This September 7th athletes around the world will have a new highest road marathon and half marathon to add to the extreme sports bucket list: The inaugural Rocky Mountain High-est!
Starting and finishing in the historic town of Leadville, Co. at the breath taking elevation of 10,152’ the race runs an incredibly scenic paved route along the bases of several of Colorado’s 14,000’ peaks.
The town of Leadville is no stranger to iconic athletic events, having hosted the Leadville Race Series, including trail 100 mountain bike and trail 100 running events, for decades. The Rocky Mountain High-est Road Marathon and Half Marathon will round out Leadville’s annual offering with an early Fall race, coinciding with the changing of the leaves, and cementing the cache as a premier racing destination for both trail and road runners.
The race is presented and staged by GECKO (Give Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors) a 501(c)(3) non profit created by passionate ultra endurance athlete Morgan Murri, who is a 5 time Leadville trail marathon, 4 time Leadville trail 100 run and 5 time Leadville trail 100 mile bike finisher including a 2013 podium place for his race on a single speed. “My love for the community of Leadville is tied to more than 20 years of racing and training in the town and making friendships and achieving accomplishments that have shaped my life. Our desire with this event is to offer that experience and share the amazing history and beauty of this community with a broader range of athletes. The challenge of this event is simply focused on the altitude. The accomplishment comes in completing the race while enjoying all the beauty here, in both the local people and the scenery. Even if it means you are little cross-eyed as you view it!” Says Murri.
Murri has teamed up with Australian Mike Le Roux as Race Director to stage world-class events, which Murri started in his hometown of Pagosa Springs Colorado, in 2008. Le Roux brings a wealth of experience to the mix, including his own racing background, having won the 2010 Ultraman World Championships and currently holding the record for 100 miles on trails in Australia. Le Roux and Murri have been working tirelessly with the town of Leadville and Lake County to create a route that will inspire runners from all over the world. The Rocky Mountain High-est skirts Turquoise Lake and winds through the bowl beneath the 14ers of the Sawatch mountain range. The course is mostly flat with some gentle climbs and plenty of downhill.
In addition to the race, GECKO will continue its charitable work of “paying it forward” and getting kids "unplugged, off the couch and outside.” Rocky Mountain High-est will include a kid’s only free fun race. Additionally Murri is liaising with Leadville schools for local applications for GECKO scholarships. To this end GECKO has also worked closely with long time friend and local Leadville businesswoman, Donna Chapman, to ensure that the race reflects the community and their needs. Chapman, an entrepreneur with interests in several Leadville businesses including City on a Hill Coffee & Espresso, Leadville Outdoors, Leadville Running Company and Two Guns Distillery, commented “I am elated to have the opportunity to partner with a quality organization like GECKO and excited to showcase Leadville to a new running demographic. Leadville Outdoors and Leadville Running Company are aligned with Morgan and Mike’s passion of giving back to the community and children. I have witnessed, through participating and spectating, Morgan’s team seamlessly execute top-notch events in Pagosa Springs. GECKO’s events are motivating, challenging, fun, organized, and provide recurring benefit to the community. “
Registration for the event is currently open at www.joingecko.org. All GECKO events are listed here.