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

Landov
December 17, 2014 | NPR · In her ruling, Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen wrote that she found that “fundamental, Constitutional violations of due process exist in the 1944 prosecution of George Stinney, Jr.”
 

Reuters/Landov
December 17, 2014 | NPR · The recent attack on Sony Pictures’ computer network that resulted in a flood of confidential data has its origins in North Korea, U.S. intelligence officials say.
 

Satanic Temple
December 17, 2014 | NPR · The situation has brought controversy — and energized Christians who realized that a planned Nativity scene was in danger of being canceled.
 

Arts & Life

Reuters/Landov
December 17, 2014 | NPR · The recent attack on Sony Pictures’ computer network that resulted in a flood of confidential data has its origins in North Korea, U.S. intelligence officials say.
 

Universal Pictures
December 17, 2014 | NPR · Louis Zamperini was an Olympian before he enlisted in World War II and became a prisoner of war. Jolie says he told her to “make a film that reminds people that they have greatness inside themselves.”
 

Sony Pictures Entertainment
December 17, 2014 | NPR · As an African-American Annie arrives on movie screens, critic Bob Mondello looks at other cross-cultural reinventions, from Pearl Bailey’s Dolly to the Americanization of Carmen as Carmen Jones.
 

Music

Mountain Stage
December 17, 2014 | NPR · Russell, a highly regarded jazz and blues singer, has a voice that transcends genres.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 17, 2014 | WXPN · Hailu Mergia, a keyboard player and Ethiopian music star who lives in the U.S., will get you anywhere you need to go in our nation’s capital.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 17, 2014 | NPR · The World Cafe host’s favorite albums from this year abide by his mantra: they put good songs first, and present them simply and authentically.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab