Runners looking to reach new heights will be in their element at the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series.
The Colorado Series features four challenging races, all staged on high-altitude mountain trails. The combination of thin air and picturesque views off mountain ridges will leave runners breathless in more ways than one.
“Altitude is always a factor, especially for those coming from other states,” said Steve Parker, the 2013 age-group champion for the men’s 60-64 division of the XTERRA Colorado Series. “If you live in Colorado, it’s a given and most of us are used to it.”
Temperatures in Colorado can also drop to extreme lows, so the Colorado Series will avoid the winter months. The races in the series are scheduled for April, June, July and October. “It could be snowing one day, and 70 degrees the next, but that is the norm,” series director Victoria Seahorn said of the Colorado weather. “It’s perfect for trail runners, who will show up no matter what the weather is.”
Such was the case in October 2011, when a snow flurry hit Colorado Springs, but the XTERRA Marathon of Trail Races still took place, with more than 200 runners getting to experience a trail run in the snow. “That’s what running in Colorado is all about,” Seahorn said. “The year before, the weather was perfect. Next year, who knows? That’s part of the excitement. We have some races in the summer, and even at that time of the year, it can either be hot and sunny or cold and rainy.”
Because of the sometimes extreme conditions, every race in the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series offers two or more course options – a “short” course for less-experienced runners and a longer course for experienced runners. The short courses are usually 10 kilometers or fewer; the long courses are usually 20 kilometers or longer. There are even two events in June and October that will offer 42K full marathon trail courses.
All of the races in the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series are open to runners of all ages and skill levels. Points will be awarded to the top age-group finishers of each race at the longest distance. However, if there is a half and a full marathon at an event, points will be given to both distances. At the conclusion of the series, each age-group champion will receive a free entry to represent Colorado at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.
“There are a lot of running series in Colorado, but what’s different about the XTERRA Series is that it leads to something,” Parker noted. “If you do well in the XTERRA (Colorado) Series, you can move on to the Nationals or Worlds, and that’s a nice incentive.”