Adventure runner joins Marathon field
By MERI-JO BORZILLERI
A day after losing one multiyear champion, the Pikes Peak Marathon gained another.
Famed adventure racer Danelle Ballengee, winner of four straight runs up and down 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, notified officials she will enter the Aug. 21 race.
Ballengee, who has homes in Summit County and Moab, Utah, won from 1994 to 1997 before becoming one of the worlds top female adventure racers.
The sport involves orienteering and navigation, and usually involves crosstry running, mountain biking, paddling and climbing and rope skills.
Ballengee has not raced Pikes Peak since her last victory.
Its the 50th, said Ballengee by telephone, explaining her return. And the weekend of the race, Im free. I have no excuse. I might as well run up a mountain.
On Thursday, Erica Larson, winner of five of the past six Marathons, said she would withdraw from the race because of insufficient training after injury and illness.
Race liaison Nancy Hobbs said the timing was coincidental and Ballengee had been looking forward to seeing Larson.
Past champions are given an open-ended invitation to enter at any time.
Thats great, said race director Ron Ilgen of Ballengees late entry. She has a very good chance of winning the Marathon... Im very excited to have her back.
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Copyright 2005, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.