By Matt Kroschel
LEADVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – For many visitors to Leadville, it’s difficult to catch their breath just walking up a few stairs, but a team of active and retired military are tackling a full out marathon at 10,200 feet later this month.
Those veterans will participate in the Leadville Marathon on June 16 raise money to support suicide awareness in the military for the nonprofit Warriors’ Ascent.
Team Warriors’ Ascent will be lead by co-captains retired Army Colonel Tony Hofmann (11 Boston Marathons+ 3 Leadville Marathons) and former MLB player Eric Byrnes, who now actively competes in ultra-marathons. Also joining the team are 14 combat veterans committed to supporting their fellow veterans. Additionally, Randy Cuccio is the Colorado-based contingent on the team.
Cuccio is 61 and comes from an active military family and wholeheartedly supports the mission of Warriors’ Ascent.
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“(The goal is) to give back and to save lives. We chose Leadville of all the places we could do specifically for two reasons: teamwork and endurance,” Hofmann said.
The Leadville Marathon isn’t your average marathon. The course and begins and ends on Main Street in Leadville. Competitors run through the historic mining district’s challenging old mining roads and trails, and hit a high of 13,185 feet at Mosquito Pass.
This will be Team Warriors’ Ascent’s third time at the Leadville Marathon supporting the cause. The group has been training for the past several months to accomplish this feat and in turn help their fellow serviceman and women by raising funds to benefit Warriors’ Ascent.
“The veteran suicide issue is real, it’s an epidemic. It’s 20 per day. So we want to support a … nonprofit — Warriors’ Ascent — that is really tackling the veteran suicide issue,” Hofmann said.
They plan to start and finish the race as a team in 8 hours.