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Vail Trail Half Review

It’s finally time to recap half marathon number 23, the La Sportiva Vail Running Series at Camp Hale in Colorado.

This race was a part of the sponsored by La Sportiva and Honey Stinger. The series runs all summer long and hosts races in the Vail resort area so you get to run in some of the most beautiful places. Some of the courses are really hard with lots of elevation and some are “relatively flat” (more on that later).

These definitely have a home run feel but have a lot of great support and amenities because of the great sponsors!

This half marathon was described as a “relatively flat” course and was run at Camp Hale which is about 20 min outside Leadville. The camp has a really cool historical past since it was established in 1942 to prepare troops who were being shipped to the Alps and mountain regions of Europe. Because of this they warn you not to pick up or touch anything that is an unknown foreign objects. Most of the barracks are no longer there, but there are a few concrete bunkers still there.

Okay on to the race.

Because I was feeling cheap, I decided to make the 2.5 hour drive from Boulder to Camp Hale the morning of the race instead of staying in a hotel or camping. The night before I tried to rest but a lot of Saturday was continuing to unpack and organize since we had moved into a new apartment the week before.

I woke up at 4 and was on the road by 4:45 leaving myself time when I got there to get my bib and shake off the drive. I got to Camp Hale around 7:15 giving me 45 minutes to get my bib and warm up. The morning was cool and drizzly which was awesome since I had been running in the summer heat.

The start area was very relaxed and the race was small which was nice. The drizzle stopped and the sun started coming out which made for a beautiful morning in the mountains.

With the countdown it was time to go! The course started out on a gentle incline up, and up, and up. Basically the first 7 miles were a gentle incline. There were only a few sections that were so steep that walking was more efficient.

This was the route we ran:

The “relatively flat” course was kicking my butt. I had been doing some trail running but wasn’t quite prepared for this much climbing… or running at 9,000 ft. I was getting my butt handed to me.

But I can’t deny the beauty that is found out on the trail. Really, that’s why I run trails.

After climbing consistently for the first 7 miles we finally got some downhill. Sweet relief! It was getting warmer but I was really enjoying running through the rolling hills. I was not prepared for “relatively flat” to mean 1000ft of climbing, I was thinking 700ft and did not look close enough at the course map. I had done some trail running but not nearly enough to be fully prepared for this course.

After running the final dirt roads it was in to the finish line area where there was a ton of support. I grabbed my tshirt and swag bag before making my way to the food table where donuts were had!

There was lots of food, water, and gatorade at the finish, plus there was a raffle. Lots of great things were given away but I am not that lucky at raffles so it was not surprising I didn’t win anything. The swag bag was legit though!

Overall, it was a beautiful and challenging race. Plus, want to know a secret? It was only $35 dollars! Yeah – that’s right I only paid $35 for a race with plenty of water stops, lots of great pre and post race support and awesome give-aways. Seriously awesome!

I can’t wait to run another race in this trail series and will definitely be running more next summer.

So do you run trails? Why or why not? What do you love about it? What intimidates you? Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Vail Trail Half Review”

    1. Yeah, flatness is definitely a HUGELY relative thing. Oh man… I’m hoping to do a Ragnar soon, maybe out here in Colorado. Any tips for a first timer? Thanks for reading!

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