Monday, September 1, 2014

Bergen Peak Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, August 30
Evergreen, CO
Half Marathon #115
Colorado Half #51
Weather - sunny and warm

A very small and not very well-advertised race, as soon as I saw Bergen Peak was an official half marathon, I wanted to run it. I have run up to the peak a few times - most recently about a month ago. The race was only $30, so we added it to our schedule.

The race started at 8 am, so we didn't have to get up very early. We dropped off the kids at my parents around 6:30 and arrived with over 45 minutes to the start at the rec center in Evergreen.

I have run much of the area up near the Peak, but since there are so many trails at the base, I grabbed a map - just in case. The night before, the race director sent out an email saying the course would be cup-free. What that really meant was that there was no support at all for the race.

We lined up and started right at 8 - me closer to the back. My calves and legs were very tight and I was walking probably 3/4 of a mile in. The course narrowed early on, so at least the faster people were able to get in front of me. The problem was is that I never really saw anyone again... It is very discouraging for me when my body struggles so much on the "easy" sections of a course. I don't like getting so tired so early on. It is what it is.

We headed up the peak from a different trail than I had run before. I didn't find it nearly as steep as the route I normally run, but that also meant I didn't really know where I was. I didn't run that much on the way up, but I tried to alternate jogging and hiking.

I'm not grimacing, I'm happy :D
I was making pretty decent time (relatively speaking), and when I headed up the one mile switchbacks to the peak I actually saw other runners heading down - including L, who only seemed to be about 15 minutes ahead of me. I managed to pass one older guy near the top. FINALLY, I wasn't going to be LAST.

At the summit
I briefly looked at the view from the top and then began the run down. I am substantially better/faster at the downs than the ups, and somewhere around mile 10 I managed to catch one more runner. She seemed really surprised that I cruised by her.

It was much hotter than I expected and I was ROASTING by the time I got off the mountain, and yet there were multiple people wearing long sleeves and capris. It's like I'm not even in the same climate as everyone else.

Not much to say about this as a "race." We got a nice tech tee, a generic top for their entire trail race series. There was water and bagels at the finish, although I didn't take anything.

I would probably run this again, although L was unimpressed. She does NOT enjoy trail running.

Official Time - 3:14:42
Official Pace - 14:51
Overall Place - 79/82 (4th to last!)
Gender Place - 33/35
Division Place - 15/16
Garmin Time - 3:14:36 (the last time I did 9.5 it took 2:42, so not disappointed)
Elevation Gain - 2,403'
Mile 1 - 11:54
Mile 2 - 11:06
Mile 3 - 14:17
Mile 4 - 16:07
Mile 5 - 21:27
Mile 6 - 26:01
Mile 7 - 21:06
Mile 8 - 14:55
Mile 9 - 12:43
Mile 10 - 12:14
Mile 11 - 10:54
Mile 12 - 13:34
Mile 13 - 11:10

  • This race might have had the least information EVER about the course - since I had at least summited the peak before, I at least knew what to expect.
  • The trail is beautiful. I spent a lot of time between miles 5 and 7 taking pictures - I might have been able to catch a few more people if I wouldn't have done that. (Moving time was 9 minutes faster - so I clearly wasted a lot of time, lol)
  • I really enjoy trail running and this race. It was a lot of fun for me.
  • If they put on this race again I will likely run it.
  • If you run this race - BRING YOUR OWN FUEL AND WATER.  I was really surprised to see the number of people that had no water at ALL. Crazy.
  • I consider myself to be a decent trail runner and I was OUT OF MY ELEMENT on this course. I was the third to last finisher - with for ME a fairly decent time. The people in this race were crazy fast.
  • No crowd support of course, but the trail wasn't closed so the people hiking and biking seemed relatively impressed :D


  1. Congrats on the finish! Running through the trees on the trails would be great as long as I didn't get lost. Great price, too!

  2. Cool race report. I agree, the price is spot on, but I guess for that price they are going to skimp out on the fluid support. I suppose they could've at least put out water somewhere though. For halves I generally don't carry anything, but I certainly would've had I known that there was none there. I really enjoy your pictures and 2400' of climbing is nothing to sneeze at. Nice work!

  3. thanks for the race report. I wanted to do this race. I used to mtn bike there quite a bit - I think it would be fun to run it. I decided to do the Breck Crest Half instead. I hope they have Bergan again but on a different weekend from the BC. BC is ~2900 elevation gain: great race and race promoter. We got pounded with a snowstorm and crazy wind at the top of Wheeler Pass (12,600ft), but it was still fun.

    1. I heard that was crazy up there and that a lot of marathon runners dropped to the half. If you have never run to the top of Bergen - you should!!

  4. love all your photos and self timed selfies. I did download the app but yet to take advantage on the runs. It amazes me how many trail options you have and although I'm not that great at trails, I could learn to be if I lived there :)

  5. no water and no trail closures, and looks like no timing chips either? where do the race fees go? I need to volunteer at few more events to adjust my attitude about race fees at races like these. I hate feeling like I've paid for a "race" that someone else does for free every Saturday morning. I once did a half at the Rose Bowl (a very popular place to exercise) and found myself "racing" amongst jogging strollers and dogs on leashes. No one anywhere near me had on a bib. "Am I still in this race? Where is everybody?" So weird!!!

    1. The did have timing, although I'm not sure where/when results will be posted. We did receive a tech tee. I guess you COULD go out and run for free - I like a race atmosphere, even if I'm the last person on the course. Especially for a trail race, I'm sure some of the registration few goes to the park for trail maintenance and such.

  6. Do you have the garmin map posted somewhere? Would love to see what I'm in for this coming August. Thanks.


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