Face of the Race: Leadville Race Series Race Manager Paul Anderson
The Blueprint for Athletes Leadville Race Series wouldn’t be what it is today without the dedicated team members who make it an unforgettable experience. Over the coming months, we’ll sit down with a few of the faces behind-the-scenes to learn more about what drew them to the two-miles-high lifestyle. Today, we’re catching up with our Race Manager, Paul Anderson.
LRS: What brought you to Leadville?
I originally came to Leadville to pursue a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership at Colorado Mountain College. After graduating with an Associate’s Degree, I worked for several years as a rock-climbing instructor in the Black Hills of South Dakota guiding climbers in the Needles and Devil’s Tower. I returned to Leadville in 2013 to work full-time on the Leadville Race Series as a Production Manager.
LRS: How long have you been with the Leadville Race Series? What did you do before your new role as Race Manager?
This will be my 5th season working with the Leadville Race Series and I previously served as the Production Manager.
LRS: Care to share a fun fact about yourself?
For the past four years, I have competed in the Leadville Pack Burro Race during Leadville Boom Days. Last year, I helped Leadville Race Series founder Ken Chlouber bring a trailer load of burros to Leadville for the festival and my personal journey of raising a burro began.
LRS: When you’re not managing a race, where are we going to find you?
Training my burro, Al Dean.
LRS: How do you ‘train’ a burro?
Before this year, I’ve always rented a burro to run with for the Pack Burro Race since I didn’t own one myself. Borrowing a burro has worked well for me and I’ve improved my finish time each year. However, if I wanted to take my burro-racing skills to the next level, I really needed to train with a burro year-round so we could develop a bond and work as a team. Training consists of exposing the burro to any situation that may be encountered during the race course, such as bridges, creek crossings, ledges, trees, vehicle traffic, etc.
LRS: And what is the Pack Burro Race like?
Burro racing is said to have originated from the old mining days. When two prospectors would discover gold in the same location, they would race back to town in order to be the first person to file a claim. The Leadville Pack Burro Race course is 22 miles, starting in downtown and running all the way up to Mosquito Pass at 13,185’.
You run the course just as you would a trail run, but you’re also leading a burro the entire time. It takes a lot of upper body strength because you’re handling a lead rope and navigating the course with an animal. The race is as much, if not more, about animal handling skills than it is about running.
LRS: Where is your favorite spot to grab a bite in Leadville?
Gringos on Mountain View Drive. My order is always the 1/2 lb Whamola burger. It’s a double bacon cheeseburger with a green chili and habanero sauce.
LRS: What’s your favorite part of the Leadville Race Series?
Giving back to and positively impacting the Leadville community such as giving scholarships to all graduating seniors from Lake County High School that wish to further their education, via the Leadville Legacy Foundation.
LRS: What’s your favorite part of living in Leadville?
The view of the Sawatch Range from my kitchen window.
Give Paul a high-five this summer (and ask him about his burro!). We look forward to seeing you in in Leadville in 2017.