Race Through Denver in the 2024 Colfax Marathon

If you live in Denver and are a fan of running, then you’ve probably heard of Denver’s Colfax Marathon. This is Denver’s only Marathon and this year marks its 18th year running! This race is unique because it runs through many of the Mile High City’s major landmarks like the Colorado State Capitol Building, Casa Bonita, the Denver Zoo, City Park, Confluence Park, and Empower Field at Mile High. It’s a tour through Denver like no other!

This event was first brought to life in 2006 by the cities of Denver, Lakewood, and Aurora as a way to celebrate Colfax Avenue, known as the longest main street in America. Colfax Avenue stretches 27 miles and has a long and colorful history dating back to the 1860s when it first landed on Denver maps. It became the main route East to Denver and West to the Rocky Mountains up until the late 1960s before I-70 was built. Playboy magazine is said to have once called it “the longest, wickedest street in America.”

Colfax Bluebird Theater

When is Denver's Colfax Marathon?

The marathon weekend this year is May 17th-19th, 2024, and will host eight races over two days. This includes the 5K on Saturday and on Sunday, the Marathon, Half Marathon, Urban 10 Miler, and the 5-person Marathon Relay. If you are feeling really bold, there is also a 2-Day Mile High Challenge where you can run both the 5k on Saturday and one of the other race categories on Sunday for 2 shirts and their 2-day award!

The Colfax Marathon originally began in 2006 with several thousand runners, and as of 2023, it sold out with 21,000 runners. Because of its growing popularity, the organizers decided to change the course to be able to accommodate more runners and improve the runners’ experience.

Colfax Marathon 2024 Changes:

Marathon Course:
Marathon runners will now exclusively utilize the Cherry Creek Bike Path, separating them from the half marathon runners. Additionally, the marathon and half marathon courses are split into two lanes along Lawrence and 17th Street, giving marathoners their own dedicated lane.

Half Marathon Course:
Half marathoners will encounter significant changes as they navigate through the Denver Zoo. The revamped route includes highlights such as the recently unveiled Down Under Exhibit and the captivating Flamingo Habitat. This will provide wider pathways for a more enjoyable experience for runners.

Urban 10 Miler:
Now the last 4 miles of the Marathon, Urban 10 Miler and Relay course has dedicated lanes that are separated from the half marathon – with no merging like in previous years.

Run the Colfax Marathon to support a local charity!

Every year, the Colfax Marathon collaborates with over 200 Nonprofits, together raising over $2,500,000 in the past 5 years thanks to the dedication of Colfax runners. Notably, the marathon’s Charity Partners Program stands as the second largest in the U.S., trailing only behind the renowned New York City Marathon.

Overlooking City Park, The Denver Zoo, Downtown Denver and the Rocky Mountains

The Colfax Marathon Weekend Schedule:

Friday, May 17th, 2024

  • Cigna Denver Colfax Marathon Expo

Saturday, May 18th, 2024

  • Cigna Denver Colfax Marathon Expo
  • Colfax 5K – This race kickoffs the weekend on Saturday and is dog friendly!
    • The main 5K is at 9:00am
    • There is an additional 5K at 10:30am for just the Girls On The Run, dogs are not allowed.

Sunday, May 19th, 2024

  • 26.2 Marathon – through the stadium, fire station #1, downtown, Sloan’s Lake, Colfax Ave, 7 miles of water
  • 13.1 Half Marathon – through Denver Zoo, Denver Fire Station #1, downtown, Colorado Firefighter Calendar on course
  • Urban 10 Miler – the last 10 miles of the Marathon through the stadium, downtown, and City Park
  • Marathon Relay – 5 legs, 5 distances to complete the 26.2 marathon as a team – do it for one of their 200 charity partners
    • Open Relay – any 5 runners, friends, families, etc.
    • Corporate Relay – employee teams from each industry
    • Government Relay – government employee teams
    • Public School Teachers Relay – employee teams made up from the same K-12 Denver public school
Confluence Park, Denver

