Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon Cut-Off Survey


If you wish, you can take the survey here.
Although I no longer tabulate the results, I do add the comments.

Click here for
My 2 cents
read the one dollar version

This survey was started on Wednesday, 8/20/97
Because someone got mad at me for cutting the times
from the results that did not make the cut-offs.

The survey was finished on Friday at 6:20pm, 8/22/97
All comments appear as written with the exception of spelling and no comments were left out.
Although I wish I could take the credit for some of them, none of these comments came from me.

Survey results

Enforce the cut-offs
Don’t enforce the cut-offs
My favorite responses:
Only these four have my comments added
Like it or not the Pike’s Peak Ascent and Marathon are competitions. We are measured against standards in every aspect of life. If the cut-offs are not enforced then the PPA&M become nothing more than a $50.00 “organized” hike up a mountain. Why not just make a million PPA&M finisher medals and give them to every hiker that completes the hike up or round trip during the rest of the year? If you don’t want to be subjected to cut-off times, don’t enter the race. There are 51 other weekends in the year.

This is worth a dollar, who needs my 2 cents? — Matt

I was one of the people who missed the cut off in the Ascent. Only by about five minutes. I knew before I sent in the entry what the rules were and as such have no problem with them. Much as I would love to be recognized, I expect you have to draw the line someplace. I don’t think it would be unfair however to mention the ones who came in late, before everything is totally broken down. For example: The following people came in after the cut off... Don’t list a time and quit taking times when the finish line is dismantled so as not to be a burden on the volunteers. Anyway I’ll get it next time.

I like this attitude! Not sure why they voted no — perhaps because they know that they are asking for the line to be moved so that at least their name gets listed. — Matt

My lord, me, a non-runner, with a backpack and boots, with no training, did the Ascent in seven hours. Either you are going to run a marathon or just waste peoples time.

If this person e-mails me I will give them my medal because frankly some of the attitudes I see in the other column have made it worthless! If we ignore the cut-offs then there is NOTHING that sets us apart from the thousands of people who do the peak the rest of the year. Except the fact that we get aid stations. — Matt

Update: This person saw my comment and wrote:

I was the one you offered your medal to, but you can keep it. I’ll just run the race next year and get my own recognition. I’ve been thinking a lot about the race, the cut-off, and what it means to be an athlete. I’m turning 40 in less than two weeks and I’m training harder than any other part of my life to prepare for Aconcagua. While I consider myself on the low end of the group, I still think of myself as an athlete because I am training for a difficult goal. When I said that I made the summit in seven hours with a pack and hiking boots, my point was that I did that without training. If I run the ascent, I want my success to mean something and if they let any casual hiker get recognition, then what is the point of all my training? Let’s honor the people who worked hard for this race. The cut-off does this nicely. It divides the people who worked for their success and those who are just playing.

Hey, I am just a spectator, I shouldn’t get to vote.

Your vote counts — the only cut-off or limit is you only get one vote! Unfortunately, there are some people who want to be counted in the race results as finishers of the PPA&M despite the fact they did not make the cut-off! — Matt

