In a state where outdoor recreation is a way of life, Coloradans don’t stow away their sneakers during winter. Register now for these wintertime races that range from traditional 5ks and marathons to fat bikes and uphill snowshoe treks.
Emma Crawford Coffin Race
Oct. TBA, 2021
In 1889 when Emma Crawford died of tuberculosis, her final wish was to be buried atop nearby Red Mountain. Her fiancé honored her command, but rainfall tempted fate and released her coffin down the mountainside. Emma’s body was never found, but the coffin became a rallying point for this modern-day race where period-dressed racers roll coffins up Manitou Avenue.
New Year’s Eve Resolution 5k
Dec. 31, 2020
Washington Park’s beloved Resolution Run is a time-honored tradition. Post-race music, food and drinks set your night on an energetic, runner’s- high-induced trajectory. After the race, continue the countdown at one of Wash Park’s neighborhood breweries, like Grandma’s House on Broadway.
Rio Frio 5k On Ice
Jan. 29–31, 2021
The Rio Grande River is a powerful force of nature, carrying snowmelt from Colorado’s San Juan Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. This lifeblood of the Southwest is awe-inspiring from its banks, but race organizers in Alamosa want runners to see and feel the landscape from the river itself. Hard-packed ice permits racers to run directly on the Rio Grande and experience a newfound appreciation for the waterway.
Colorado Cup Snowshoe Race
Jan. TBA, 2021
The people of Leadville are hardcore. Each August, elite athletes run the Leadville Trail 100-mile race (yes, 100 miles!). Not to be outdone, winter residents lovingly founded a 26.2-mile snowshoe race. A marathon is not for the faint of heart, but those who endure are rewarded with racer camaraderie and one heck of a bucket list item.
Feb. TBA, 2021
Winter biking is growing exponentially in popularity. But don’t take our word for it: Join fat-bike enthusiasts at Copper for a nighttime race down ski runs and through the resort’s picturesque village. Newbies can rent demos and kids can enter the LittleBike race. Fireworks and winter warmers await finishers.
Vail Mountain Winter Uphill
Feb. TBA, 2021
Vail visitors are used to swishing down world-class slopes. Not so in February, when racers charge up 2,200 vertical feet from Lionshead Village to the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. The Winter Uphill is a la carte: Choose from running, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or any other winter transport you can fashion.
Run Through Time Marathon
March TBA, 2021
For the habitual long-distance runners out there, put Salida’s Run Through Time on your list. Elevations of more than 7,000 feet and views of the Arkansas Valley have made it a favorite among trail-running junkies. A half marathon and 2-mile option are also available.
Additional Heart-Pumping Winter Races in Colorado:
- Rim Rock Marathon, Grand Junction, Nov. TBA, 2021
- Chasing Santa 5k, Colorado Springs, Dec. 5, 2020
- Estes Park Frost Giant 5k and 10k, Jan. TBA, 2021
- Owl Creek Chase at the Nordic Festival, Feb. TBA, 2021
- Leadville Ski Joring Competition, March 7–8, 2021
- Frozen Dead Guy Days Coffin Races, Nederland, March TBA, 2021
- Desert RATS Trail Running Festival, Fruita, April 16–18, 2021
Tips for Running in Colder Weather
- Footwear: Less mesh equals less potential for wet feet. Depending on the race, consider buying running crampons that will give you more traction on ice.
- Clothing: Don’t forget Colorado’s mantra: layers! Our high elevation means you can be in a T-shirt one second and a heavy jacket the next.
Tip: Dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature.
- Fabric: Wear fabrics that wick away moisture, especially on your feet, where cotton harbors uncomfortable chilliness.
- Efficiency: Gloves, face masks and hats help maintain your body heat.
Tip: Put hand warmers in your shoes and gloves.
- Warm-Ups: Avoid shocking your body with a sudden drop in temperature. Instead, warm up inside before heading out.