Challenge Aspen Team Trail Marathon Training

Challenge Aspen’s 2021 Trail Marathon Team plans and information

Challenge Aspen is thrilled to announce our 2021 Sole Mates team event – the Catalina Island Marathon, 10K & 5K on October 9, 2021.Experience the Catalina Island Conservancy the way it was intended to be experienced, on foot, running, and noticing the history and beauty of the island.”
We spent a lot of time looking at options, and although we would love to be able to travel somewhere abroad this year, the uncertainty of the pandemic led us to keep things closer to home. The more we look at this race and destination the more we fall in love with it!  We get to travel to a gorgeous island, stay in accommodations steps from the ocean and run through the beautiful Catalina Island Conservancy. We feel this is a great choice and gives us a race goal to put on the calendar! 
To join the 2021 Sole Mates team, you will need to agree to a fundraising commitment of $2,400. After you submit a registration fee of $150, you just need to raise $2,250.  For your outstanding efforts we will give you:
  • 20 weeks training/planning with our coach, Jen Mendez! 
  • 4 nights accommodations on Catalina Island (Avalon) – Oct 7-11, 2021, based upon double occupancy
  • Race fee (marathon distance includes a ferry fee)
  • Victory dinner
  • Sole Mates team gear
  • Memories of a lifetime!
This year you will take care of your travel arrangements, whether that’s a direct flight from Aspen/LAX or a fun road trip. We want to keep the fundraising goal low for you!
After you sign up we will give you a fundraising page/platform and guide to help you reach your goals. The donations you bring in will directly support Challenge Aspen’s programs, like our scholarship fund making it possible for all to participate in CA’s programs, adaptive equipment, our CAMO recreation & wellness programs serving injured servicemen and women, our Locals’ programming for our participants who live in the Valley and more! We appreciate and need these funds so we can continue fulfilling our mission.  
TRAINING: Jen will send you the specifics when you get signed up. 
If you are new to this Challenge Aspen event and would like to come and ask questions and run/hike with us before making your commitment, please do!  Just send an email or call 970-309-9960.
How do I sign up?:  Here is the link to our registration form. Enter your info and we will add you to the list and get our adventures started!  Please feel free to email or call Jenni with any questions. If you’d like to share this registration with your friends, please do:
You may notice the Catalina Island race events do not include a half or mid marathon distance. We did too! If this is your goal, here’s an option for you – Sign up and train with the Sole Mates for your goal distance, join us on the trip and run a fun 10K. The weekend after our return is the Aspen Valley Marathon, 1/2 marathon and 5K event. Challenge Aspen is one of the sponsors of this amazing event, and we will be there cheering you on for your goal 1/2 marathon (and you get 2 race tees!)  Let us know if you are interested in this option.  
We really hope you will join our group this year. Get fit, reach your goals and have FUN!  We are going to create many many memorable adventures together. 


For 17 years the Challenge Aspen marathon teams fundraised for Challenge Aspen, motivated by fitness goals and a target race event in an exotic destination. Each year’s team grew our family of CA supporters.

This year, due to the COVID-19 situation, travel was uncertain. Domestic races cancelled and went virtual. Organizers thought, “Do we train? Do we try to look for that race? What will happen in five months?” Epiphany! The time to give back to our runners and donors who had supported us all these years was NOW. So we introduced the Sole Mates training team, our focus on community: get out, get fit, and stay healthy. No fundraising or commitments (other than to ourselves) were required.

From May to October, the Sole Mates ran/hiked 27 different trails throughout the Roaring Fork Valley ranging from 5–27 miles. We summited Mt Sopris and Mt Elbert, crushed the 4 Pass Loop, introducing ultra-mileage routes to new teammates. We witnessed personal “bests” from longest distance ever to simply reestablishing hiking/running routines into our lives. Sometimes simply showing up was a victory. We were each other’s cheerleaders, coaches, photographers, and therapists. Our adventures were an anticipated escape each weekend. This Sole Mates team represents strength, unity, and friendship. Like the Challenge Aspen participants do each day, we took a challenging situation and sprinkled it with glitter. Once again our CA family has grown.

”Hiking begins with searching for physical fitness and ends up being spiritual fitness. I love to run on the trails with music, it takes me to places I did not believe I could reach.”

“The trails and significance of nature disconnect us from our status. We are all equal, each of us navigating our way—knowing if we are not aware and respectful, we will not achieve the ultimate victory of being lost in its beauty.”

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