossing rushing streams, and summiting high peaks. The sense of accomplishment and the memories forged on these trails stay with runners long after they cross the finish line. Whether you’re tackling the relentless climbs of the Pikes Peak Marathon or the extreme endurance test of the Hardrock 100, Colorado’s trail races push you to your limits and inspire you to achieve new heights.

For those seeking to blend athletic challenge with scenic beauty, Colorado’s trail running races are the perfect adventure. They provide an opportunity to explore some of the most stunning parts of the state while testing your physical and mental fortitude. As you plan your summer racing calendar, consider adding these premier events to your list. They promise not only a great run but also a deep appreciation for the magnificent Colorado wilderness. So lace up your trail shoes, prepare for the high altitude, and get ready to experience some of the best trail running races Colorado has to offer in 2024.


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