Leadville local

Leadville local Alison Rudy races up Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire during the National Alpine Mountain Running Championship on April 30. 

Leadville sisters Gwen and Alison Rudy placed fifth and sixth out of some of the country’s top runners in a grueling vertical race up Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire last month. 

The vertical race on April 29 covered about four miles and 1,900 feet of elevation gain with tree roots and slippery rocks along the way. But the tough conditions were no match for the Rudy sisters, who are also trained ski mountaineers. 

The sisters raced separately for most of the course, with Alison a ways ahead of Gwen until the end stretch, where they reunited. Gwen Rudy recalls her younger sister a few steps ahead of her walking toward the finish. A friend of theirs was standing on the sidelines and called out to Alison Rudy, “Don’t worry, no one’s behind you — except your sister!” 

Alison Rudy, who was on the verge of being sick at that point, turned around and saw that her sister was in fact gaining on her. She then sprinted to the finish line with some newfound determination. “It was pretty funny,” Allison Rudy recalled. “It was kind of my knee-jerk reaction.” 

The sisters ended up finishing about nine seconds apart from each other and exchanged laughs as they crossed the finish line. They even qualified as alternates for the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships next month in Austria. 

Race day marked another exciting achievement for Gwen Rudy. On the morning of April 29, the United States Ski Mountaineering Association reached out to inform her that she’d made the 2023-2024 National Team after several successful qualifying events throughout the season. 

Gwen Rudy was one of four women in her age division to make the cut, and she’ll have a chance to race in the world championship events in Europe this summer. 

The sisters train for ski mountaineering, vertical races and ultramarathons year-round whenever they get the chance, which often involves some early mornings. When they aren’t out exerting themselves, Gwen Rudy manages her own acupuncture practice at Nourish Day Spa and Alison Rudy tutors for Project Dream’s after school programs. 

Looking ahead, Gwen Rudy hopes to win the triple crown during the Broken Arrow Skyrace in Tahoe, California next month and is also traveling to Switzerland to race around Mont Blanc with fellow Leadville ultrarunner Annie Hughes. 

Alison Rudy received a running scholarship from the All In Trail Collective, which is helping her finish up her outdoor education degree at Colorado Mountain College. She wants to inspire other runners and create more equity in the sport by starting an after-school trail running program for local students. 

This summer, Alison Rudy is excited to run the Silver Rush 50 Run and hopes to receive a coin to compete in next year’s Leadville Trail 100 Run.  

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