For the mountain masochists that walk among us, the Breck Crest marathon, half-marathon and 10K returns on Sunday for its 18th running.
“It’s one of those quintessential Breckenridge events,” event coordinator Jeff Westcott said. “You’re above the tree line for so long. It’s very unique.”
Run by Maverick Sports Promotions, the three courses start at Breckenridge’s Riverwalk Center and head up toward the Tenmile Range along Wheeler Pass Trail. The tamer 10k stays on trails below tree line.
“You’ve got to earn your way up there,” Westcott said. “It’s definitely challenging.”
Challenging may be an understatement. The marathon course includes around 4,700 feet of elevation gain and a fair amount of the course is on singletrack at or above tree line.
For those brave enough and fit enough to tackle the marathon course, they will be treated to high alpine vistas as they run on trails near the summits of the Tenmile Range before heading back down the Miners Creek and Peaks trails toward Frisco and back to Breckenridge.
“The degree of difficulty makes it a special challenge,” Westcott said. “It’s something you definitely need to prepare for.”
It’s not just course length and elevation gains that will challenge runners. At those altitudes courses also become very technical and rocky.
Unlike road running, “trail running requires your attention,” he said.
The half marathon includes much of the same climbing on the Wheeler Trail, but breaks from the full-length course at the Peak Nine service road and Wheeler Trail intersection.
“It’s amazing how many different abilities participate. It blows me away who does this event. We have people anywhere from 20 to 60-plus,” Westcott said.
The race gets underway Sunday with 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 start times. Registration is open and ongoing and includes day-of sign up. $5 from every entry goes to the Summit Foundation, a local nonprofit that allocates money to other area nonprofits through grants.
More race information can be found at www.mavsports.com