While top cyclists prepare to hit the pavement in the USA Pro Challenge next week and the Leadville Trail 100 race kicks off tomorrow, world-class runners have also come from all over to Manitou Springs to take part in the 57th annual Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent this weekend. KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin has this preview.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

In the Pikes Peak Ascent, runners race just over 13 miles to the summit of America’s Mountain, with a gain in elevation of 7800 feet. Marathon runners do the same, then turn around and come back down.

Race Director Ron Ilgen says it’s an entirely different type of running than a road race, and calls the competition a “bucket list marathon.”

“It’s just the challenge…the beauty of running up there and the sense of accomplishment. When they start, they can see all the way to the top of the mountain. And to think that you’re gonna run all the way up there and for the marathoners all the way back is very daunting.”

Ilgen says he’s run the Ascent and the marathon twice each. But 30 year-old Michele Suszek hasn’t run either before. The Littleton resident won the USA 50-mile trail championship earlier this year and is expected to be one of the top women’s contenders in the Pikes Peak Marathon. Part of Suszek’s training has included running portions of the trail and running the Manitou Incline.

“So you know, I kind of have an idea of what I’m getting myself into, and I love it. It’s going to be such a great challenge, and no matter what, no matter my performance, 1st, 2nd, 3rd place whatever that may be, it’s still going to be an awesome experience, a learning experience, and the trail just outdoes the road any day.”

Suszek says she has high hopes, and is aiming for breaking the women’s course record, which has stood since the early 80s. The Pikes Peak Ascent takes place Saturday morning with the marathon on Sunday. Ilgen says 2600 runners in total are participating over the course of the weekend.

 

2 Responses to Previewing the 57th Annual Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent

  1. No Spode says:

    So, what IS the womens course record?

    • Andrea Chalfin News Dir. says:

      The women’s course record was set in 1981 at 4:15:18 for the marathon. It was set by Lynn Bjorklund. The men’s record was set in 1993 by Matt Carpenter, with a time of 3:16:39.

News

AFP/Getty Images
June 27, 2016 | NPR · Britain’s top political parties are scrambling to find new leaders as lame duck Prime Minister David Cameron heads to Brussels to attend European Commission meetings and reassure continental allies.
 

AFP/Getty Images
June 27, 2016 | NPR · “This is done! This is done! We are never going home!” a commentator on Icelandic TV said. He added, “Live the way you want England. … You can go home! You can go out of Europe!
 

AP
June 27, 2016 | NPR · White House aides acknowledge that the plan, to be announced by President Obama and his counterparts in Canada and Mexico, is a “stretch goal.” The commitment goes beyond the Paris climate agreement.
 

Arts & Life

June 27, 2016 | NPR · The sixth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones showed a real evolution in the way the show portrays women and in the season finale, several female characters ascended to power. NPR’s Kelly McEvers talks to Glen Weldon from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and Greta Johnsen, host of the Nerdette podcast, about the show.
 

June 27, 2016 | FA · After starring in Broadway shows like The Music Man and Candide, Cook struggled with addiction, then staged a successful second career as a cabaret singer. Her new memoir is Then and Now.
 

June 27, 2016 | FA · Todd Solondz’s new film consists of four episodes linked by a female dachshund, who has four different owners and four different names. Critic David Edelstein calls Wiener-Dog tragic and inspiring.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
June 27, 2016 | WXPN · Smith Westerns fans might want to take note of guitarist Max Kakacek and drummer Julien Ehrlich’s new band.
 

WXPN
June 27, 2016 | NPR · The man whose songs have been recorded by Luke Bryan, Little Big Town and more is now emerging as a crucial voice on his own.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 27, 2016 | KCRW · KCRW’s Jason Bentley spins music by M83, Kinobe, Kraak & Smaak and more in this week’s two-hour EDM mix.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab