Sports

Take a 360-Degree Virtual Run Along the Leadville 100 Trail

Brandon Yonke of Run Infinite on the High Lonesome 100 course.
Brandon Yonke of Run Infinite on the High Lonesome 100 course. Brandon Yonke
On August 21 and 22, daring ultra-runners will be participating in the "Race Across the Sky," aka the Leadville Trail 100 Run. The brutal course attracts racers from around the world willing to test their limits as they hustle between 9,200 and 12,600 feet of elevation. The wildly popular course has always been hard to imagine for many mortals (and even trail runners) — until now.

Morrison-based coaching company Run Infinite just released a 360-degree virtual-reality video chronicling the epic race for those who might want to train for it in the future — but also for the rest of us who are just curious about what the run looks like.

The company had previously released similar videos for the High Lonesome 100 race; treks up fourteeners, including Longs, Grays and Torreys peaks; and various popular Front Range hikes. Each video is accompanied by training plans for those interested in taking on the challenges.

To make the videos, Run Infinite founder Brandon Yonke converted an Ultimate Direction trail-running vest into a sort of wearable tripod.

"I wound up building a frame inside of the backpack using underground sprinkler hosing," Yonke explains.
"It gives it a little bit of structure, but also a little bit of flexibility. And I basically stick the camera out the top of it, about three feet over my head. I'm using a GoPro Max and just let it float above me for however long I'm out."

He and his wife shot the video of the Leadville course, which runs more than seven hours, over twelve weekends this spring and summer. When you play the video, you can scroll in 360 degrees, seeing the landscape in all directions.
While Yonke won't be racing Leadville in 2021, he has attempted to do so before. In 2017, he dropped out at mile marker eighty, and he's returned every year since as a coach.

This year Run Infinite has three racers in the event, and for anyone looking for a new coach, Yonke will be there offering his services — and promoting his company's video series.

"I want to help people find that they are capable of doing whatever their wildest imagination is telling them that they want to do — just finding ways to help people be great and realize their capabilities," he says. "That's kind of where the 'infinite' came from in Run Infinite. I do believe we're infinitely capable of achieving whatever we want to set our minds to."

Watch the video and see if you agree. 
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris