The Leadville 100 ultramarathon race is one of the most grueling in the U.S., in part because the entire race takes place at or above 9,000 feet. What makes its participants sign up, what’s it like out there, and how do they make it through? Writer Tom Ley found out at the 2012 race—and published a must-read story on Deadspin about it:
After 99.75 miles and more than 16 hours of running, Thomas Lorblanchet comes striding slowly down 6th Street in Leadville, Colo. It's almost 9 on an August night, and as he crests a small hill, his way is lit only by his headlamp and the glowing light from the one-story houses that line the street. His strides are short and economical, and his churning legs seem to operate independently of the rest of his body. By his face, you wouldn't even be able to tell that he was running.