Ascent fills at record pace; marathon close behind
By MERI-JO BORZILLERI
People planning to enter the Pikes Peak Marathon better start running now to the mailbox.
The field is nearly full, and race director Ron Ilgen said only entries postmarked by today will squeeze in. Its too late to register online for either the Aug. 21 marathon or the Aug. 20 Pikes Peak Ascent. The 1,800-person field for the ascent was filled in a record 60 hours after registration opened at 7 a.m. on March 1.
To get into the 800-person marathon, runners can go to the Web site, pikespeakmarathon.org, print out an entry form and mail it with a check for $65. Just get it postmarked today or youre out of luck.
Were surprised, Ilgen said Friday. We also were anticipating this could happen, but we felt it wasnt going to be quite this fast. Sixty hours, two-and-a-half days, is quite impressive. It shows theres a lot of excitement and anticipation for this event.
There is no waiting list. Those already entered arent allowed to transfer their entry to another person. Rather than a waiting list, Ilgen said race officials overbook in anticipation of cancellations.
The races are filling fast because this is the 50th running of the famed marathon, which draws people from all over the world. Its a grueling race up, then down the 14,110-foot Pikes Peak. Competitors run up Barr Trail, gaining 7,815 feet in elevation over 13.32 miles for the ascent. In the marathon, runners cope with a bone-jarring descent on the trail that has left competitors with bloody knees and arms.
Last years ascent took 11 weeks to fill and the marathon took 22 weeks.
The 2005 races are still looking for volunteers. Check the Web site for information.
Both races feature upgraded awards, a special entry gift, a raffle and other events to mark the mountain runs birthday. You dont have to win to walk home with something special along with your aches and pains. For the historic 50th, each races finishers will receive a commemorative fleece jacket along with the traditional finishers medal.
Its a prestigious thing to finish, Ilgen said.
AT A GLANCE
Pikes Peak Ascent
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Copyright 2005, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.