Since Saturday's race, it seems there has been a growing number of people going to "the internet" to take the Leadville 100-Mile Run organizers to task for some snafus that occurred during the event. While many of these gripes hold validity (runner safety, transportation, aid station access, traffic, etc.), I think it's important for folks to take a step back, share their concerns directly with the race organizers (which I plan to do via a letter) and let the organizers respond. (Update: I have a call into the RD and hope to hear back from him.)
I love Leadville. I love the town. I love the people. I love the race. I love the course. I love the mountains. I even love the annoyances. There will never be a perfect race. Yes, Lifetime Fitness, which took ownership of the Leadville Race Series in 2010, has allowed some issues to get out of hand. For one thing, the field is now way too big and the race infrastructure and local roads simply can't support a thousand runners and their crews out there. But let's give Lifetime the opportunity to assess what happened over the weekend and do the right things--because I believe Lifetime is now facing its "come to Jesus moment" with the race. I for one very much hope the process will involve direct engagement of runners, crew members, locals, law enforcement and others closely associated with the race.
Whether or not I return to the Leadville 100 as a racer next year is yet to be determined. I've already booked a cabin for the weekend, just to be on the safe side. Honestly, it's hard for me to imagine myself anywhere else next August, even as I readily admit there are several other races that interest me (Angeles Crest, Wasatch, Western States, the Bear). I do plan to enter the Western States lottery, but I doubt I'll get in, and it's not like the other races I'm interested in are easy to get into, either.
As a parting shot, I hope the Leadville race organizers speak up soon. There's a lot of criticism swirling right now and Lifetime Fitness needs to respond meaningfully very soon. Some task forces will probably need to be created in order to address some problems (and I'm more than glad to participate in the process). Whatever happens, I hope Lifetime engages the "Leadville nation," rather than try to fix everything itself--because that's a recipe for failure.
Even as the Leadville Race Series is owned by Lifetime, it's really owned by the town of Leadville. And it always will be.