In 1982, the Climax Molybdenum Mine closed, taking with it the jobs of 3,250 Leadville, Colorado residents. Leadville resident and eventual race founder, Ken Chlouber, knew that something had to be done to get the community back on its feet. In 1983, with just 45 runners making the epic 100-mile trek through rugged Rocky Mountain terrain, the Leadville Race Series was born. Today, the world-renowned series hosts thousands of racers on foot and in the saddle. Year after year, endurance Athletes from all over the world test their grit, guts and determination with the ultimate goal of “Racing Across the Sky” and earning the coveted silver and gold buckle.

“We gave birth to, not only the Leadville Trail 100 Run, but a completely different ultra concept. Our motivation was family. What could we do for Leadville and what could we do for you. ” Founder, Ken Chlouber

Leadville Trail 100 Run

The legendary “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile run is where it all started back in 1983. The race where legends are created, and limits are tested. One hundred miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain — from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet. Throughout the 50-mile out and back, runners will be confronted with a climb up to Hope Pass (12,600 ft elevation) not just once, but twice, and will encounter a total of 7 peaks. Dubbed as one of the most challenging ultramarathon runs in the country, it is no surprise that frequently fewer than half of the participants will make it over the finish line within the allotted 30-hour time limit. However, despite setbacks, many runners keep coming back for more year after year to earn the coveted Leadman and Leadwoman titles. 

For more information regarding the Leadville Trail 100 Run taking place on August 18th, click here

Leadville Trail 100 MTB

In 1994, 11 years after the inaugural run, the mountain bike race was added to the series. The Leadville Trail 100 MTB is the United States’ second largest 100 mile marathon bike race, boasting an incredibly challenging 50-mile out-and-back course starting and finishing at 10,152 ft elevation. Accrued elevation gain of approximately 11,000 ft comes at the hands of major climbs including a 3,224-foot ascent (miles 40-50) to the Columbine Mine standing as the highest peak at 12,424 ft. The descent is then followed by notorious Powerline at mile 80, and St. Kevin’s at mile 86. 

For more information regarding the Leadville Trail 100 MTB taking place on August 11th, click here

Event Participation Selection

This year, under the race management of Life Time Fitness, the Leadville Race Series will be celebrating its 36th Anniversary of the Leadville Trail 100 Run and its 25th Anniversary of the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. In recent years, participation has been so sought after, that the only way to gain entrance into the 100-mile events is through lottery selection, event qualifiers, or by registering on behalf of a Leadville Race Series charity partner. This year the race is expecting about 800 runners to start and about 1800 mountain bikers to start.

If participant hopefuls are unsuccessful in the lottery process and still wish to participate in the Leadville Trail 100 Run, they have the option to race one of the qualifier events to earn their spot. Each Leadville Qualifying Series race provides 25 qualifying slots to the Leadville Trail 100 Run, based on the total number of registered runners at each qualifier event. 

Same goes for those wishing to enter the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. Participants will have the option to race one of the qualifier events to earn their spot. Each Leadville Qualifying Series race provides 25-100 qualifying slots to the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, based on the total number of registered riders at each qualifier event.

Participants for both the run and bike have the option to skip the lottery entirely and guarantee their entry by registering with a charity partner. Running on behalf of one of the official charity partners not only guarantees individuals a spot in the 2018 race, but also provides them with the opportunity to make an impact in the Leadville community. Follow this link for more info about the Leadville Race Series Charity Partner Program.

Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation

Arguably what sets this series apart from its competition is its unparalleled impact and commitment to its host community of Leadville, Colorado. Through these races the Lake County community has thrived. In 2012 Colorado Mountain College did an economic assessment that reported the races brought over $15 million into the County each year. Athletes have fallen in love with this unique town, returning year after year, buying homes, and wishing to give back.

In 2002, the Leadville Race Series created the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation as its nonprofit foundation to formalize a pathway to meet ever-increasing community needs. The Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation fund continues to grow through generous contributions from individuals and corporations, as well as a portion of race entry fees. Since the foundation’s inception, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been contributed with every dollar going directly to meet the needs of the Leadville/Lake County community. Every year in May, $1,000 scholarships are handed out to every Lake County graduating senior choosing to pursue higher education, an opportunity made entirely possible by a commitment to community that started over 36 years ago. Ken Chlouber speaks to this mission, “Our goal for the Leadville Trail 100 Race Series remains the same today, as it was when 45 runners lined up at 6th & Harrison on that early morning in 1983; to make a positive difference in Leadville and each and every one of you.” The contributions made to the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation have helped hundreds of young people get a head start on higher education, an impact that reaches far beyond the highest peaks in Colorado.

It seems only fitting to leave you with words that resonate not just with the men and women who toe the start line, but with all tackling life’s challenges.

“As you stand at the starting line this August, take a moment to reflect on the journey that has brought you to us. The once seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the doubts, the desire to quit – you’ve conquered them all! Over the course of those next 100 miles, never forget that ‘You’re better than you think you are and can do more than you think you can.’ And after you cross the finish line, take that Leadville grit, guts and determination and share it with everyone around you. Together, we can change the world. AND WE WILL!! Family is everything – we love you.” – Ken & Merilee

Help Make a Difference

If you are interested in making a contribution to the LeadvilleTrail 100 Legacy Foundation or to the Legacy Scholarship Program, please send your tax-deductible donation to:

Leadville Trail 100 Legacy P.O. Box 1 Leadville, CO 80461

You can also reach out at (719) 486-1133 or

For more information on the Leadville Race Series, visit the website at