The rest of the responses:
Hey, this is (at least in name) a race. It’s not a fun run, or an organized hike. Also, setting a reasonable cutoff allows the race and support crews to wrap up at a predictable time. (Doesn’t staff “sweep” the hill after the last finisher and make sure no one’s still pukin gin the bushes below tree-line?) The cutoff times are *not* restrictive for anyone in any sort of shape. Everyone who finishes should be recognized. Running is a sport where everyone who participates is a winner!
Nearly every marathon I have run (42 in 10 years) has had a cut-off time. Usually due to traffic and to allow the police to eventually go home. Also, race committees can not be responsible for every Tom, Dick and Betty who decides on a whim to “take the challenge.” Cut-offs forewarn the unprepared that the event may just be out of their reach unless proper training is done. Even the Ironman has a cutoff. Forewarned is forearmed — BE PREPARED!!! If they make the effort to get to the top, or to the top and back down again, they deserve some recognition for their effort. There obviously has to be some cut off time for safety’s sake (before dark, leaving enough time to sweep the course or something like that, or when there aren’t enough volunteers at the finish line), but I’m not sure if a runner should be discounted just because they didn’t make it in 6.5 hours (or 10 hours).
The cut-offs must be enforced for many reasons. First and foremost the times set some form of running instead of a leisurely hike up the mountain with no time limit. Most anyone can hike up given enough time. Costs must be looked at also. If you extend limits or remove them you are still obligated to man the trail. This is not practical and would signal the end of America’s Greatest Challenge. There is no challenge to anything without limits. OK I said my peace, leave it alone, it’s fine. If anything make the times shorter to create a tighter field. This is a great challenge, lets keep it that way!!!! Only if the weather is threatening!!
I do believe the cut-offs should be enforced. I don’t know what the cut-off times should be (longer, shorter or stay the same), but I don’t think it is realistic to expect all the volunteers and course workers to stay on the trail all day. I sympathize with those who do not make the cut-offs, but they also need to understand the logistics of the race. For those who might take longer than the cut-off times they can go up any day they choose and take as long as they wish Although for most (if not all) the race is against the clock and themselves, it is still a RACE. The runners who stayed out there the longest definitely deserve a badge of courage, etc.
I believe the cut-offs should be enforced for two reasons. One, it isn’t called America’s Ultimate Challenge for nothing. The challenge would be compromised if people could leisurely stroll up the trail with a picnic lunch, get to the top when they wanted, then tell their friends that they conquered America’s Ultimate Challenge. Most runners train their butts off for this race, it isn’t fair to call everyone winners if no effort was put into it. Two, volunteers should not be made to wait on everyone, especially those unfit to participate. Volunteers take time out of their lives to contribute and the runners should respect that and do their best so that the volunteers along the course and at the top can finish their job and not have to worry if someone is dead along the trail. The reason is because this race is so very unpredictable. What if the weather is horrible? The race goes on, but the runners will have to adapt. I know this is an incredible challenge for the many dedicated volunteers. Perhaps you can ask of each participant what he or she is willing to give to the race (besides money) so that the resources are available to allow each participant to finish.
If your going to run a race, train for it. If you come up short, train a little harder and try it again next year. There are others involved besides runners, who are volunteering their time to help out. Cut-offs should only be enforced IF SAFETY of the runner is in question, OR if it becomes a burden for the support volunteers. I have GREAT admiration for the folks that continue to struggle hour after hour after hour after hour. To survive the sport must have citizen support. I watched and cheered many of the slower folks finish - WOW they were elated. A finish provides additional motivation to do better and greater good will. If cut-offs are enforced, qualifying times should be req’d.
Those who train and make the cut-off times do so because they are told the cut-off times are strictly enforced. Their effort should be recognized. IF they let others finish despite not making the cut-off times, then they should only be listed if there is a separate break-out category for those who did not make the cut-off. Not if they ended up finishing the race (whether ascent or round trip).
I think not enforcing the time-limits could endanger the well being of those who are on the mountain but maybe really weren’t as ready as they thought to take on the peak! It is because I saw people finishing the ascent in 7 - 8 hrs. that I decided that I could do it and now have finished 4 ascents in less than 5 hrs.
If the rule exists, it should be followed; otherwise it’s not fair to the rest of the runners who did make it... Just because they did not make the “official” cut-off time, does not diminish the magnitude of the accomplishment, nor does it diminish the accomplishments of the earlier finishers. Time is final voice to which we are all measured. Personally, I would not care if I finished after the cut-off and was not officially recognized, so long as I finished. I would still walk away knowing that I had conquered the mountain, albeit not as quickly as some.
I think that cut-off times make sense on a mountain race like that. I’ve done a lot of mountaineering and believe that I know something about the weather in the mountains. If you need too long on a mountain like Pikes Peak, things might get dangerous. so : yes, I believe that the cut-off should be enforces for everybody’s safety, as tough as that might be for the respective person. Another comment (this is about the Ascent, since that’s the one I did and know) : if somebody can’t make that race in 6:30, they don’t belong there. That might sound harsh again, but it’s just another safety concern. I’ve seen too many accidents in the mountains... I don’t think it’s fair to tell someone at Barr Camp, they can’t finish because they didn’t make the cutoff time. As long as you’re still moving, you should be allowed to finish. I know this may cause problems with people finishing very late, but that’s how I feel. My problem is people who start up front who have no business being there. It’s a lot of hard work and wasted energy trying to pass those folks later in the race. People should line up at the start according to their ability and projected time.
