Last year’s highly successful inaugural event at Bear Basin Ranch near Westcliffe, Colorado, drew more than 275 entrants to its 5K and 10K courses, but organizers began eyeing an ultramarathon after several runners requested a longer course.
Among those wishing a longer course were a contingent of Tarahumara Indians from Copper Canyon, Mexico.
The current proposed course would leave the trail system at Bear Basin, following a county road to gain access to more scenic terrain. Organizers are awaiting approval of permits to use four-wheel-drive routes in the nearby National Forest.
Race director Hal Walter chose and designed the current and proposed routes. He says the ultra route will include about 4,000 vertical feet of climbing.
"We had a good number of ultrarunners show up for our 10K race last year and we decided we'd like to offer a race course more to their liking," Walter said. "In addition, we're hoping to forge a long and lasting relationship with the Tarahumara, and a race of this distance is much more their style than a 10K."
The ultra course takes in not only 10K of rugged horse trails on Bear Basin Ranch, but also the rolling evergreen forests and aspen glens of the nearby San Isabel National Forest, offering sweeping vistas of the Sangre de Cristo range, Wet Mountains and Pikes Peak.
The event is held to raise awareness and funding for San Isabel Land Protection Trust. Proceeds will be used to help fund important conservation initiatives in Southern Colorado.
All races will be held June 1, with a much earlier start for the 45k ultramarathon.