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

Getty Images
November 18, 2017 | NPR · Republican power brokers in D.C. are devising lots of schemes to try to edge out Roy Moore, the GOP Senate nominee in Alabama who has been accused of sexual misconduct and sexual assault.
 

Getty Images
November 18, 2017 | NPR · Asia experts say that while the president avoided major blunders on his five-nation visit, he missed more than one opportunity to offer his administration’s strategic vision for the region.
 

Courtesy of Jane Dougherty
November 18, 2017 | NPR · After the vigils and the reporters move on to the next mass shooting, the families are left to deal with the grief. “I feel like it never ends,” says Jane Dougherty, who lost her sister at Sandy Hook.
 

Arts & Life

Courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater
November 18, 2017 | NPR · Sarah DeLappe’s play The Wolves, which opens in New York on Monday, follows an elite soccer team of young women as it prepares for its own battles.
 

Getty Images
November 18, 2017 | NPR · Man Booker Prize winner John Banville has written a sequel to Henry James’ The Portrait Of A Lady. ‘It was my initial foolhardiness and overweening pride that made me do it,’ he says.
 

Courtesy of Flatiron Books
November 18, 2017 | NPR · It took until adulthood for Bonnie Morales, the daughter of immigrant Russian Jews, to appreciate the food of her childhood. Now she owns a popular Oregon restaurant and has released a new cookbook.
 

Music

November 18, 2017 | NPR · Poppy is an Internet phenom, known for her strange YouTube videos and her Japan-inspired bubblegum pop. She and her director Titanic Sinclair talk with Scott Simon about who, or what, Poppy is.
 

Courtesy of the artist
November 17, 2017 | WXPN-FM · On the occasion of his new album, Sky Trails, the legendary singer-songwriter pops in to tell funny stories from across his long career.
 

November 17, 2017 | NPR · On Wednesday, founder Kevin Lyman announced the tour is ending after 23 years. After helping launch bands like No Doubt, Sublime and countless others, next summer will be the last cross-country tour.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab