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 some of which I have completed and others that are still on my list.
I’d love to hear about yours too! I’ve 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 22nd:
Looking for some adventure this winter?
This 4ish mile winter obstacle course includes snow tunnels, walls, a log carry, lots of steep hills, 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 7th:
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.
Valkyrie Trail Race, May 30th:
Check out this Women’s only trail and ultra event in the scenic Cheyenne mountain park in Colorado Springs. There are distance options for everyone including a 4 Mile, Half Marathon, Marathon, and 50k, plus costumes are encouraged! Courses are all single track trail with mild elevation gain and technical terrain, perfect for newer trail runners! Learn more HERE.
Beti Bike bash, early June TBA:
Join the largest women’s mountain bike event in the world! The Beti Bike Bash includes an industry expo where you nerd out on the latest gear, demo a new bike and purchase trendy apparel.
The main feature is a women’s mountain bike race with options for all abilities, ages and experience levels including a Never Ever (first race), New Moms and youth categories which I love! Learn more now HERE.
Ragnar Trail relay, June 12-13th:
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 and join the L2S women’s team (and save $) now HERE.
FIBArk, June 18th-21st:
2020 marks the 72nd anniversary of FIBArk, the nation’s oldest whitewater festival and Salida’s signature event. Every June during the spring snow runoff, “First in Boating on the Arkansas” commences. The event has grown massively and now includes activities of all types including mountain biking and trail races for all levels, a variety of events on the water including a SUP race, a parade, golf tournament and pretty much everything under the sun!
Attending FIBark is a rite of passive for any Coloradan, native or new. Learn more HERE.
Lake Dillon SUP triathlon, July 11th:
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
Indian Peaks off-road triathlon, August 1st:
Located only 21 miles west of the triathlon mecca Boulder, Colorado, the XTERRA Indian Peaks Triathlon will take you up and into the beautiful trails of the Eldora Nordic Center. The 1000m swim OR SUP, 22km two-loop mountain bike course and a 7km trail run end at the Indians Peak Lodge where you can enjoy live music, food trucks, beer, and great prizes. New this year is a sprint distance event too! Learn more HERE.
The historic, legendary and somewhat mythic sport of Burro racing is a unique piece of Colorado history that should definitely be added to your resolution list or at the very least your bucketlist.
So what’s the story behind burro racing?
The most recognized narrative goes like this: “two miners found gold in the same location and raced each other back to town to be the first to stake a claim to the find. Neither could ride their animal because of its load, so one of the basic rules of burro racing was established.”
Others claim that burrow racing was born “when drunken miners in a Leadville bar sought a way to make some money in a less back-breaking manner than with pick and shovel.” As according to the Western Pack Burro Ass-ociation.
Either way, the sport has fallen into the spotlight more recently as it has gained attention and popularity from Colorado trail runners who thirst for novelty and more adventurous challenges.
There are races throughout the summer in a variety of mining towns including Georgetown, Leadville and Fairplay. Most events include a short and long course option ranging from 15-30 miles respectively and typically involve climbing up and over a high mountain pass.
Rules dictate that each burro be equipped with a regulation pack saddle, packed with prospector’s paraphernalia and must include a pick, shovel, and gold pan. The combined weight of these items must be a minimum of 33 pounds and following the example of the event’s forebearers: no riding your burrow! It must be led by rope for the entire distance of the event, just hope you don’t get a stubborn ass!
Learn more about Burro racing and view the event 2020 line-up now HERE.
Grand traverse September 5th-6th:
The Grand Traverse is a unique endurance series that entails three epic high alpine events including a backcountry ski race in March plus a trail race and mountain bike race over the same weekend in early September. The course for each event is similar, racers will travel on a point-to-point route from Crested Butte to Aspen across the Elk Mountain range gaining an average elevation of 7300 feet! The series is not for the faint of heart (or legs) but the scenery is what will take your breathe away. Learn more HERE.
Endurance Race series:
The Endurance Race series is considered to be Colorado’s largest trail race series with 7 events in diverse locations and options for beginner, intermediate, and experienced trail runners.
Whether you are looking for a stroll along the water, some scenic single track, or a challenging hill/ mountain course, the ERS prides itself on offering the best trail race experience and atmosphere in the industry.
Each event offers multiple race distance options (5k-half marathon), great course support, kid’s races, and finish line festivals that the entire family can enjoy with music, full breakfast and plenty of beer of course! Learn more now HERE.
Kids Mountain goat race series:
Mountain Goat Kids Trail Run Series is the nation’s first organized youth running series focused on getting children on the trails. Courses are set on single and double track trails and are guaranteed to challenge the kids both physically and mentally. Events take place all summer at various trails across the front range and high country.
Event options for all ages including:
– MINI GOATS (4 years and under): .5 miles–1.0 mile run course
– JUNIOR GOATS (5 year to 8 years): 1.5 miles–2.0 mile run course
– SENIOR GOATS (9 years to 13 years): 5K run course
——–> 2020 schedule TBA but follow MTK on Facebook to be alerted for when new events are added! Learn more HERE.
Camps and other events:
Trails in Motion film festival
A social night of drinks and inspirational trail running and mountain films! Spring/summer TBA soon! Follow the main page for updates HERE.
Rocky Mountain trail running camp:
The highlight of this epic 3 day experience entails coached trail runs through the most scenic high alpine landscapes in Colorado. During your stay you will also learn how to improve your running through interactive sessions with expert guest speakers, unwind during pilates/yoga recovery sessions, savor gourmet food and drink, luxury cabin accommodations and enjoy other high mountain activities with your new friends from all over the world! Learn more/sign up now HERE.
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.
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 trail running programs:
Weekly coached runs at trails across the front range!
Program options include Couch to Trails (train up to 5k), Beginner trail running program (train up to 10k), Training group (train for 1/2 marathon distance) and new this year a women’s ultra training group!
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!
Life’s 2 Short Fitness Mountain biking programs and club:
Women’s beginner Mountain biking course and Mountain biking training group with coached and social group rides at different trails across the front range!
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.
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
Life’s 2 Short Fitness organizes training programs and outdoor adventures for Colorado women.
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.