Two and a half hours into her 3-hour training run, feet pounding dirt step after step, Lindsey Sachs can feel the tension, and anticipation, in every muscle. What most of us would consider torture, Sachs sees as just another run in her quest to achieve what most would never attempt. “Running is very simple for me—it’s the power of my body taking me from point A to point B—but this is a whole new level,” says Sachs.
This year, Sachs has been logging hundreds of miles while training for the Blueprint for Athletes Leadville Trail 100 Run presented by New Balance. Held annually on trails and dirt roads near Leadville, Colorado and through the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Leadville Trail 100 is known as one of the world’s most iconic and grueling ultra-races. Many athletes consider it the precipice of their athletic career. Sachs, 34 of Minneapolis, Minnesota, along with 749 other ultra-athletes, will climb and descend 15,600 feet in elevation ranging from 9,200 to 12,620 feet.
And Sachs, like most athletes, is looking for the next big thing to give her an edge over the competition. Enter Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services.
Through its Sports and Human Performance Diagnostics clinical franchise business, Quest Diagnostics spearheads services based on medical-grade lab testing to help athletes improve performance. The company is currently piloting its flagship Blueprint for AthletesTM service, which offers customized test panels that evaluate blood-based health markers to provide insights for improving athletic performance. For Leadville athletes like Sachs, insights based on the results may help influence both training and race results.
Kimo Seymour, Senior Vice President of Life Time Athletic Events, feels the new Blueprint for Athletes service will benefit many of Leadville’s competitors, and has signed Blueprint for Athletes as the title sponsor of the Leadville Race Series through 2017. “The ability to work with Quest Diagnostics through its pioneering Blueprint for Athletes service to create a customized and individual plan, based on science, and improve performance is a game changer for the elite athletes our Leadville events attract,” says Seymour.
Participants and attendees of the Blueprint for Athletes Leadville Trail 100 MTB, set for August 15, and Run, set for August 22, will be able to learn more about Quest and the Blueprint for Athletes service at the Blueprint for Athlete’s booth located at the Leadville pre-race expos. In addition, Quest is giving event participants who come to the booth an exclusive opportunity to access the Blueprint for Athletes service for a special rate.
“Leadville hosts the most elite of endurance competitors,” says Richard Schwabacher, MPH, executive director, Quest Diagnostics Sports and Human Performance. “Racers must overcome unforgiving terrain, at times more than two miles above sea level, making it imperative they understand their bodies capabilities. Blueprint for Athletes can help them maximize their athletic performance as they work to achieve their personal best even under extreme environmental stress.”
As for Sachs, one of four beta athletes for Blueprint for Athletes, she feels grateful every time she runs that her body can take her to new places. However, preparing for a 100-mile race is extensive and, as someone who shares her time with her husband and family, career at Life Time and training, she wants to be sure her training choices are smart, and she’s doing what is right for her body. “It’s easy to do what I think is best; what I really value about Blueprint for Athletes and the science it adds to my training and nutrition plans is that I no longer have to guess, I can do what I know is best.”
Quest is currently piloting Blueprint for Athletes in select regions and expects to make the service available nationwide by early 2016. Interested athletes can sign up for more information at www.Blueprintforathletes.com. For more information on the Leadville Race Series, visit www.leadvilleraceseries.com.