Breck Crest run looms this Labor Day weekend
While many Summit County folk enjoy a barbecue and beer on Labor Day weekend, others will be trekking in the peaks of the Tenmile Range, racing for position or against their own personal best marathon, half-marathon and 10k times.
This year’s Breck Crest Mountain Marathon will mark 17 years of what local runners call the most quintessential Summit County sporting event.
“It’s a Breckenridge-style event in that it utilizes some of the most pristine and extreme terrain Summit County has to offer,” said race coordinator Jeff Westcott of Maverick Sports. “When you think about Breck, you think about nature, backcountry, the Tenmile Range, great skiing, great hiking, great biking. The Breck Crest is the premiere, big, one-day running race in Summit County.”
Marathoners and half-marathoners start up at 7:30 a.m., and 10k racers begin running at 7:45 Sunday. Overall winners in the marathon get cash prizes while first place in each age group for each event get medals.
It all starts and ends at the Riverwalk Center, with no changes in the course. Runners head past Beaver Run Resort and kick up the mountain on the Burro Trail. Competitors then scale the Tenmile, hitting a number of trails before a swift descent from the Peaks Trail down to the finish line at the Riverwalk.
“The Crest is just beautiful once you get on top of the Tenmile Range,” Westcott said. “It’s hard work getting there, but the views are rewarding. It’s a Breckenridge tradition.”
Although a normal marathon is 26.2 miles – and the Breck Crest offers a 23-mile version – Westcott said the shorter distance is more than sufficient.
“In a trail marathon, you don’t need to have the length set at 26.2, because of the difficulty,” Westcott told the Daily in 2009. “There’s a great deal of climbing, you’re above treeline, and it crosses over the Tenmile Range twice. It just doesn’t need to be any longer.”
It’s a race for serious marathoners as well as the individual who can make the cutoff time and just wants to finish. Like Sharon Crawford, whose absence this year will mark just two years she hasn’t attended the race. In her upper years, Crawford is pictured on the mavsports.com website enjoying the race.
Then there’s 28-year-old Nikki Arcieri, who has run the full marathon twice and the half-marathon twice. She’s back for more this year.
“It’s such a unique race in that it has so much vertical. It has something like 5,500 feet of climbing. The profile keeps it interesting, with two major climbs,” she said, adding, “The Burro Trail and Peaks Trail are beloved local trails to be on. … It has maintained this low-key sense about it, but it’s my favorite race of the whole year – and I do a lot of races.”
For Arcieri, despite sucking wind and trying to watch the clock to beat her own personal best time, the best part of the race is in the middle atop the Tenmile Range.
“You can see everything. It lends itself to spectacular views of the county and what’s on the other side,” she said. “It’s exclusively on singletrack, which is nice. It’s a greuling race. It’s definitely challenging. … You can only focus on the task at hand as you’re running. It has enough interest to keep you occupied.”
The tough race is put on with help from volunteers who haul food and water into remote aid stations, who Arcieri commended for their effort.
Day-of registration for all three races is available at the Riverwalk start/finish area, beginning at 6:30 a.m. For more information, visit mavsports.com.
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