The Leadville Trail 100 is perhaps one of the most iconic of the nation’s ultra-running races. What makes it iconic? First of all, it welcomes anyone willing to try to run 100 miles at an average elevation in excess of 10,000 feet; unlike virtually all other mountainous 100-milers, there is no qualification required to enter its lottery. And once here, most runners quickly sense the support and encouragement of the people of Leadville.
Everyone who competes in the race has their own story of what happened to them between the time they left Sixth and Harrison until their return some 16 or 20 or 25 or 30 hours later.
Yet until Marge Hickman and Steve Siguaw got together, there was no book outlining the race’s history.
That changed this past April when “Leadville Trail 100: History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race” was published.
Both had talked about writing a book, and Hickman got started first, but when she contacted Siguaw for some statistics, he offered to be her co-author.
Hickman has been associated with the Trail 100 race since its start in 1983.
“My ultrarunning dreams and passions were born on Aug, 27, 1983, as I watched the first Leadville Trail 100 unfold while helping director and race creator Jim Butera orchestrate the first grueling event,” she said.
Siguaw ran the first race in 1983, but did not finish. In 1984, both Hickman and Siguaw ran and completed the race.
Since then, Hickman has completed 14 Trail 100s and holds the record for the woman completing the most races.
Siguaw is an 18-time finisher of the Trail 100 and has served as statistician for the race since 1983.
Butera had long wanted to establish a 100-miler in Colorado, and first envisioned a race route between Aspen and Vail. When those cities turned him down, he was encouraged to consider Leadville. Butera was race director for the first two years.
Ken Chlouber and Merilee Maupin have been involved with the race since 1983, and have worked tirelessly over the years, with the help of many in the community, to build the “Leadville Race Series” into what it is today.
Perhaps the best-known of the series’ ten races and training camps is the 100-mile mountain bike race, which exploded in popularity when ex-Tour de France champions Floyd Landis and then Lance Armstrong decided to compete. Landis came in second to Gunnison’s Dave Wiens in 2007, and Armstrong suffered the same fate in 2008, but Armstrong came back to beat Wiens in 2009.
The notoriety and challenges of the races caught the attention of Life Time Fitness founder Bahram Akradi, who finished the mountain-bike race in 2009. In 2010 Chlouber approved the sale of the race to Life Time; he and Maupin retain positions within the race organization.
Hickman and Siguaw’s book describes every year’s race with high points and facts about each. This is interspersed with personal accounts from various runners. For example, during the 1997 race, Marge and Mike Hickman married on top of Hope Pass. In 1988, Marshall Ulrich experienced his first Trail 100. Ulrich also wrote the forward to Hickman and Siguaw’s book. In 2013, Bill Finkbeiner completed his 30th consecutive Trail 100, and in the book he describes his record of race completions.
It wasn’t difficult getting runners to describe their experiences at the Trail 100.
“They jumped right on it,” Hickman said.
Whole chapters are dedicated to the Tarahumara runners, female course-record-holder Ann Trason, Life Time’s purchase of the race and more.
The book also contain the names and statistics of everyone who finished the race in under 30 hours between the first race in 1983 through 2018.
The authors are careful to attribute their information to a variety of sources including running magazines, many books and the Herald Democrat, which covered the races from 1983 on.
Hickman and Siguaw went through Amazon to get the book published, and it is for sale on the Amazon website. Books are also available at Leadville Outdoors.
The book became available in mid-April and Hickman was elated to sell ten the first day.
She said they’re considering a second edition including 2019 and future races, or a separate book.