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At the Slacker Half Marathon (slackerhalfmarathon.com), once you get to the start line, it’s all downhill from there. With 8,400 feet of descent over 13.1 miles, this race has the greatest negative elevation of any half in the United States. Watch your footing while enjoying views of bubbling waterfalls, old mining fields and herds of bighorn sheep on the point-to-point course. Nestled in Georgetown, Colo., 70 miles out-side of Denver, runners will enjoy the small-town feel of this locally run event.
Explore another section of the Rocky Mountain’s Front Range by driving 12 miles to nearby Idaho Springs, where you’ll find numerous trailheads and varying difficulties. Warm up on the flat Silver Dollar Lake Trail, or add a little climbing to your trip by trying the Mount Bierstadt Trail, which features a 6-mile trek, including more than 2,500 feet of elevation gain and a breathtaking summit.
The historic downtown area of Georgetown is lined with quaint shops and charming galleries. Be-tween antiques, mountain art and trading post treasures, you’re sure to find the perfect race-weekend memento. Try on some western gear at the Buckskin Trading Company (buckskintradingcompany.com), or bring home a box of lavender butter cookies from Mountain Girl Bakery (mtngirlbakery.com).
Pamper yourself as you get race-day ready at the Hotel Chateau Chamonix (hotelchateauchamonix.com), where guests enjoy a welcoming glass of wine during check-in and freshly baked croissants every morning. If rustic decor is more your style, try the Georgetown Mountain Inn (georgetownmountaininn.com) and select a room specific to your taste. Think log cabin, Colorado-style or antique.
Carbo-load with a slice of the Tree Hugger pizza from The Alpine Restaurant (alpinerestaurantgeorgetown.com). The veggie-loaded, brick-oven pie is a favorite with locals who enjoy the low-key atmosphere of this live-music eatery. For a blast of post-race vitamins, check out the juice bar at Blue Sky Café (blueskycafe.biz), which transforms into a yoga studio at night for those looking to stretch those tight post-race legs!