Kara Goucher Shares Why She’s Leaving Roads for the Leadville Trail Marathon

From Runner’s World
By Lisa Jhung

Photo by Billy Yang/Lifetime Fitness

The two-time Olympian will make the high-altitude event her trail running race debut.

All I had going for me in my attempt to keep up with Kara Goucher were the rocks. The two-time Olympian and 2:24:52 marathoner is relatively new to trail running, and on our car ride over to a trailhead in Boulder, Colorado’s, Chautauqua Park, she claimed to be “terrible at it.” And so, to abate my own fears of being dropped by the pro—even on a casual run—I chose a particularly rocky and technical route.

The purpose of our jaunt was to chat about Goucher’s transition from road racing to trails. After a disappointing DNF because of an injured hamstring at January’s Houston Marathon, the 40-year-old athlete hinted via Instagram that she wanted to take her running “in a new direction.” She told Runner’s World after the race, “I have my eye on a race in June, but it is not on the roads.”

That goal race, she revealed to Runner’s World, is the Leadville Trail Marathon on June 15. The 26.2-mile course, located roughly two hours from her home in Boulder, winds through rocky, rugged terrain and tops out at 13,185 feet in elevation. It’s a far cry from the road routes Goucher is used to—and will certainly demand a different style of running.

“I’m scared of downhills, especially,” she admitted on our drive to the trail. She explained that while she grew up running on trails in Duluth, Minnesota, and frequented nearby mountain trails while on the University of Colorado cross-country team, for many years she became what she calls a “surface diva.”

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