Runners should be able to gauge if they can make the cutoff times if they have been training. We all have an idea of how long it will take us to finish a race. Many volunteers are on the mountain to assist us and we need to be considerate of their time too! The only problem would be clearing runners off of the trail... Begin clearing at the cutoff in a manner that allows others still on the way down to finish... I would also break down the finish line at the cutoff to get that stuff off of the street... About your repeat vote warning — do you think anyone really cares about this topic?
It’s really unfair to the volunteers who have to wait for these people. Also, there is a certain “entry fee” for this race and I’m not talking about the cash, I’m talking about the training. If you haven’t put the time in, then I think it was you Matt who recommended that the person find a nice sunny day in the summer and hike Pikes Peak on their own. Finally, I believe that both the Leadville 100 and Comrades Ultra Run both have cutoffs that are strictly enforced. In fact, if you don’t reach the finish line by a certain time, you don’t finish! Yes, enforce the cutoffs!! A good friend of ours missed the cut-off for the marathon 2 years ago. She never quit and never stopped. She’s just slow. She knew the rules and to this day does not complain. She was given a finishers medal. But, I know she was disappointed when the results book arrived without listing her. I am the Race Director for the Dallas White Rock Marathon, so I know why the limits are in place. We face the same problem. The police need to open the streets back up etc.. But, if we’re still there when they arrive, they are listed in the results.
I also think there should be more waves... or at least a better line-up procedure. I took it seriously when I was asked to estimate my time for wave placement, but I got stuck behind *many* people in the first wave who should have been among the last people to start. They treated the Ascent as a pleasure-hike and as you know, the trail is so narrow that those who wish to race cannot when there are bottlenecks of non-racers. I’ve never done PP, but have done similar races like Imogene Pass. Obviously runners can’t expect race volunteers to be out there forever, but I don’t see why a slower runner couldn’t continue on unsupported if they wanted to. However, I don’t feel strongly about this, just wanted to get to the results page!
If a runner can not make the cut-off time, I feel that they are putting themselves in a dangerous position. For the same reason that students who drop classes graded “on the curve” should be counted when “curving” the grades. E.g., the person who was the last one to meet the cut-off times should not feel like they came in last, for they did not. But, records should only count those who make the cut-off times. But I’m willing to waffle on that for the oldest runners...
I didn’t do the race, I just wanted to check on a friend’s performance. If you’re not going to enforce a rule, why bother promulgating it?  
If you’re going to have a cut-off then it should be enforced. Otherwise, what is the point of even having it? If you don’t want to enforce it then just eliminate it entirely.  
Although it is the right of anyone to challenge themselves, volunteers should not be overburdened with having to perform any additional hours due to someone not being able to make the cutoff.  
“Runners” of this ilk are just clutter on the trail... You’ve got to give it up to the old guys though.  
If there are those who disagree, I would be willing to listen to their arguments, but I thought that most folks were able to do the run under the limits, and to take too much longer really puts a strain on the resources of the volunteers - and may be an indication that a slow runner needs to work a little harder before they take on the Peak. Those taking longer may be endangering themselves and others who are there to help them in other words. On the other hand - it’s not as though once you’ve started there are a lot of places to opt out of the race, so why not give those who finish an informal time, a finishers medal and an understanding that they should go faster next time? It would be a shame for anyone who wants the experience to miss out because of an arbitrary limit, but I guess it’s a free trail, and open to folks any other time they want to go...  
Easy for me to say. I made the cutoff easily, but I would think that it’s a good safety measure.  
If you’re going to set a limit then you should enforce it. Otherwise it is a free for all.  
If the c/o times are not enforced, why have them? The volunteers that run the race must also be considered if the cut-offs will not be enforced. I’ve always thought that after the c/o times, the race should be closed, over, kaput. Anybody still on the course is on their own, and will get a DNF in the results. It could be worded into the registration form, i.e. “I understand that if I do not make the c/o times that I solely am responsible for my safety, etc...”. While I understand that the Pikes Peak runs are big events for many people, it also shouldn’t be taken lightly that “well, we have all day to finish, so let’s take our time...”  
In order to have a SAFE race there must be cutoff points so all runners can be accounted for and the course can be “swept” at the end of the race. It would seem to be a great hardship on all the great volunteers who put on this race to not have a time to END it and feel that everyone was safe and accounted for...... and to all of those volunteers... THANKS FOR A GREAT TIME  
I don’t know much about the race, so I’m basing my answer on assumptions. If there is support on the course and it is withdrawn at the cutoff time, the racers should be helped off as well. I assume this is a very demanding race and it might be dangerous to leave people out there alone after the cutoff time.  
The cutoffs are supposed to protect the runners, (as well as the support persons) and should be enforced. This is because of the strain the runner faces as the goes higher, but also because of the afternoon lightning storms. You do not want anyone up there if possible. Even people who make the cutoffs can get stuck up there — I did in 1991.  
Especially for the marathon, the cut offs are generous already, if you are not making the cutoffs, there is a good chance you are in trouble and should stop for safety reasons.  

