Pikes Peak Marathon Attracting Record Turnout

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Pikes Peak Marathon attracting record turnout

It’s bad enough trying to survive the grueling 13.3 mile running trek up and down America’s most famous mountain as part of the famous Pikes Peak Marathon.

But with the surge of publicity surrounding the 60th running of the famed race, a record sprint has ignited just to sign up for the dual competitions, slated for Aug. 15 and Aug 16. The Pikes Peak Ascent challenges runners to scale Pikes Peak from Manitou Springs mostly along the Barr Trail, while the marathon, scheduled the following day, requires competitors to run up and down the trail. Approximately 2,600 runners compete in both events combined.

However, by the middle of last week, nearly all the race slots had been filled, only hours after the events kicked off for entries, according to Pikes Peak Marathon officials. Practically all the spots had been taken for the marathon, which now caps the event at 800 runners, by the middle of last week. At the same time, an explosion of entries occurred for the Ascent.

The huge popularity in this year’s race is attributed to the 60th-year anniversary of the event and the fact that these types of mountain/trail marathons are no longer considered niche sports. A hefty number of Teller running buffs, including former Sheriff Kevin Dougherty and Bronco Billy’s general manager Marc Murphy, have taken the Pikes Peak challenge.

According to Marathon President Ron Ilgen, the race has almost been transformed into an “iconic bucket list” status. “It’s been billed at the forefront I think of running here in the Pikes Peak region,” said Ilgen, according to an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

The race kicked off in 1956 and has been at the forefront of trail running events in the area. A number of running clubs are now popular in Woodland Park, Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs.

In other related news, local marathon champion Matt Carpenter of Manitou Springs will be inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on April 15.

Carpenter won the Pikes Peak Marathon 12 times. He also is one of the few runners who emerged victorious for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon on consecutive days.

The Manitou resident also competed in lesser known local events, such as a previous 10K race between the Victor mining district and the downtown hub of Cripple Creek. That event, hosted by the former Imperial Casino and Hotel, was part of a triple crown of running events in Teller County.

Carpenter, who is well-known in Manitou Springs, won the Victor to Cripple Creek bout in convincing fashion, leaving his fellow competitors, including a few journalists from The Mountain Jackpot and a number of casino managers in the dust.