Some words from Matt:
When asked how it felt to win my tenth Pikes Peak I said, I did not win today, the race committee won because they would not let in runners who would have beat me and that makes my win a hollow victory. The last three words of that quote made the paper that is the nature of the press. In all fairness to the press I can see how they then concluded that the field was substandard. However, those are their words (read it again) not mine. I did not say anything about the quality of the people who were behind me! Heck several who were right behind me are my best friends! Throughout both races are people that worked their butts off. Some got top 10s, some won age-groups, some PRed, some just finished and yes a few did not finish. However all the runners took on the challenge and that is what it is all about!
That being said, I do not have to hide behind the fact that I won only because they do not let in fast runners to feel good about my race. I know I ran the best I could for what I had but simply Pikes Peak deserves better! It is a simple fact that the time I ran to win this years race would have been a distant 5th the first year I did it in 1987. If Boston or Chicago or any other premier race such as Pikes Peak calls itself were to be won in as comparatively slow times there would be total outrage! I was talking about the fact that I know the race committee would not let in several of the fastest runners from the Barr Trail Mountain Race as well as other races. Its been going on for years! I know that some of these runners would have beaten me had they not been turned away and that makes my win a hollow victory! I stand by that!!!
I will also continue to stand up for what I believe in even when people misinterpret my meaning and write stuff such as some of the letters below. Simply to anyone who somehow thought I was attacking them or putting down their race or their accomplishments with my statements I was not! Holding a few spots for top runners would cost the race nothing. In this years case it would have prevented me from winning and I can imagine that would have made a lot of people very happy;-) Who knows for that reason alone they may hold a few spots for fast runners next year and then I will have accomplished my goal! Races should be determined at the finish line not at the registration line!
August 20, 2002
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
Race coverage shouldn't focus on one malcontent
I am a woman who proudly ran her first Pikes Peak Ascent at the age of 50. This year I completed my fourth challenge up the mountain. It was a great day, with runners of all levels and ability taking on that challenge. Instead of The Gazette reporting on the excitement and challenge of this great race, the "other" 1,799 runners were termed "substandard" according to Matt Carpenter ("Winner believes Ascent on decline," Sports, Aug. 17). Why would The Gazette even think for a moment that it was appropriate to print such a story?
How Carpenter feels about the race simply does not matter. What matters is that runners come from all over to compete in the Ascent and the Marathon. What matters is that this race is the ultimate challenge for the majority of the participants. We can not all be Matt Carpenters, and quite frankly, for that I am thankful. Do not allow his inappropriate comments to become headline news. Give the race the coverage it deserves and respect the efforts of all the runners who cross the finish line and experience the joy of meeting the challenge. The real story is with the other 1,799 runners.
August 21, 2002
Anyone who runs the Peak is to be admired
I've heard of poor sport losers, but Matt Carpenter wins the title of "poor sport winner" ("Winner believes Ascent on decline," Sports, Aug. 18). As a "sub-standard" 10-minute mile runner, I look in admiration at anyone even brave enough to tackle the Pikes Peak Ascent.
Perhaps lack of oxygen has caused Carpenter to forget that the clock, not other runners, are his competition. To imply that his time was not up to his personal best due to lack of competition is a cop-out.
My hat's off to the other 1,800 winners. I bet a few of these folks still like to get the shirt.
As for the first male to cross the line, perhaps he should retire his running shoes and take up golf.
Mary Beth Jamieson
Elite runners wouldn't ruin 'citizens' event
The idea that having 10 elite runners would ruin the "citizen" aspect of the Pikes Peak Marathon is ridiculous. Why is a competitive event so distasteful to the committee?
Prize money does not have to take away from the existing budget, either. Twenty local businesses could be approached and asked to sponsor one of the 20 elite runners with $200. This runner could be "their" athlete for the week, wearing the business logo/shirt. This would generate $4,000 for prize money, not very much, but a beginning.
The race could waive the entry fee for these professionals and local runners could house the athletes during their stay in Colorado Springs. These runners are not making millions like professional golfers or baseball and football players. Any support would be appreciated.
The race committee would need a subcommittee to organize the professional aspect of the race. A local person who is motivated about distance running and the professional aspect of the sport needs to be found to head the subcommittee. Maybe Matt Carpenter knows someone.
Carpenter should show more respect to others
It's too bad that the competition in this year's Pikes Peak Ascent was not up to Matt Carpenter's standards. Maybe this summer's heat, the fires, the lack of an open national forest to train in had something to do with it.
And just maybe people trained just as hard as they could and did their best but they just weren't blessed with a VO2 max of 90.
Carpenter should respect the event and respect his competitors.
