Giblin, Mannhard Run Away With Leadville 100 Victories

JP Giblin improved on his runner-up showing in 2022, while Jacquie Mannhard, a mother of two, won by nearly two hours


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Jacquie Mannhard knew from the first mile of the Leadville 100 that she was going to have an amazing day. And she certainly did.

JP Giblin, on the other hand, literally needed a pat on the back from one of his running heroes to boost his spirits midway through the race.

Giblin, a 28-year-old runner from Boulder, Colorado, was last year’s runner-up in Leadville and the second-place finisher at the Bandera 100K in Texas back in January. But he was coming off what he considered a lackluster Western States 100 in June (18th among men in 17:15), so he was looking to make amends in Leadville, where he made his 100-mile debut in 2015.

Mannhard, also from Boulder, is a 38-year-old runner and mother of two young kids, who rekindled a lifelong love for running after becoming a mom. She made her 100-mile debut with a seventh-place finish at the Run Rabbit Run 100 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 2021.

After taking the lead near the halfway point, Giblin ran away with the 40th edition of the Leadville 100 late Saturday night, winning in 17:07:25 over Luke Paulson (17:47:55) and Scott Traer (17:54:12). “My main goal was to win the race,” said Giblin, a self-coached Altra-sponsored professional runner. “It was pretty special to come back from second to finally win the dang thing.”

Mannhard, meanwhile, became the leader in the women’s race near mile 27 and ran the final 73 miles without being challenged, winning in 21:24:55 with almost a two-hour margin over runner-up Lucie Hanes (23:16:51).

“My husband and I woke up (Sunday) morning after almost no sleep, and we were just both in shock and said, ‘It wasn’t a dream,’” she said the day after the race. “So, no, it has not sunk in yet for sure.” 

Leadville 100 winner JP Giblin
(Photo: LIFE TIME )

A Fast But Rough Start

A year ago, Giblin entered—and won—the Lead Challenge, a combination of five of the six endurance events Life Time puts on in Leadville every summer. In the six weeks prior to the Leadville 100 run last summer, Giblin competed in the trail marathon, 50-mile trail run, 100-mile mountain bike race, and 10K run. So this year, not having all of that in his legs—especially the 100-mile mountain bike race, which is only a week before the 100-mile run—Giblin felt fresh at the start of this year’s race. 

But after a strong start through the first quarter of the race—he was the third runner into the 23.5-mile Outward Bound aid station—Giblin suddenly wasn’t feeling great. His stomach felt achy and he wondered if it might not be his day after all. He later deduced that he took in too many calories and was having a tough time processing it as he ran. Truth be told, he was feeling rotten and, as the excitement of the first 25 miles or so wore off, he was starting to feel sorry for himself. 

“So I was having a little pity party for myself,” he said. “I was just hiking up this little incline, and I looked behind me because I heard a runner approaching, and it was, Rob Krar coming up behind me. He came up behind me and just patted me on the back and said, ‘Come on, let’s go.’ And I got chills. I’m like, yeah, let’s, ‘Let’s do this. Let’s run with Rob Krar.’” 

That was near the 35-mile mark where the race course runs along the Colorado Trail. If it was any other runner at any other point of the race, it might not have made an impact. But it was Krar, who Giblin had marveled at back in 2014 when he was first getting into the sport. 

Back then, Krar was one of the best ultrarunners in the U.S., having won Western States, Leadville, and Run Rabbit Run within a 10-week span in 2014. Krar won Western States again in 2015 and Leadville again in 2018, but this year he was competing in—and leading—the Lead Challenge.

For Giblin, having Krar encourage him like that gave him a physical, mental, and emotional boost.

“When we were at the start line in Leadville and I lined up next to one of my real heroes of the sport, that was pretty huge for me,” Giblin said. “And then to have him encourage me like that, I really credit that moment with really turning my race around. It was pretty profound to me. And I hope he hears the story somehow, but like he changed that race for me and really lit a fire under me to get on and go. After that moment, we ran into Twin Lakes together, and I just had a second wind.”

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Running with Joy

Meanwhile, a few miles back, Mannhard was having the time of her life. She was running well and full of joy and good vibes over the first 13 miles and when she saw her crew for the first time at the May Queen aid station. She continued with that positive feeling as she ran over Sugarloaf Mountain down to the Outward Bound aid station.

She was told the highly accomplished Devon Yanko was ahead of her as the lead woman, which she had kind of expected. Mannhard was prepared to run her own race and let Yanko go, but then she saw her on the side of the trail getting assistance from her crew near the 27-mile mark. She wished her well and continued on, embracing the stunning fact that she was taking over the lead. 

“I would say from mile one, I had a feeling that I just felt great, and it was my day,” Mannhard said. “I knew at that moment when I passed Devon that I’d be taking the lead, which was a little scary, but I felt so awesome and so relaxed. At that moment when I passed her, I thought to myself, ‘I’m currently winning the Leadville 100!’ And I just sort of hung onto that thought and those good feelings for the rest of the day.” 