Responses after the survey:

Note: I am NOT adjusting the score — just adding the comments.
Enforce the cut-offs Don’t enforce the cut-offs
My favorite responses:
Only these two have my comments added
I am one of the 15 who were not listed. Rules are rules and I respect your decision 100%. Being from Florida, I was not prepared for above the treeline. I have no one to blame for not making the time except myself. I knew the rules before I started. I am thankful that they allowed me to continue — they didn’t have to. I might not have made the time but I didn’t quit. The problem is the rules didn’t state you could run till you decide to quit. I would like to congratulate the runners who made the cut-off. Cutoff times are there to seperate runners from tourist.

1998 Update: This person wrote back after the 1998 races and wrote:

I was the person who wrote the comments after the ’97 Ascent about knowing the rules before I came. Just for the record, I finished the Marathon this year, within the time limit. Rules are sometimes good. They make us push harder. Thanks.

I personally think the cut-offs are needed but not at the finish. If a person makes lets say two cut-offs he should be eligible to finish the race at will. I understand the volunteers are tired of being there for so long, but at the finish there should be fill-in help. Some people work very hard training for a race like this and no matter if it is twenty seconds or two hours my point is every person that crosses that finish line should be recognized and put on the list with the rest of finishers. So just list them last fifteen people and quit being so cocky YOU piece of shit. Thank you.

Congratulations on becoming one of my favorite responses. How is that for being “recognized?” — Matt

The rest of the responses:
Just had a chance to read the survey results and am more convinced than ever that cut-off times need to be enforced. Many comments pointed out reasons I never thought of. The most compelling — those of us who took the TCR rules seriously and trained to make the cut-off times. Months of serious running and some worry and trepidation were part of my experience — the reward? Making a good first effort well within the cut-off times. The thought of not making a cut-off kept me going through many months and to think I could have saved all that trouble by driving to the top, eating a donut and buying the T-shirt. Those who made it within the cut-off times deserve their medal and should have pride at their accomplishment — such pride is taken away when the rules are not enforced. Thanks for giving a neutral forum to debate this issue and I hope the TCR takes notice and listens to the results. I don’t believe that the cut-offs should be enforced nor do I believe that they should be changed. For the race, the cut-offs are fine. You have to do it somewhere. There are too many people up there supporting the race.

As long as a person is deemed medically fit to continue by El Paso County Search and Rescue, then they should be able to continue. If a hiker wants to climb the mountain, there isn’t anyone up there telling them they have to go back down after so many hours.

The runner should understand that they can continue but that support may not be there if they need it. They must also know that they will not be listed as a finisher but if they do make the top, they will have finished the race just like any other person who started it. Finishing is they main thing.

I ran the Rocky Mountain 50 Miler from Larame to Cheyenne many years ago and there was no cut-off times. That race doesn’t believe in it. But you have to have your own support personnel as well. I was glad there was no cut-off, my time was 12:50 minutes — but I finished. I know I finished and it doesn’t matter that it was almost 4 hours beyond most 50 mile race cut-offs (9:30).

However, that is different than Pikes Peak. I had to turn around several years ago due to altitude sickness. I never made A-frame and this was after doing the race 11 times.

Check the runners medically, give them the straight poop on what is ahead, no support, etc and then let them make that decision themselves.

I did the Crow Pass Crossing three times before I made the cut-off. I went into the race knowing that if I was over six hours when I got to the finish no-one would be there, the banner would be gone and only the guy checking off names and my husband would be there to greet me — wasn’t always sure about my husband. Got the T-shirt but my name wasn’t on it ’till I made the cutoff. Cutoffs make good sense and should be enforced. Even if you’re 100! As long as safety isn’t an issue...
Having been active as a volunteer for many years on top and bottom we need a concrete point at which we close up our operations. I directed the finish line operations on top for several years. Believe me, I called the A-frame at cut-off time and got the number of the last runner legally through there. When they hit the top — I shut it down. This should be done and enforced for the sake of the support logistics. There are altogether too many people up there who should not be there. If we enforced the cut-offs, the established one for Barr Camp too, then we would discourage those who risk their own lives by being up there and open the marathon to more qualified people who didn’t get registered in time. The race is over, just list the last fifteen people who completed the race and let bygones be bygones. I am tired of hearing the bullshit over and over. If they made the two other cut-offs they should be recognized, enough with the cockey shit. I ran the race and only made the cut-offs because of a person who helped me when I just wanted too give up. My sneeker came untied and being unable to bend over this person stopped to help me. Therefore I made the cut-offs. This person just missed by seconds on the finish — that alone deserves recognition. Great job Matt. Keep up the good work.
Sorry I mistook the meaning of the survey and also the assumption you were part of running the show. I answered to include runners after the cut-off because I wanted a list of the total number of runners who entered verses just those who finished. This allows those of us in the back of the pack who made the cut-off not to feel so bad because quite a few did not even finish.