The Marathon – The Marathon will start and finish in Denver’s City Park. You will run through Empower Field at Mile High twice, through Denver Fire Station #1 and high-five some of Denver’s best firefighters, then travel along seven miles of rivers, lakes and bridges such as Sloan’s Lake, Confluence Park, Cherry Creek Path and more. Race through eclectic neighborhoods, historic Lakewood, the bustle of Colfax Avenue, and downtown Denver, all while taking in the breathtaking views of the majestic Rocky Mountains! The Colfax Marathon is also a Boston qualifier race! Check out the Marathon map here.

Map out each section of the Marathon here:

Half Marathon – Experience the Denver Colfax Half Marathon’s picturesque route, starting with a scenic mile through Denver Zoo and continuing through tree-lined streets of Park Hill and Aurora Fire Station #1. Along vibrant Colfax Avenue, runners pass iconic landmarks like VooDoo Donuts and Cathedral Basilica, while enjoying panoramic views of the Capitol, Civic Center Park, and 16th Street Mall. The race uniquely features a run-through of Denver Fire Station #1, with runners greeted by high-fives from firefighters. This year, the Zoo mile has been redesigned to accommodate the completion of the Down Under exhibit, offering a wider and more streamlined experience amidst various zoo animals. The final stretch along 17th Street and Avenue leads runners past historic buildings and restaurants before reaching the lively City Park, where an exciting after-party awaits with over 20,000 fellow participants. Check out the Half Marathon map here.

Colorado State Capitol Building

Urban 10 Miler – Run the final 10 miles of the Colfax Marathon course through Denver’s landmarks like Empower Field at Mile High, downtown Denver, Confluence and Cherry Creek, 17th Avenue to City Park. The race begins at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, concluding at City Park for the after party. Your race bib will also include an RTD ticket to get back to your car. Check out the Urban 10 Miler map here.

Colfax 5K – This 5k race will start and finish at the Marathon Start and Finish Line in City Park!  The course wraps around City Park and Ferril Lake with terrific views of downtown and the mountains. This is a chip-timed race, and will also have separate stroller-friendly start wave for families and walkers. Plus, in true Denver fashion, your dog can run with you in the 9:00am race! 

There is a second 5K on Saturday for just the Girls On The Run program that starts at 10:30am. GOTR is an after school empowerment program for girls in 3rd-8th grade. Family, friends and community members outside of their program can also participate in the event, but you must leave your pup at home for this one.

“The Dancers” Sculpture Park

5 Person Marathon Relay – Join over 1,300 teams in Denver’s Colfax 26.2 mile Marathon Relay, including Corporate, Government, Public School Teacher and Open divisions, making it the second largest Marathon Relay in the US. Run for charity all while exploring Denver’s landmarks along the Marathon path from Empower Field at Mile High to downtown and more.

Employees qualifying for the Corporate, Government, or Public School Teacher Division are welcome, while others outside of those organizations can form teams with friends, family, or other running enthusiasts for the Open Division.

Don’t miss this chance to be part of the action and you may even consider launching an RMFLEX Relay team with your workout pals from Rocky Mountain Flex – it’s perfect for those who prefer teamwork over solo runs! This event could be a great way to bring people together! Check out the descriptions of the relay legs here so you can plan your course.

After you hit the finish line and collect your medal, runners can enjoy beer and lunch, then meet up with friends and family for an awesome afterparty with live bands and Beer Garden lakeside in City Park!

If you’re looking for a fitness event in Denver that will help keep you on track with your goals, the Colfax Marathon, Half Marathon, 5k or 10 Miler might be it! You have about 3 months to train and get yourself in top running condition. We listed several resources throughout the post to help you get started with your training, but if you need more one-on-one help, reach out to one of our skilled Denver personal trainers who can help you make a custom training plan!

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