A fight to the finish
Goldsmith holds off competition, defends crown
By MERI-JO BORZILLERI
MANITOU SPRINGS Lisa Goldsmith was defending her Pikes Peak Ascent title, but Saturday, it seemed the mountain had evened the score.
A mile or so from the 14,115-foot summit, with the finish line in sight, Goldsmith, 41, of Nederland, was hurting so much she had to walk. Still, she wound up winning the 13.32-mile race in 2 hours, 46 minutes, 7 seconds 38 seconds faster than Cindy ONeill, 44, of Manitou Springs. Anita Ortiz, 42, of Eagle, was third in 2:48:56.
I could hear her husband, Goldsmith said.
That was John ONeill, manager of the Colorado Running Company in Colorado Springs.
The last few switchbacks, John was yelling, Shes right up ahead! Shes walking! said Cindy ONeill, whose prerace fluids included Pepto-Bismol because she was ill with lingering flu.
That helped ONeill, but it was also enough to spur Goldsmith, who had overtaken ONeill and Colorado Springs Stephanie Jones about 1˝ miles into the race. At Barr Camp, more than halfway through, spectators told ONeill that Goldsmith had opened a 3˝-minute gap. But near the end, Goldsmith said she felt herself fading as ONeill picked up steam.
I walked when I had to, said Goldsmith, who finished 20th overall in the 1,800-person field. I ran when I could. I was really hurting the last mile.
ONeill woke Saturday achy and tired from a flu that began Wednesday. She visited a doctor Thursday and received antibiotics. On race morning, she decided not to race. John persuaded her to not waste all the training hours.
Turned out it was good advice. ONeill said she felt stronger as she got higher. With two miles left, she passed Ortiz.
I was just feeling terrific, she said.
She could see Goldsmith walking. But even with that, and encouragement from spectators, ONeill felt Goldsmith had too much of a lead.
I really didnt believe I could catch her, ONeill said.
She couldnt. Goldsmith said recent training sessions with Boulder resident Scott Elliott, the eight-time Ascent mens champion who placed second Saturday, have helped.
After her win, in the medical room atop Pikes Peak, Goldsmith received oxygen through a tube placed below her nose. Her race hadnt been pretty, but it had been enough. Neither the mountain nor ONeill had managed to beat her.
She had a great day, ONeill said.
Copyright 2006, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.