I agree with the cut-off to have a goal to make.

When I first put up the survey, some people thought it was a filter to control how much of the results they saw. Further, the only comments I was getting were what people liked or didn’t like about the race. I reworded the form so that it was clear that it was a survey about cut-offs and not a filter for the results. For those that are really curious, the scores of the two "surveys" were: 1) AS A FILTER — 15 don’t include runners after cut-off, 19 do include runners. 3 total comments 2) AS A SURVEY — 85 enforce cut-offs, 33 don’t enforce cut-offs. 41 total comments. Despite the fact that the real survey was a total landslide I felt it only fair to include the people who thought it was a filter — lest I be accused of cheating! — Matt

By leaving all results, people who run at the slower times can see that other people of like times are finishing these races. However there should be the option for people who don’t want to be published.
I have to disagree with one of the comments — I do think that it was interesting, especially seeing what people think (i.e. the comments). My final thoughts? Well, I agree with almost all of the comments (on both sides). But even if I agree with a statement itself on the “no-cutoff” side, most of them don’t seem to give a real reason not to have a cutoff. A lot of the comments on the pro cutoff side (including yours) express what I am thinking a lot better than I could have expressed it.

Here’s a small collection of random thoughts:
- I think that 6:30 for the Ascent is way longer than anybody should need if they want to say that they did a RACE. I mean, I am everything but a great runner (3:09 on marathon best and 39:50 at 10 km). I spent 5 of the last 6 weeks before the race in Europe close to sea level, climbing a lot (in the Dolomites), but only running 70 - 80 miles in those 6 weeks combined. And I got up there in 3:22. So I’d say “Come on folks, you want to take twice as long and still call this a race?” I also know of people who hiked to the summit in 6:30 hours.
- 2 weeks before PP I did a 25 km race in Germany. It was completely flat and basically at sea level, but I’d still consider its 2:30 cutoff time (which was enforced) somewhat harder to meet than the 6:30 for the Ascent.
- and somebody on the contra side said that if you want a cut-off time you should have a qualification standard. I don’t think that that’s a bad idea for a races like the PPA&M.

Cutt offs are always too short for the Victorians. Seriously though it is similar to a speed limit, or any limit or constraint put into a deadline for sign ups, income tax mailing (yikes!!) OR a race and so stated in the up front flyer. Some will never make any cut-off and on it goes. I say give the last person on the mountain a red lantern and let them keep it as a souvenier. ;-))
Maybe on the next race application they should make sure that its a RACE not a WELFARE (fun)run. I can’t believe some of those whiney responses for not honoring the cut-off times. Anyone who really races at their ability should know conditions make the race even the man-made ones. Maybe the whiners who finished afterwards should get a gold star for their forehead! At any rate WHINNER does sound like WINNER — but there is a world of difference. Actually, I like the way that they do it now: they assess the person's general physical condition, and if the entrant appears to be in good shape, they are allowed to continue. If, however, the entrant is stumbling around and rambling incoherently (or similar behavior), they're pulled. I realize this is very subjective, but it's all they can do, and I do think it's fair.
After reading everyone else’s comments I must respectfully change my vote. The cut-off time should be enforced. Anybody who makes the cutoff on top and finishes before the sweep at least deserves the medal but not the record book. Also the people who work the race are a great bunch of people. My best to everyone. Russ
I feel the need to explain my previous comments. You have me down in the column of those who feel the cut-offs should not be enforced. I think they should be enforced; in fact, I always thought they were enforced. If I clicked no, then my mouse must have gone-off by accident. I just think those who are turned back, or quit should count in the x finisher out of y for the age group results. (So that the last guy to make the cut-offs is not last.) I have always assumed that the reason there are less than 800 finishers, usually about 650-700, was because people did not make the cut-offs. Are you telling me that there are over 100 no shows (for the Marathon)?

