Cirque Series mountain running event returns to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in August
KEYSTONE — Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is just more than one month away from hosting the Discrete Cirque Series, an event touted as “the premier mountain running series in the United States.”
The 6.8-mile race on Aug. 10 at A-Basin will feature 1,890 feet of elevation gain as runners switchback up the ski area’s front-side terrain before turning around at the summit of Little Lenawee Peak. Runners then will switchback down the mountain to the finish line in Mountain Goat Plaza. Aid stations will be located at Mountain Goat Plaza, Black Mountain Lodge at midmountain and at the top of the Lenawee Mountain Lift near the Snow Plume Refuge.
“A-Basin is kind of the perfect place for it in that it’s gorgeous up there, and it’s right under the Continental Divide — dramatic views, dramatic course,” Cirque Series spokesman Drew Petersen said. “One of the things we like about A-Basin, too, is you spend so much time in the Alpine. You really get that feel of getting up high and experiencing that draw of what’s inspired so many of us to get into hiking, peak bagging and trail running.”
Registration is still open, though there is a cap of 500 competitors. Last year, 67% of runners signed up for the sport — or most novice — race category while 28% were expert runners and 5% were pros.
Petersen said Tuesday that the A-Basin race already has registered several top pros, including the top-ranked mountain runner in the country, Joey Gray, as well as top pro runners Dakota Jones, Dani Moreno and Ashley Brasovan.
Last year’s men’s pro race was won by Adam Loomis, of Kamas, Utah, in a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes and 59.8 seconds. Giselle Slotboom, of Salt Lake City, won the women’s race with a time of 1:13:18.8, just ahead of second-place finisher and Breckenridge local Kelly Ahern (1:14:36.3).
Discrete Cirque Series schedule
• June 29: Brighton, Utah
• July 13: Alta, Utah
• July 27: Alyeska, Alaska
• Aug. 10: A-Basin
• Aug. 24: Sun Valley, Idaho
• Sept. 7: Snowbird, Utah
Despite these blazing times and the high-level running of the pros and experts, Petersen said the event is also suitable for more casual mountain runners, evidenced by 82-year-old Ross Westley, of Arvada, who completed the race last year in 3:32:55.06. Petersen noted there is no minimum age to partake in the event.
Top Summit County finishers last year included: Lanie Szuch of Dillon; Teague Holmes of Breckenridge; Jonnah Glassman of Frisco; Jill Seager of Silverthorne; Eva Hagen of Breckenridge; Michael Hagen of Breckenridge; Andy Hardy of Frisco; and Pat Gephart of Breckenridge, among others.
“Our races are really fun courses, and they are really for everyone,” Petersen said. “We get everybody from pro runners all the way to people who hike the course — make that their adventure for the weekend.”
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