Race: Silver Rush 50

Runner: Matt Urbanski

Race Date: 07/06/2019

Location: Leadville, CO

Results: 4th OA, 7:16:14 (https://www.athlinks.com/event/205238/results/Event/709735/Course/1159886/Results)

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2513390307

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. The race is well organized and the event goes smoothly, even in a weird weather year with snow, which forced a course change.
  2. I like out and back style courses with little out and back sections. It’s fun to see other runners and I like being able to see where I am in the race relative to my competitors.
  3. It’s pretty running up in the mountains around Leadville! The route is mainly jeep/dirt roads and minimal single track, but being up high in the mountains is great and I liked the course/aesthetics of it all.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

There was a stretch of tougher rocky trail around mile 16-19ish and repeated on the way back that didn’t work to my strengths. The guys bombing down rocky trail probably liked this part, but for me, it really slowed me down.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

There is a steep uphill to start the race and the first male and female to the top get a gold coin into Leadville 100. Nothing like shocking the body right out of the gate in a 50 miler with a really steep grade to get the heart and legs thumping!

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

  • I managed my effort well. This is the longest I’ve raced since last August so there was an element of the unknown for me. Between miles 20-27 I was feeling worn down and tired, body was a bit achy. I did a mental reset and just slowed it down. I knew I still had nearly 30 miles to go and that the mission for the day was to finish with legs and in control. I got caught by a couple guys during this time, but the reset set me up for a strong second half and a steady strong finish. It was one of the first ultras I’ve run in awhile that I kept my mental game strong on – feels good!
  • I am also really happy with my uphill running. I wasn’t blazing fast, but I was running all the uphills in the second half, and this is where I had my competitive advantage. I would catch people walking and as I made my way toward the last long climb toward 12,000′, I knew I would put time on people in this section – great feeling!

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

  • It’s on jeep trails and wider dirt paths, but there are rocky sections. My Nike Kiger shoes (no rock plate) were not enough protection and my feet were hurting halfway through the race. The section around mile 16 is exceptionally rocky – think a mix of ping pong to softball size rocks, overall mixed with a sandy, movable terrain = not fun or fast in my world!
  • Lots of exposed sunny sections, and it can feel warm as the day progresses. There was a nice little stream we passed a few miles into the return trip. I stopped and soaked myself. It cooled me down and was a good mental refresher too. Well worth the 30-60 second stop!
  • If you can keep your legs for the climbs in the second half, it’ll help you be more competitive in the race.
  • The finish is a bit of an annoyance and can mess with your head if you’re not ready. It’s not a perfect out and back, and as you near the finish, you do this run around the college that feels way longer than it should. It’s probably not much farther, but it’s this quiet single track that loops around before a final 200m finish. I figured it was about 7 miles from the last aid station and it likely ended up being longer, and it probably felt way longer than it actually was – just be ready! 🙂

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Tougher shoes. My feet were hurting!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

I love running in the mountains of CO! Good views, cool to run around old mines, and in general fun mountain run.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I think so. It’s 50 miles, it’s up high, and there’s plenty of climbing. The rocky sections added an element of tough for me.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Lifetime has it down. The entire thing went smoothly.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

No huge names, but plenty of strong runners. And the race is deep with over 500 starters.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Nope. Simple. The race did sell out, but not until shortly before the race. They were sticklers about having your ID to get your packet. I had to run back to my car to get my ID.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Good. They were ready and quick to help me. They were also experienced – they were really fast, which was helpful as I was trying to minimize time at aid stations. I liked that they had cups of Gu Brew as well that I could chug, along with cups of cold water to pour over my head. I relied on my own calories otherwise so I can’t comment much on what they had besides awesome volunteers and fluid refills.

Weather and typical race conditions

Not super hot (like it’s been in Boulder), but the sun makes it feel warmer than the actual temps. We got rained and hailed on during the afternoon but that cleared out and we were back in the sun soon after. The snow kept us just below 12k’ this year.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

I wore my Nathan Krar belt with a bottle and my WAA shirt with pockets. I carried all my gels and was cool with one 16 ounce bottle.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

There were a few spots for spectators. It was nice having good crowds around the Printer Boy aid station and the turn around – definitely good for the spirits!

How’s the Swag?

Normal. Finisher medal, a little pan/bowl for top 3 in age group, and some finisher socks. Standard shirt.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5 out of 5. I’m really happy with this one. It wasn’t overly expensive, it was well organized, had lots of runners, provided great views, and fit perfectly into my summer schedule. Recommend!

Matt Urbanski is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Matt, check out his coaching page.