Dear Leadville Trail 100 Family,

   35 years ago you came to Leadville to help an economically devastated and struggling town and to test your resolve and grit over 100 miles against what most said couldn't be done.  The mountains were too high and too steep.  The oxygen was nonexistent.  Cats couldn't even live here.  Well, you did it.  You climbed the mountains.  You found air where there was none.  You finished that 100 miles of Colorado's highest and toughest.  And, you did it in less than 30 hours. And too, cats do quite well here.  You adopted Leadville and Leadville adopted you.  We became family.  We, Ken & Merilee, were blessed to be your mother, father, brother, sister.  Ken ran with you.  Finished with you.  And occasionally didn't make the 100 miles with you.  Merilee was there with you and for you, your family, your crews, all the way; never leaving the finish line until all the chicks were back in the nest.  She held your babies, petted your puppies and bandaged that scraped knee or elbow, while Ken told you to "rub some dirt on it".

   Well, we're back---hands-on.  We're not only helping to call all the shots; we're pulling the trigger.  You may not have seen as much of the two of us the past few years, but after some renewal, re-energizing and reinvigorating----we're back in the saddle.  When we turned the reins over to Lifetime Fitness, they, from the boss to the receptionist, have been far beyond great.  The boss is not only a 7 time Leadville Trail 100 MTB finisher, but in true mining heritage, ---"never asking anyone to do what the boss is afraid to do"---he took on Leadville's ultimate challenge, completing LEADMAN in 2012.  The receptionist turned in a pretty good 100 time, too.  Since 1982, we have taken our events, yours and ours, up the mountain as far as we could.  We gave the Leadville Trail 100 running shoes, and run it did.  Then we gave it wheels.  And the mountain bikes, went even farther, faster.  Then came Lifetime Fitness and they gave it wings.  Today, the Leadville Trail 100 is known, envied and aspired to the world over.

   From the beginning, Lifetime Fitness committed to doing what was best for Leadville and the Leadville Trail 100 Family, and continue to do that today.  For us, Ken & Merilee, they have totally kept their word.  Now, that boss, that receptionist and the entire company want to do more.  That's why they've asked us to lead the charge.  We will diligently search and seek out what can we do for Leadville.  For example, May 25th, in your name and in your honor, we will hand out a $1,000 scholarship to each Leadvlle graduating senior going on to any form of higher education;---should be about 50 of 'em.  Be proud of that Leadville Trail 100 Family! Next, we want to help our athletes in any way possible.  We'll get you to "diggin' deep".  And, convince you that "You're better than you think you are, and can do more than you think you can".  You'll learn the Leadville grit, guts and determination.  You'll become a part of Leadville and Leadville will become a part of you.  Then, take that Leadville power home.  Teach it!  Share it!  You'll finish the Leadville Trail 100 run in less than 30 hours, the bike in less than 12.  Proudly wear that silver buckle.  Then, go make it a better world.  Love you, Ken & Merilee