When most people set New Years resolutions they set goals like “eat healthier”, “lose 5lbs” or “exercise more often”. While quite vague, these goals also lack a certain element of excitement to me.
My resolutions take a different shape, in the form of various adventures and races I’d like to accomplish before the year’s end. I’ve compiled a list of some of my all time favorite events that I have completed and others that are still on my list and I’d love to hear about yours too! I included some great beginner friendly races plus some epic events worthy of mountain goat status.
Please post links to any events or adventures in the comments section below. Happy training!
Abominable winter obstacle run, February 2nd:
Looking for some adventure this winter?
This 4ish mile winter obstacle course includes snow tunnels, walls, a log carry, lots of steep hills and deep snow and even a sledding section, but watch out for the Yeti in the woods! Finish to hot chocolate, a “mountain man” contest and more winter fun. Learn more HERE.
Snowshoe race for the Cure, March 2nd:
Running at high altitude is one thing, how about a snowshoe race in the high Rockies?
Strap on your snowshoes and join the Susan G. Komen Colorado Snowshoe for the Cure at the Frisco Nordic Center.
This fun, family-friendly event is a Colorado experience that brings together over 1,000 participants to stomp out breast cancer. This mountain town is magical in the wintertime, surrounded by snowcapped peaks and the iconic Lake Dillon.
Learn more HERE.
Back of the Beyond SUP race: May 11th
I participated in this downriver standup paddle board race last year and will hopefully make it an annual event. The course follows the Colorado River through the spectacular red rock canyons of Southeastern Utah and past some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery – through Moab’s ‘Postcard Alley’ and into Utah’s own ‘back of beyond’.
This race is doable for most people with basic SUP experience, down water paddling is quite thrilling and this section is relatively mild as far as rapids go (class 1). Learn more HERE.
Ragnar Trail relay, June 7-9th:
This epic event in Snowmass CO is an adventurous introduction to a trail relay event through beautiful single track terrain through the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The 24 hour relay entails team of 8 taking turns running loops on the mountain trails through lush forests, fields of wildflowers and epic views. The loops range from just 3-6 miles that are minimally technical with small elevation changes. Between laps, enjoy smores by the campfire, take a nap, grab a brew, catch a movie and enjoy the camaraderie of new friends in the camp. Learn more HERE.
The Leadville Marathon and Heavy Half, June 16th:
You know you’ve signed up for a tough race when the elevation at the start line is over 10,000 feet. Run through the historic mining district on challenging old mining roads and trails. Both the distances include a “summit” of 13,185 feet at Mosquito Pass. The course includes many tough, steep climbs and rocky roads, complete with baby doll head sized rocks and plenty of loose gravel to keep you on your toes. Learn more HERE.
Lake Dillon SUP triathlon, July 13th
This bucket list event includes stand-up-paddle boarding, mountain biking and trail running. The course is simply stunning with views of the surrounding snow capped peaks and fields of vibrant wildflowers- a 2k paddle across lake Dillon, 12k mountain bike, 5k trail run. The trails are intermediate level with some short, steep but sweet climbs and endless views. Learn more HERE
Xterra Phillip S Miller Park, August 5th
- Includes a 5k/10k and 20k course options.
The 5k course contains just 300 feet of climbing, enjoy rolling hills with short climbs and quick descents, perfect practice for those new to the trails. The trails are smooth and wind through bushes and brush with occasional scenic views of Pikes Peak and Castle Rock.
There is plenty to do for the entire family at this venue post run. The Philip S. Miller Park’s outdoor space includes a playground with 60-foot slide, a 200-step challenge staircase, a turf field, and the Headrush Towers—40-foot and 80-foot towers that kids can climb up, repel down, or even free fall from. Learn more HERE.
Pikes Peak ascent 1/2 and full marathon, August 18th -19th:
Each year, Coloradans take on the grueling endeavor of hiking up a 14,000 foot peak, but running up one is an entirely different animal.
This event takes runners 7000 feet up the gorgeous and challenging Barr trail to the summit of Pikes Peak, one of Colorado’s most iconic landmarks. Celebrate the accomplishment in the thin air at the summit and catch a ride back down or for the overly ambitious, sign up for the full marathon and run back down the mountain. Your legs and lungs will thank you later. Learn more HERE.
Imogene pass Run, September 7th:
I knocked this event off my list back in 2011 however this popular high mountain race is a top priority for trail runners across the world so I thought it was a worthy add to the post. Registration opens in early June and it is rumored that if you aren’t quick you could lose the chance for a spot within minutes. Starting in Ouray, Colorado the scenery looks like something out of the Sound of Music. After the initial road out of town you begin climbing and don’t stop until you reach the top of the 13,114 foot pass, just over 7 miles in.
The last 10 miles are an exhilarating downhill on a dirt road into the town of Telluride where a cheering crowd and post run festival will await you. If this event has been on your radar I will share my top training tips I give to all of my athletes: Focus on improving your power hiking and do a handful of long downhill runs to prepare your structural system for the sustained pounding. Check out my post with tips and recommendations for long climbs to get some ideas of great places to train locally.
Learn more about the Imogene Pass run HERE.
