19-year-old sets record for age group as he wins overall title
By MERI-JO BORZILLERI
In winning the Pikes Peak Ascent on Saturday, Ryan Hafer managed to make history, break a record and settle a score.
At 19, Hafer became the youngest male winner of the Ascent, the 13.32-mile running race up Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak.
Hafer, a Colorado Springs resident about to enter his sophomore year at Harvard University, topped a field of about 1,800 to become the first teenager to win. He finished in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 30 seconds, well off Matt Carpenters 1993 course record of 2:01:06.
But Hafer broke the races 29-year agegroup record, a time of 2:22:24 set by Dave Casillas in 1976.
Mike Selig, 27, of Golden passed Bill Raitter of Estes Park in the last two miles to finish second in 2:25:02. Raitter, 35, finished third in 2:25:26.
The 50th Pikes Peak Marathon, the 26.21-mile race up and down the mountain, begins at 7 a.m. today in downtown Manitou Springs.
On Saturday, Hafer led from pavement to peak, taking charge from Ruxton Avenue, near the race start, and quickly building a gap. He didnt take the early lead for granted, though. Hafer, a 2004 Coronado High School graduate, led for 10 miles of last years race before eventual winner and eight-time champion Scott Elliott passed him about 3 miles from the finish.
I fell apart so badly, Hafer said.
Hafer, an engineering major, said he targeted the age-group mark at summers start, but a relatively weak field meant he could set the record and win, too.
Its kind of nice, he said at the 14,115-foot summit. Its kind of what I was aiming for. I wanted to take revenge on it from last year.
Hafer said he eschewed altitude training for mostly long, hilly runs in Garden of the Gods, Ute Valley and Palmer Park to prepare for his college cross-country season. He trained on Pikes Peak once.
It was too crowded, he said.
Elliott, 41, did not race because of a pulled hamstring, but plans to return next year. But beware, the kid is good.
Wow, said Raitter, a recent member of the World Mountain Racing team. When I was 19 I didnt have it together. Ive been beaten by 40-year-olds, 20-yearolds. Never by a kid.
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Copyright 2005, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.