Fear the Deer Trail Half Marathon is billed as “Colorado’s Toughest Half Marathon”. With 2,800 ft of vertical gain in just 13.1 miles, it certainly has our attention! TAUR (TrailAndUltraRunning.com) will be covering the second-ever running of the race. The trail race takes place on May 12th in Deer Creek Canyon Park, just a short drive from Denver. We will also be recording video footage on scene in high definition; you might find yourself in a clip after the race!
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To get the party started, we cornered Race Director Lauren Jones with a few questions about the trail and what runners can expect from the course.
Q: TAUR is excited to feature your event! Can you tell us a little about the history and development of this race?
A: I grew up running the trails in the area. The trails in Deer Creek canyon quickly became my favorite for their challenging terrain and rewarding views at the top. It is a great place to run in the heat of the summer because tall valley walls and large pine and spruce trees shade the trails. There aren’t a ton of tough trail races in the Front Range, most of the good races are in the central mountains at least an hour away. We thought, “this would be the perfect place for a race where it is accessible to all people in the Denver metro area”. This is the 2nd year of the event and we are proud to announce a percentage of proceeds will go to Jefferson County Open space.
Q: The course profiles boasts 2,800 ft of vertical gain. That’s a solid climb in 13 miles! Tell us about the course profile and it’s gnarly terrain.
A: Runners should expect some really tough rocky climbs, single track through fields of tall grasses and wildflowers, more grueling uphill miles, and beautiful views of Denver at the top! You will not get bored with this course- it isn’t all uphill then all downhill, and there are not multiple loops. You will visit 2 lookouts and get plenty of fast downhill sections as well. The race is well supported with aid stations and runners can enjoy a great after-race party with free food from Garbazno, beer from Avery and live music!
Q: What can runners expect from this unique trail race event held so close to Denver?
A: A lot of runners use our event as a “training race” for some of the longer more grueling runs of the summer like the Leadville marathon, Leadville 100 and the Pikes Peak marathon. I run up there about twice a week to get ready for Leadville.
Q: What else can you share with us about Fear the Deer Half Marathon?
A: Surprisingly I have never seen a live deer on the trail. I’ve seen a mountain lion and a friend saw a bear. I saw a deer carcass off the side of the trail once so I guess I warn people to be on the lookout for fresh tracks. : )
Q: Where can runners register for this race?