The world of extreme running will visit Copper Mountain Resort this weekend for two days of racing that share one thing in common: some serious elevation gain. The resort will host the first — and what organizers hope will be annual — La Maratona Verticale running festival, a stop on the inaugural 2014 U.S. SkyRunner Series. The event will feature a full and half marathon on Saturday, followed by an extreme Vertical K 5K run Sunday.
Both the half marathon (13.1 miles/21K) and full marathon (26.2 miles/42K) will include considerable gains on Copper Mountain’s extensive network of trails. Organizers expect the marathon to include around 8,000 feet of elevation gain. The half will feature roughly 4,000 feet of climb.
“The whole concept of sky running is definitely new in the United States,” race spokeswoman Alyssa Godesky told the Daily. “When you’re talking about sky running, you’re purposely picking the trails that gain the most vertical.”
Already popular in Europe, sky, ultra and vertical class runs continue to gain popularity in the states. This year’s U.S. SkyRunner Series is a domestic expansion of the international SkyRunner World Series.
Sky races are typically between 22K and 50K, with at least 1,300 meters, or about 4,265 feet, of vertical gain. Ultra marathons are runs that exceed marathon length. Vertical runs include around 1,000 meters of gain and do not exceed 5K in distance.
Sunday’s Vertical K 5K will include over 4,000 feet of gain over a 3-mile course.
“It’s a different style of running,” Godesky said of the three events. “You run a little bit. You hike a little bit. It’s definitely a different kind of accomplishment than your typical road races.”
This weekend’s races will join last year’s Ultra Race of Champions (UROC) 100K and 50K runs as growing events in the world of extreme trail running. UROC — also founded by Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports, the organizers of this weekend’s races — will return for its second year Sept. 6. Like La Maratona Verticale, this year’s UROC will start and finish at Copper Mountain — last year’s started in Breckenridge and ended in Vail.
“We think there’s a lot of potential,” Bad to the Bone founder and Frisco resident Francesca Conte said of the growth of extreme trail running events. “We’ve seen a great response from mountain runners. There’s a great market here in Colorado for more of these harder mountain events.”
Race registration is open and ongoing. Day-of registration will also be available prior to the start of each race.
Both the marathon and half marathon will start at 6 a.m. Saturday, July 26. Sunday’s Vertical K 5K will start at 9 a.m.
More information is available at www.badtothebone.biz