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‘Like a Lead Balloon’ — When Your First Ultra Is the Leadville 100

Can 'normal guy' Jeff Beecham overcome personal tragedy to complete his first-ever ultra — one of the world's toughest courses?

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The sports world is chock full of stories about elite athletes overcoming injury to win major victories in their respective sports. As inspiring as those stories are, it’s refreshing to find something different every now and then.

Consider the journey of Jeff Beecham. A regular guy, with a regular guy’s body, who just happens to enjoy running the occasional casual marathon or half-marathon. Tapped by La Sportiva to be the subject of a documentary after winning an essay contest, Beecham sets out on the toughest physical challenge of his life — completing the iconic Leadville 100 under the cutoff time of 30 hours. The attempt marks Beecham’s first ultra — ever.

Most of us wouldn’t ever try such a thing. But Beecham’s got a secret weapon. The worst thing that’s ever happened to him has already happened. Running 100 miles through Colorado’s mountains? A piece of cake by comparison.

Pack the tissues for this one. It’s a bit of a tear-jerker. And a note on sensitive content — this video contains a discussion of and footage related to a child’s death.

Runtime: 19 minutes

Lucie Hanes finishing the Leadville 100

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The Distance 1500 headlamp from Black Diamond makes it possible to zone out and plod on all night long without worrying (too much) about surviving until sunrise in a racer like the Leadville 100 Run. Read more…

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