The Boulder Mountain Marathon and the 10 Mile Ascent will both take place on Sunday May 15. The marathon will start at 7:00 AM at the historic Gold Inn located in downtown Gold Hill around 8,300′ above sea level. The 10 mile ascent, formally the Firefighter Four Mile Challenge, will start at 9:00 am at the Adventure Lodge at the base of Fourmile Canyon (~5,778′) before working its way up to the top of Gold Hill. On Friday, course designer and Gold Hill resident Joe Grant took attendees of the Flatirons Running Happy Hour through his vision of the course.
The Boulder Mountain Marathon is just 10 days away! The race starts and finishes in Gold Hill and makes a lollipop loop on dirt roads and the Switzerland Trail. All proceeds go to the Fourmile Fire Department. I will be giving an overview of the course at the @flatironsrunning happy hour tomorrow evening at 5:30pm. Come join us! The course is currently in great condition. https://www.strava.com/activities/566570176 Let’s hope for more good weather this week! #boulder #trail #marathon
The Boulder Mountain Marathon Course preview
From the start, the race heads out on a steady climb on Gold Hill, a wide, dirt road, through about 2.5 miles and 8,685′, where runners will turn left onto the Switzerland Trail where they will enjoy a gentle descent between 2-4% grade through ponderosa pine and aspen forests while taking in spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
At the bottom of the grade at about 7.5 miles, is the small hamlet of Sunset and the first Aid Station. There runners will navigate what feel like a private driveway before taking a right onto the Pennsylvania Gulch where they will face a challenging 2 mile climb of 5-9% grade to the highest elevation on the course at 8,960′. At the top, runners will take a right on a short out and back in order to reach the next aid station. This little jog is not on the adjoining map but will be well marked with arrows and a course marshal.
After the aid station, it’s a long slow descent along the Switzerland Trail for another 4+ miles around the base of Bald Mountain and into the parking lot on Sugarloaf Mountain and the next aid station.
From there is another gentle 4 mile descent along the Switzerland Trail back to the hamlet of Sunset and the aid station. Runners now double-back ascending on the Switzerland trail for another 4 miles to its junction with Gold Hill Road where racers will turn right. But it’s not all downhill yet, another mile and a half push before cresting the hill leading back down to town and the finish line at Gold Inn. The course should measure just about 26.2 even though Strava measures it at 26.5. But as course director Joe Grant quips, “it’s close enough for a trail race”. Despite the knarly looking elevation profile on the map, the course only gains about 3,000′ of total elevation.
Ultra Runner Gina Lucrezi was excited for the opportunity for a trail race to be held in Boulder’s backyard. “You can’t do any trail racing in Boulder proper. Granted it’s up the road a bit, but it’s close enough that it counts it would be really cool to be involved in something like that and participate. That’s why I am stoked to give it a go”
Note: The course has been updated to avoid the short up and down on Sugarloaf Mountain. You can view Joe’s updated route on Strava.
The Boulder 10 Mile Ascent preview
Again, the 10 mile ascent will start at 9:00 am at the Adventure Lodge at the base of Fourmile Canyon (~5,778′) before working its way up to the top of Gold Hill at 8,300′ sharing the same finish line as the marathon. The road is paved up through the town of Salina and past the Four Mile Fire Department Station #2 when it turns to dirt the rest of the way.
Afterwards there is an Apres Ski Party at the Gold Hill Inn sponsored Trail Runner Magazine and Salomon. There will be plenty to keep you hanging around after the race, so bring some dry clothes to put on and join the party with a live bluegrass band, delicious food from the Gold Hill Inn and Real Athlete Diets, beer from Avery Brewing Co, raffle prizes from RAD, Salomon, Suffer Better, Trail Runner and more.