I’m currently training for the Leadville 100 Trail Run, which is set for August 22-23 of this year. The course begins and ends in the highest city in North America, Leadville, and the other 99 miles include 15,600 feet of elevation gain/loss as the trail winds through extreme Rocky Mountain terrain. I’ll have 30 hours to complete the course, and fewer than half the participants finish. Why on earth would I attempt this? Well, get caught up on the story here:
Leadville 100 Pt. 1: A Friend Like Humpty
Leadville 100 Pt. 2; Leadville Fever
Leadville 100 Pt. 3: The Scariest Click;
Leadville 100 Pt. 4: Good News or Bad News?
Leadville 100 Pt. 5: Running For My Life
The first forty miles of the course are considered warm up miles. (That’s what I thought, too…Forty miles…A warm up?) Some Leadville 100 veterans say the real race starts at mile 40, which happens to be where you begin a 3,400 ft. climb that takes a runner well above tree line and over an oxygen deprived Hope Pass.
Once a runner navigates the five quad thrashing miles coming down the backside of the pass, they have officially reached the halfway point—mile 50. Most runners are utterly exhausted at this point, and the reality of turning around and doing it all again is too much for some to handle. This is the point when a number of runners gracefully bow out.
If a runner can peel himself out of the chair at the 50-mile medical checkpoint, they are rewarded by being allowed pacers for the remaining 50 miles. A pacer is a saint-of-a-soul who is willing to forfeit a night of sleep, run through the dark of the night in the middle of nowhere, endure below freezing temperatures, and tolerate a grouchy, and at times, incoherent runner.
I couldn’t be more excited about the dear friends (some may call them “suckers”) who have agreed to pace me. They are the type of men I want by my side when things get hairy. They’ll alternate sections running next to me, help me stay on course, carry much needed food and water, and keep me going when I don’t feel like taking another step. Apart from my amazing wife, they are the real heroes in all of this.
One of my three pacers is Matt Ayers (in addition to Bobby Mikulas and Travis Hearne). Matt beat the odds last year by finishing the Leadville 100 in his first attempt! He’s a salt-of-the-earth guy who has been a real ally for me throughout this journey.
Matt is also the executive director for the Dream Centers of Colorado Springs (DCCS). This is a phenomenal ministry that is committed to coming alongside some of the most vulnerable people in Colorado Springs.
I can’t think of a better pacer than Matthew, and I can’t think of a better organization to partner with than DCCS. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be raising money for DCCS through the Leadville 100.
The mission of the Dream Centers of Colorado Springs is to provide health and hope for people working to rebuild their dreams. There are currently three core programs that operate under DCCS: the Women’s Clinic (free, holistic, state-of-the-art medical care for uninsured or underinsured women), Mary’s Home (transformational housing program for homeless single moms and their children), and Adopt-a-Block (community development program). Much more information is available at www.dreamcenterscos.org.
I can personally testify to the fruit of this ministry because I spent two years counseling women at the Dream Centers Women’s Clinic. I spent hundreds of hours sitting with women at the Clinic, listening to their heartbreaking stories, and watching God bring healing and restoration in powerful ways. These women were provided with medical care and counseling free of charge, and I watched as one woman after the next received hope and healing. It was absolutely beautiful, which is why I’m so passionate about supporting the work of DCCS.
I want to invite you to consider pledging towards my Leadville 100 run. This is a great opportunity to support a ministry that is committed to coming alongside the broken, vulnerable, and hurting….
Which is probably how I’ll feel when I see Matt’s smiling face at mile 60.
Thank God for people—and ministries—who come alongside others.