With a later race start of 9 a.m. and race day packet pick-up, this half marathon is a perfect way for runners living in Colorado Springs to drive up the same morning.
This race couldn’t have asked for a better day… The starting temperature was close to 60 degrees, and the sun peaked out just enough to highlight the beautiful mountain backdrop without burning runners along the course.
The first three miles of the course went through town and were pretty much flat. There was a small trail section around Mile 3 that went significantly up, but it lasted for less than a mile, and then runners ran back down the same way. The trail portion was not so great for runners that are not used to trails as there were plenty of rocks and uneven ground. However, as long as runners kept their eyes on the ground ahead of them, then it wasn’t too much of an issue.
The course then took runners back through Copper and up to the bike trail leading up the pass. The website said that runners would only go up the pass for three miles, but the 5 Mile marker was right at the start of the bike pass, and the turn around spot was just after Mile 9… So, hopes for only three miles of up were quickly dashed.
The last four miles of the race were down, down, down, which was both nice and hellacious– An odd mixture, but there were times when t it was great to not have to propel the body upwards and other times when thigh muscles were separating. The finish was awesome as the race officials really made sure to announce each runner as they approached the finish line, and of course, it finished on a downhill.
On a personal note, I led the women runners until mile 7, and when stomach cramps sidelined me, I was determined to not ruin my great run thus far by not placing. So, refusing to listen to the protests from my body, I continued on and ended up placing 3rd overall for women and 1st in my age group (20-29F). The man who won the race was smoking fast (seriously, even the lead biker couldn’t keep up with him), and the two women who placed ahead of me were in the 40-49 and 50+ category, respectively. Those women are awesome!
The race gave out nice medals for age group placers, and there was plenty of food and refreshments afterward. Also, runners could get a free beer in their finishers beer mug, which many runners did happily partake.
The only negative comment about this race (and keep reading, because it turns into a positive) was that they were out of small and medium shirts for those picking up packets the morning of or those registering. In their defense, they had a lot of people show up the day of the 10k, and those runners took the smaller shirts. However (and here is where it turns to a positive), runners could choose a technical hat in place of the shirt, and that hat rocks! I was so happy that I was “forced” into choosing the hat, because in all honesty, I have enough race shirts, and the hat really is cool with the Copper Mountain Half Marathon logo and wicking ability.
This race is not great for the scenery and course but also is a great event to take the kids and entire family since they have a kids race and of course, Copper is beautiful, especially on Independence Day! Thanks to the race organizers and RunColo for the opportunity to run this onet, and of course, thanks race organizers for putting together a stellar event.