Skip to content

An Interview with 2013 Silver Rush 50 Run Female Champion Leila DeGrave

2013 Leila DeGraveLeila loves Leadville, and Leadville loves her back. Last Sunday, she crushed the female Silver Rush 50 Run record in her new hometown, and she can’t wait to come back for more in August, when she will run the Leadville Trail 100 Run for the third time.

How does it feel to be a record breaker?

Had no idea that kind of day was going to happen! Definitely a surprise.

Take us through your race: Were you running with a particular strategy?

Well, it’s funny: I basically jumped into the race at the last minute. With Western States 100 two weeks prior, I was totally unsure if my legs were recovered enough for a hard effort. I had barely been running at all, just hiking and biking a bit. So my plan was to go for the coin at the start and win the hill sprint, and then take it easy. Lots of friends were in town for race and I really just wanted to enjoy the day with them. But a couple hours into the race I was surprised that my climbing legs were there and everything else felt pretty good, so I just went with it.

Give us the scoop on your Leadville racing experience. Which events have you done and how many times? Any favorites?

I know — It’s kind of looking like I’m obsessed with racing in this town. Before this event, I had done the Trail Marathon, Silver Rush 50 and the LT100 all twice in the past few years. I ran my very first 100-miler here in 2010, so it’s special to me in that way, but I actually love the marathon and that brutal climb and descent off Mosquito Pass. It’s a really unique course. There’s something about running here in general that’s gotten into my blood and I can’t seem to stop coming back for more!

I also had perhaps my worst race performance here at Silver Rush in 2011. It was a crazy hot day that year and I didn’t take care of myself very well, and after the finish I needed to be carted off to St. Vincent for IV fluids. Lesson learned.

Will we see you at the LT100 in August? If so, what will you focus on in your training and race prep?

Yes, I will most likely be starting next month. Not going to worry too much about getting in many more long efforts, but will still focus on building some more strength and turnover. It’s hard to beat the benefits of running Elbert & Massive on a regular basis. I moved to Leadville two months ago, not specifically for training purposes, but as part of a life change. I’m loving it up here and who knows? Maybe it will be my year to put together a really good day at the 100.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to improve his/her time?

I’ve never been into specific speed or track workouts, but I think hill repeats are a surefire way to get faster. Long sustained uphill running forces you to develop a more efficient stride and better biomechanics, which then translates to more effortless, faster running on the flats. Another easy way is to be very quick in and out of aid stations. I think people don’t always realize how those all those minutes can add up over the course of 50 or 100 miles.

Race nutrition: Are you a science food or real food person?

“Science” food all the way! I used to try real food, and really wanted to make it work, but once I realized I had the stomach to handle large quantities of gels and Hammer Perpetuem in an ultra without any ill effects, I just kept doing it because it worked for me. But I do make up for it with tons of real food afterwards!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks to INOV-8 for their support and to Life Time Fitness for taking the series to the next level. And especially to all the amazing volunteers that stood out in the pouring rain for hours just to help us finish!

Back To Top