The Trail Running Film Festival - Online Watch Party Get your tickets.

The Trail Running Film Festival - Online Watch Party Get your tickets.

I often comment on here that US municipalities don’t understand the positive economic impact sporting events have on their communities, but of course, that’s a blanket statement and there are outliers. Vail Valley Foundation is one. They organize the Vail Mountain Games:

The GoPro Mountain Games started as a local whitewater event in 2002. Over the past 20+ years the event has grown into the best all-around mountain experience anywhere in the world. The GoPro Mountain Games is a 4-day celebration of Athletes, Art, Music and Mountains that takes place each June in VAIL, COLORADO.

And the organization understands that this event is meant to be an economic driver. Huge corporate sponsors include GMC and Polaris.

As part of the many events, that include slack-lining and fishing, among others, the four day festival offers several running races, including a 20K trail race, that’s sponsored by Adidas Terrex. The website only lists results from 2023, so I will assume that this is a reasonably new offering. Last year only 65 runners competed. The entry fee for 2024 range from $50 – $70 (with a $25 add on option if you want the brunch).

But here’s the kicker: They are offering a $11,500 prize purse split evening between men and women for the top 5 runners. Is this the biggest prize purse of any event in the US (considering the distance and numbers of sign ups)? Easy money for elite (fast) athlete, maybe?