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August 19, 2001

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Mark Fitzhenry may be reached at 636-0178 or markf@gazette.com
Gluttons for punishment enter Marathon, too

By Mark Fitzhenry/The Gazette

Doug Laufer ran the Pikes Peak Ascent on Saturday. He'll run the Pikes Peak Marathon today.

That's 39 miles -- two-thirds of it uphill and all of them at altitude -- within about 30 hours. When asked why he's doing it, Laufer said what many people are probably thinking:

"No brain cells."

He has company. Sixty-four runners, including six women, have registered to run both races. Even though all aren't expected to compete -- because of injuries or change of heart -- more runners are expected to do both this year than ever.

"I just like pushing my body to the breaking point," said David Schlingman, a Missouri resident who has run the marathon the past four years but will run both for the first time.

Adds Laufer, 48: "It's pleasant exhaustion and depletion. You're beaten to hell, but there's a glow to it. ... The Ascent is a good race, but the thrill of coming down Ruxton Sunday is as good as it gets in running."

The number of runners who have completed the double has risen almost every year since the races were first held on separate days in 1981, according to area runner Matt Carpenter, who compiled such a list for his Web site.

In 1981, 50-year-old Hal Winton of Lawndale, Calif., was the only runner to pull it off. Last year, 41 runners -- 34 male and seven female -- pulled it off.

Nobody has won both events in the same year since the new format started in 1981. Carpenter has won four Ascents and four Marathons, but never both in the same year.

Few runners who compete in both have visions of winning both. They just want to do it.

"It's just another challenge," said Tom Kelecy, a 45-year-old who's running the double for the first time. "I feel OK. My lower legs are on the verge of cramps, but I'll drink fluid replacement stuff."

And then he gets to run 26.21 miles today.

Some runners said they saved energy during the Ascent. Others, like Kelecy, ran the Ascent as if they wouldn't have another race today.

And then there's Ryan Soderberg, a 24-year-old Cheyenne Mountain High School graduate who rides his mountain bike more often than he runs. He did his first double at 17, and today will be his eighth.

"I've been doing it too long to stop now," he said.

Mike Hauck of Woodland Park has run both for five years with his friend, Colin Wynd. Wynd has since moved to New Jersey, but that hasn't stopped him from returning to Pikes Peak each year to continue the streak.

Wynd said he does it out of friendship. His his friends in New Jersey give another reason.

"The ones who run," Wynd said, "just think I'm nuts."

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