Endurance Race series Snow Mountain Ranch trail race, September 21st-22nd:
- Includes a Half Marathon, 10k and 5k options
No better time to see Granby, CO than in the Fall! This event will keep the runners surrounded by the changing colors and falling leaves and the sudo-flat course can be deceiving, but voted “Most Beautilful” on the ERS schedule. If you are just starting to trail for a longer trail race, keep this event on your radar! If you dont know where the YMCA of the Rockies is located, then you are missing out on one of Colorado’s hidden gems. Located 14 miles North of Winter Park, the Ranch offers more trails than anywhere else in Colorado. A full service resort includes mountain biking, a pool, horseback riding, fishing, archery, mini-golf, zip lining and more activities to create an exciting weekend for everyone in a beautiful mountain setting. Learn more HERE.
Bear Chase trail races, September 29-30th:
- 10k, half marathon and ultramarathon distances included
This event combines a variety of distance events at Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood, CO. The course includes rolling hills, single track trails through woods and open meadows, mostly smooth, rock free trails with minimal climbing and depending on the year possible creek crossings!
This course is fast, fun and so close to Denver and great for those new to trail running or first time ultra runners! Learn more HERE.
Moab trail adventure 5k, 1/2 marathon and marathon, November 2nd-3rd:
There was no better way to describe this event then to take the copy directly from the website: “This adventure 5k run/walk features natural and manmade obstacles including running under an arch, through a cave,use of hand-line to go up and down a small cliff, up two ladders, two creek crossings, running through a two gigantic culverts, crossing a sand pit,over a rock maze, completing an obstacle course, and other FUN and Exciting obstacles.”
The half marathon course sounds just as fun and adventurous, “you will travel through narrow canyons with spectacular vertical walls on both sides and along the rim-tops of deep canyons with spectacular vistas every direction. The terrain changes frequently to keep the miles clicking and includes narrow single-track, rugged jeep trails, sandy washes, ‘Moab-style slickrock’, a short section of dirt road, a few sections of no-track, a very old mining trail and a couple sections of fixed line traverse. In the distance are the beautiful 12,000 foot La Sal Mountains. You’ll pass by several arches, lots of lizards, some really cool and funny looking rocks, possible eagles and hawks, some neat ancient pictographs, a couple small creeks and springs.” The weekend event line-up also includes a kids adventure 1k!
I don’t know about you but I am tempted to go out for both the 5k AND half marathon and bring the kids to participate in the 1k too! Learn more HERE.
Camps and other events:
Trails in Motion film festival
A social night of drinks and inspirational trail running and mountain films! More spring/summer dates added soon!
Active at Altitude running camps:
Multiple camps spring-fall
You will find out why when you experience trail running in the majestic Rocky Mountains! This camp includes six days focused on trail running, with expert coaching, interactive group trail runs, workshops on physiological training and mental training, floor or yoga session, video of running form, great food, camaraderie, and more…
The Estes Park area is an incredible area for trail running; challenging, inspiring and breathtaking. Miles of trails with choices varying from easy to extremely challenging.
Becoming Ultra trail running camp:
Join local Colorado coaches, trail/ultra runners and a panel of expert guest speakers for a weekend in the high Rockies for clinics, epic training runs, 14er AND 13er summits, yoga/pilates, gourmet chef prepared food, luxury cabin accommodations, drinks and other activities.
– Run untouched trails
– Meet new friends from all over the globe
– Push yourself…..or don’t. Your pace!
**Shorter run options will be available for those not interested in ultra running distances.
Training programs and groups:
Looking for some help training or want the camaraderie of training in a group? Check out some of the local options below!
Denver Trail runners:
Local co-ed group that meets weekly at different trails across the front range for social trail runs
Life’s 2 Short Fitness women’s training group
Weekly coached runs at trails across the front range to train for a summer trail race.
Women Trail Runners of Colorado:
This group is for all women who want to learn more about trail running! Post your questions and let’s share resources, insights on training, gear and our adventures on the trail!
Women mountain bikers of Colorado:
Ditto but for women who love mountain biking or are new to the sport and want to learn more!
Women SUP Colorado:
Ditto but for women who love standup paddle boarding or are new to the sport and want to learn more!
Switchback Chics of Colorado:
Community for Colorado women who enjoy hiking, backpacking, skiing, mountain biking, SUP and more! Free community events.
Women’s Beginner trail running course:
5 week program that includes coached runs and clinics with expert guest speakers
These sites have great event calendars where you can find a database of most all trail races in Colorado and across the world plus additional information on training, gear, nutrition and more!
American Trail Running Association (ATRA):
Trail race calendar, newsletter, community advocate and annual trail running conference.
Jeffco Open Space:
TONS of resources and events to learn more about Colorado wildlife, trail work/volunteer opportunities and listings of all Jefferson county parks and trails.
Trail runner magazine:
Articles with info on training, races, gear and more.
Insightful articles and posts highlighting women’s experiences and adventures in the outdoors
Trail Run Project:
Discover new trails where you are! Articles + trail database, trails ranked by difficulty with reviews from local trail runners.
Mountain Bike project: find the best trails near you for mountain biking! This app ranks trails like a ski hill
~ Lauren Jones
L2S founder and adventure coach
L2S organizes training programs and outdoor adventures for Colorado women. We just launched our 2019 “Race team”!
Join us to train for and complete some of the above events and adventures with us this year! Learn more about becoming a member and our programs now HERE.