I first ran the Mt. Baldy Run To Top course three years ago- I had just started out running, and a friend of mine was doing it, and he convinced me to join him. It was an exhilarating experience, and I have since made it an annual Labor Day tradition of mine.

View from the Notch

The race is only a 10K, but it takes you from a parking lot at 4000′ all the way to the summit at 10,000′ - over a kilometre in elevation gain. Last year, I had neglected my training, and finished the race with aching legs and a shoddy time1. Keeping that in mind, I began actively training for the race around a hundred days before race day. I did not want to train on hills- I don’t enjoy them, and they are more injury-prone. Instead, I mostly followed a half-marathon training plan, hoping that the extra distance would make up for the missed elevation.

Of course, the race turned out to be far more fun when I was actually prepared for it- and I managed to shave over half an hour off my time too. This year, they handed out finisher’s medals too, which was a nice bonus2.

  1. The race is equivalent to about a half-marathon in terms of finishing time, and you can take up to three hours. I needed 2:40.

  2. I have lost my shirt from the first year, and on the second, I registered too late to get one. I’m quite happy to finally have physical proof of finishing!