Monday, October 8, 2007


A few weeks ago, my friend Dave and I planned a weekend trail run in the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Eldora, Colorado. I was ready to decompress after a stressful workweek and explore an area I had only previously tackled on snowshoes. We decided to open up the casual trek to any interested parties by posting a note on the local trailrunners’ Yahoo group. One person replied by the end of the week - a guy named Kurt. We offered to collect him at the local market in nearby Nederland, and then carpool to the nearby Fourth of July Trailhead. Upon arriving at the parking lot, we noticed a late ‘70s, brick red F-150 with a camper shell and Alaska plates. An unassuming, bespectacled, early-fifties-looking man carrying no water, fuel, or gear popped out from behind the camper, ready to go. We exchanged pleasantries and piled into my ’98 Jetta for a short trip to the trailhead. Along the way, Kurt talked about his last year of gold prospecting in Alaska and various races all of us had completed. He recognized every person we mentioned in conversation, although neither Dave nor I had ever met or heard of Kurt before this day. Soon we were stretching outside of the car with a tentative goal of Arapaho Pass. As our journey veered off-trail into sub-alpine meadows and beyond, our marvel in Kurt’s mountain goat-caliber scrambling prowess reached ethereal proportions. Much of Kurt’s day was spent waiting on us, yet he offered only words of encouragement and at the end of the day remarked how this was one of the best outings he’d ever experienced. Over the next few days, Dave and I retold the tale of this zen-like master to many within our running circles, only to find that many already knew of whom we were describing. The man known as Kurt was actually 62-year-old mountain runner legend Kurt Blumberg, with many trailrunning titles (and anecdotes) to his credit. It seems that his health secret of sleeping on magnets has paid off in a big way.

There are stories of Kurt running the 2001 Zane Grey 50K bottomless and posting decisive age-group wins at the Pikes Peak Marathon and the Imogene Pass Run. I can only imagine the accomplishments and accompanying tales that did not make the trailrunning archives. Here’s to you, Kurt. I hope we can catch-up (to you) again soon.

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