CARPENTER STILL THE KING
Manitou Springs runner posts his third-fastest time in ninth victory
By KATE CRANDALL
Matt Carpenter looks forward to the day his Pikes Peak Marathon record falls.
And, aside from continuing to compete in the Marathon, hes doing everything he can to make that happen.
He invites challengers and pupils to meet him on his mountain for weekly runs with the Incline Club between November and August.
Hes handed over loads of advice online and even printed a manual on how to train for and conquer the 26.21-mile race from Manitou Springs to the summit and back.
I have a passion for the mountain, Carpenter said. Theres nothing more exciting to me than to see 60 or 80 people take off up the trails on a training run.
But Sunday on Barr Trail, as in most of the nine Marathons hes won, he was all alone.
In the time it took for Carpenter to run one or two extra miles in his hometown of Manitou Springs to cool down, runner-up Dave Mackey finally crossed the finish line on Manitou Avenue.
He was completely gone, said Boulders Mackey, 38, an accomplished mountain runner who finished 15 minutes behind Carpenters time of 3 hours, 36 minutes, 54 seconds.
Grand Junction resident Keri Nelson, 27, captured the womens title in 4:39, nearly 40 minutes ahead of Superiors Bronwyn Morrissey, who ventured for the round trip after top-20 finishes in the 13.32-mile Ascent the past two years.
Nelsons margin of victory is second only to a win of nearly 2 hours in 1973, when the womens Marathon featured only two runners in its second year.
To understand true dominance, though, look to Carpenter. His 1993 Marathon record of 3:16:39 still stands, as does his 2:01:06 Ascent record, which he established on the front end of that 14,115-foot summit climb. His descent record (1:15:33 in 1993) also remains intact.
He makes running and breaking 4 hours look so easy that it seems like the rest of us guys should be able to do it, said Bernie Boettcher, a 45-year-old from Silt who finished third for the second straight year. Im not sure anyone would ever be able to break his Pikes Peak Marathon time. Its like a Phelpsian-type record a reference to Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.
Last year, Mackey caught a glimpse of Carpenter with 3 miles to go, closing the gap to about 30 seconds. But Carpenter found a way to keep his streak alive, winning by less than 2 minutes.
On Sunday, Carpenter didnt take any chances. He built an estimated 14-minute advantage by the time he reached the summit, his homemade screw shoes having no trouble on the residual snow and ice from Saturdays storm.
His winning time was within 3 minutes of the agegroup record he established in 2006 and his third-fastest overall, topping his first Marathon time at age 24 by almost 2 minutes.
Im kind of tired of second, said Mackey, who has finished behind Carpenter in his three Marathon attempts (2001, 2007 and 2008). It seems like Im always a bridesmaid. Im pretty competitive, so of course I want to win it. Some year, Ill win, but not if Matt Carpenter shows up.
That might be a long wait.
Its his race and his world, Mackey said. I dont have a choice. I can run my best race and Matt is still in control.
Carpenter, 44, says Father Time will catch him eventually. But on Pikes Peak, one cant be so sure.
Copyright 2008, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.