Mannhard has been an athlete her entire life, but her first foray into sports was as a swimmer. She credits part of her early interest in running back to her parents running marathons and doing triathlons back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She ran cross country in high school, then ran in college for Missouri’s Truman State University and briefly at the University of Colorado when she was in graduate school.

But after running in college she found herself getting injured frequently as she upped her weekly mileage while she was working as a speech pathologist at Boulder Community Hospital. She took a long hiatus from serious training after her kids were born—her daughter, Rose is nine now and her son, George, is seven—but got back into running trails a few years ago and finished fifth in the Dirty 30 50K near Golden, Colorado, in 2019. 

Mannhard started working with coach David Roche the following year and they eventually developed a program based on moderate weekly mileage with a lot of cross-training (especially cycling) to keep overuse injuries at bay. And it all paid off last weekend in Leadville.

After going up and over Hope Pass and hitting the turnaround point at Winfield, Mannhard was heading back up the pass when she encountered Colleen Noonan, a friend from Boulder, who was in second place among women, about 25 minutes behind. They spontaneously screamed and hugged in support of each other, but that was as close as anyone would come to Mannhard the rest of the race. 

She continued her strong running on the way down into the Twin Lakes 62.5-mile inbound aid station with a 50-minute lead and still having a blast. She was joined by pacer Kim Patton for the next 17 miles to the Outward Bound aid station, where her husband, Steve, then ran with her up and over Sugarloaf Mountain and back to May Queen (mile 87). For the final 13 miles back to Leadville, Mannhard ran with her sister, Maddie Faust, and then after she crossed the finish line, popped a champagne bottle for the first time in her life.

Mannhard credits her pacers and crew for getting her through the race, and Roche, who helped her prepare for the heat with effective cooling techniques. But she also admits she was inspired by her kids (who were back home in Boulder) and the strength she’s developed in her professional career as a mother. 

“It really did go smoothly,” said Mannhard, who wore Hoka Speedgoat shoes during the race. “And I think because my crew was so awesome and my fitness and my headspace were so awesome all that day, it was sort of this feeling of like, ‘whatever comes up, we’re gonna be able to overcome it.’ So just having this confidence of like—‘we got this,’ ‘we can deal with it,’ ‘let’s roll with it.’—it was definitely a smooth day. Even just having the attitude that ‘if something starts going off the rails, we’ll just get it back on the rails.’”

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Giblin Runs To Victory

After the instant energy boost from Krar, Giblin felt rejuvenated going up and over 12,530-foot Hope Pass to the 50-mile turnaround point at the former mining settlement of Winfield. It was the final miles in and out of Winfield when he caught Reid Burrows and early leader Matthew Vira and took the lead on the long climb back over Hope Pass. (Vira, a 24-year-old Boulder-area runner who finished 13th in Leadville last year, decided to drop out at Winfield—and so would Krar—but Burrows, a 28-year-old Canadian runner, soldiered on to finish eighth.) 

By the time he crested the pass and started running back down to Twin Lakes, Giblin had a good feeling it was his race to lose. Amid the festive party atmosphere at the Twin Lakes 62.5-mile aid station, he picked up Nick Noone, who paced him back to Outward Bound. From there, Jesse Frank, who like Noone, was a University of Colorado triathlon teammate of Giblin and frequent training partner in the Boulder area.

With the refueling and rehydrating help of his crew—Chambers Giblin, Lucinda Kearney, Kate Descombs, and Meg Descombs—Giblin moved through the course very efficiently, never spent more than four minutes in an aid station. By the time he got to the May Queen aid station at the 87-mile point of the race, he had a big lead—about 35 minutes over Traer—and just had to finish it off with a long stretch of singletrack around Turquoise Lake and back up “The Boulevard” (aka the dirt roads back up to Leadville) to the finish line. It’s a long, uphill grind, but he dug in and got it done.

“It really was a pretty amazing day, and it makes me feel a lot better about my season,” said Giblin, who wore Altra Vanish Carbon and Mont Blanc BOA shoes during the race. “I felt like I didn’t race Western States. I felt like I just ran it. So I really wanted to race this race. And so to actually put myself on the line, take risks, and as (Western States champion) Tom Evans said, be a main character in the race. That was the goal going into the race. I didn’t want to be passive, I didn’t want to be scared to try new things, and I was confident in my ability to go for it. And that’s what I did.” 

For complete Leadville 100 results, visit the Athlinks results page.

Boulder-based Brian Metzler has run more than 75,000 miles in his life, competing in every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, running the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim run across the Grand Canyon and back several times, racing pack burros on many occasions and going up Colorado’s Longs Peak 20 times. In 2018, he ran the Great Wall of China, completed the Leadman series and ran a 100K in South Korea. He is the founding editor of Trail Runner and the author of “Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes.”

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