August 23, 2002
KEEP 'EM RUNNING
Cash prizes won't force out local competitors
Thank you, Gazette, for the excellent coverage of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon races last weekend. I also want to thank the Triple Crown of Running Race Committee for staging such excellent races. The logistics of both races are mind boggling.
I want to comment on the story, "Race draws criticism for not paying winners," in the Aug. 20 Gazette. The controversy about whether the Pikes Peak races should encourage more elite runners with some form of prize money, assisted travel, etc., is one I have been involved with for a long time. I compete in races, large and small, on roads and mountains, all over the country. There is absolutely no reason any race cannot be for both elite runners and average runners.
I am on the race committee of the new American Discovery Trail Marathon to be run on Labor Day, Sept. 2, and we offered prize money to our first three male and female runners last year, the first year of the race. We are doing the same this year and adding prize money for the first male and female masters (over 40 years old) runners. We are still a small race and we are certainly a "people's" race. But we want to also grow and become a very competitive race.
When Matt Carpenter says we should return to the way the race was staged in the past, he is referring to the prestige and competitive spirit we had from the 1970s to the early 1990s. Why can't the Pikes Peak races draw the best mountain runners in the world and also be open to the "first come, first served" runners?
Carpenter's remarks should embarrass him
Shame on Matt Carpenter for his tacky/whiney comments about his competition in the Pikes Peak Ascent ("Winner believes Ascent on decline," Sports, Aug. 18).
Referring to his fellow runners as a substandard field and his victory as a "hollow one" because of them is such poor sportsmanship, it would probably make any Little League ball player embarrassed to have uttered them.
Perhaps an apology is in order.
August 25, 2002
RACING THE PEAK
Carpenter is right; elite runners would be a plus
Some runners can motivate themselves to run with only the clock as a measurement of themselves. I have done that on occasion but my best races have been when I have forgotten the clock and raced against my fellow runners. Matt Carpenter is no exception.
He has never said anything that belittles other runners. I doubt that there is anywhere else in the world that you will find a nicer world-class runner who has as much respect for all runners, especially mountain and trail runners.
The Pikes Peak Marathon does not lack for runnners. What it does lack is the high quality of runner who can push Caprenter harder. In years past some of the best in the world came here, mainly from Mexico at the expense of Carl McDaniels. With McDaniels' passing, so passed the invitations and assistance to the elite runners.
I am sure the present committee would like very much to have many elite mountain runners in the race, but its budget is constrained by race costs and having to support an administrative office and staff to better serve the runners. At some point the committee may decide on sponsorship to support expansion of the race vision.
Why highlight one man's negative comments?
I really enjoyed The Gazette's coverage of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. These events are the crown on our local running scene. At least 1,800 people ran the ascent and 800 people ran in the marathon. But why does The Gazette center on one individual to personalize these events? One would think The Gazette was writing about the Matt Carpenter Ascent and Marathon. For years now, he has had his agenda pushed in the paper. He wants money for winning these races.
Years ago Avon sponsored a women's only 10K/5K race over Mother's Day weekend at Cherry Creek Reservoir. These were wonderful events, totally focused on ordinary women challenging themselves. One year Avon decided to offer prize money. I saw and felt the change money brought to these races. The race was no longer about and for us ordinary women challenging ourselves. The spotlight was on the elites who sensed money and ran away with it all.
Carpenter has plenty of opportunities to win money at other mountain races. Let this race stay a people's event.
And please, try talking to some of the 2,599 other runners who are part of this weekend. By now we all know what Carpenter has on his mind, and it is not news anymore.
Top runner does a lot to promote his sport
I tend to agree that having elite runners would not by any means ruin a run. Yet, I so admire the way in which the local running organizations organize such runs and support local runners that I would hesitate to ask them to do more, especially if it conflicts with their goals and objectives.
However, because Matt Carpenter makes such a suggestion does not make him unsupportive, a poor winner, super critical, disrespectful, etc. Just as we take this forum to express our opinions, cannot he do the same from within his forum?
He is certainly warm and supportive of us local runners in many ways. He shares his experiences with many of us to help and encourage us, making us feel like special runners, even though our efforts must seem minuscule from his perspective. He is certainly supportive and gracious at awards ceremonies, and his Web site and Incline Club have benefited many.
WHERE WAS THE PRESS?
Paper seems to have ignored grueling race
Last weekend one of the most grueling, challenging races in the world was run, The 100-mile race in Leadville. I anxiously searched The Gazette Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, assuming that after all the hype of the Pikes Peak races settled down, the paper would report something about the Leadville race. Still nothing.
More than 500 runners participated in this significant event. The Gazette chose to totally ignore it. The Gazette's selection of news is appalling.
Copyright 2002, The Gazette, a Freedom Communications, Inc. Company. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
(Will not be added to the above letters)