Carpenter a rock star
Manitou runner continues to dominate Pikes Peak
By MERI-JO BORZILLERI
In the end, it was all about winning the Pikes Peak Marathon for Matt Carpenter.
That, as much as anything, explains Carpenters mug-splitting smile and multiple fist pumps on his triumphant run down Ruxton Avenue in Manitou Springs toward the finish line Sunday morning.
Its awesome to have it done, Carpenter said. The race itself, I dreaded it the whole way. The whole race, I was scared.
Pikes Peak first-timer Emma Murray, 28, an Australian environmental scientist, also siphoned the drama from the womens race, winning it by more than four minutes over Danelle Ballengee, 35, of Dillon, an adventure racer and four-time champion.
Murrays time of 4:21:09 shattered the age-group record of 4:31:17, set by Linda Quinlisk of Cascade in 1981. Ballengee, runner-up to an overseas runner for the second straight year, posted a time of 4:25:44. Gunnisons Keri Nelson, 25, was third in 4:51:53.
Carpenter did not break any records, though his focused demeanor and training runs in the weeks leading up to the race pointed to a try at the uphill record.
On Sunday, he reached the 14,115-foot summit in 2:08:27, well off his Ascent mark of 2:01:06, set in 1993. Yet that would have been good enough to win Saturdays Ascent by 10 minutes. His 1993 Marathon record of 3:16:39 still stands.
This is my second-best time ever, said Carpenter, so depleted he still was getting intravenous fluid more than an hour after his finish. Im a lot older than that guy who set the record. It was a tough middle battle today. I wanted to push hard but not blow the race. Today I had to focus on the competition.
Carpenter said anxiety about a deep international field caused his stomach to be upset enough for him to lose 4 pounds between Saturday night and race morning.
But it was Americans Burrell, 27, of Boulder (3:45:41), and Zac Freudenburg, 28, of St. Louis (3:54:01), who finished closest.
If Carpenter only knew what his opponents were thinking, he wouldve had a good nights sleep. He led the 800-person field from start to finish.
I knew there was no way I could beat him on that mountain, said Uli Steidl, 34, a German native now living in Shoreline, Wash., near Seattle.
I just let him go, said Burrell, second last year to Italys Fulvio Dapit. You just have to run your own race and run to your strength.
Burrell caught Freudenburg, running his first marathon of any kind, just after Barr Camp.
I made a holiday of it, she said.
The race, however, was no picnic.
They keep bringing in these foreigners who are unbelievable runners, Ballengee said. They make me work.
Murray took off at the start, but Ballengee was optimistic shed catch her at the beginning of the downhill, where the trail was twisting and rocky.
Patches of snow, which fell Saturday night, made for slushy footing.
I was gaining on her on the technical top section, Ballengee said.
Then the course evened out, and Ballengees progress stopped.
Murray saw the gap on the turnaround.
I was pretty worried when I got to the top. I came back down and (Ballengee) wasnt that far behind me, she said.
Like Carpenter, Murray used the butterflies in her stomach to soar Sunday. Tulsas Julie Thomas, who finished 35th in the womens race, marveled at the sight of Carpenter.
He was like a gazelle over those rocks, Thomas said. He looked awesome.
Copyright 2006, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.