To summarize: If ten 70 year-old men sign up, and 5 beat the cut-offs, then the last to make the cut-offs is 5th out of 10, and not 5th out of 5. The 5 slower runners can stay on the trail because they are adults and there is no legal way to kick them off. (I don’t think). If they want, they can time themselves and see how much they must improve, but no finisher medal. And frankly, only Christian charity, or similar motivation, should allow them to use the aid stations, which are there for those still in the race!

Yes, a lot of people do not show up for the race — just a side effect of having to sign up so early. I agree with you and if you look at the results that is how they are listed — look at the last three listed in the male Ascent to get an example. Further, although it is not done now, I also think the DNF (those that dropped out) people should be counted in the figuring of places too. After all, they were in the race and the last person to beat the cut-off did beat them! Some races do list a “number of starters” number. This way the person that got “last” knows how many people they really beat.

Unless there is a runner at risk of exposure etc. The act of completion is the first step for a lot of us. If we can't get past that, what inspires us to continue?!
Having hiked up Pikes Peak previously, I finally competed in my first Ascent this year. I do believe that the cut-off times should be enforced. The 6h30m pushes a lot of individuals to complete the trail more quickly than what they may normally undertake. It is only fair to not include their names in the results. They were unable to complete the course in the required time. I made all the cutoffs but the last one. I finished in 10 hr. 45 min. I feel if I didn't have to move out of the way for the faster runners I would have made it. Also, I am from Florida which our training was only on treadmills, bridges and sand on the beach. So give us a break on the cutoffs. Luckily I did get a medal and my name was listed at the end. I would have really been upset if that didn't happen after all the hard work I felt I put into it.
This is a question that, unfortunately, is being asked more and more these days... sounds like outcome based marathoning to me!! Hell yes cut-offs should be enforced and, for that matter, tightened up!! You got to have some kind of parameters in the event or where’s the challenge?? Having “run” Pikes Peak for the first time this year and put my 14th marathon under my feet, I say this event is the most challenging and difficult in the USA. I finished just under 6h and feel damn good about it but also realize that I have a lot of room for improvement. If the cut-off was 5h, I would accept the DNF and train harder for the next go round. Kind of like getting a D in organic chemistry...8-] it is?? Anyway Keep the cut-offs, enforce the cut-offs, NO WIMPS, NO CRYBABIES. As long as the runners understand that the race is only SUPPORTED during the cut-off times, they should be allowed to finish, but not necessarily expect their times to be published. If the RD decides to, then that's their decision.
I have lived in the Pikes Peak Region for ten years. While not particularly proud of my four-hour Ascent and seven-hour Marathon (albeit back-to-back in the same year, the Double), I have also hiked up the mountain, with a pack, in under 6:30 numerous times. I have also climbed Pikes Peak in under seven hours in the winter, on snow pack, several times. While I have worried about the cutoffs at the Imogene Pass Run, at Pikes Peak, with the generous cutoffs, if someone can’t make the cutoff (6.5) they should hike the mountain one of the other 51 weeks of the year. Anything less is only a hike, not a race.  
Although many people run the run for fun the cutoffs should be enforced. If there were no cut offs people would be on the trail very late and this makes it all the more dangerous to all involved — the many people that help and the runners.  
I think they are necessary and fair as long as the rules are printed out before signup. To finish in the specified time is a challenge to be met.  
LOOK!! It is a race. That means hard, sustained effort, even if it is relatively hard to that person. Having run the Ascent under four hours TWICE with absolutely NO training whatsoever, I must say that 6 and a half hours is more than lenient enough. About these people in the non cutoff side with their “I conquered the mountain I should be recognized” tirade? That’s a load of crap — the objective is not to climb the mountain the objective is to climb the mountain as fast as possible. That is what makes a race, as fast as possible. Otherwise as many others have said there are 51 other weekends in the year where they could “conquer the mountain.” These weekends come with the added bonus of not having to pay $45 dollars or so to do the conquering. Come on people it is a race! You race to COMPETE not to COMPLETE. Complete it on another day.  
I am a female who has run 4 marathons and 2 ascents. I vote in favor of the cutt off times! If you can't run it within those times, then you shouldn’t be up there, and you are asking too much of the race support to take care of you for that long.  
The cutoffs are fine where they are, if people can’t finish in time, then train harder for next year. I was in the 1997 Ascent, went into the race with a stress fracture and had a flu like illness, then at French Creek my ankles were bleeding because of blister, but I still pushed on and finished well before the cutoffs because I knew they were there and I wanted to beat them. This is also a mental race, and if you have all day to do it, then you wouldn’t be pushed.  
The Pikes Peak marathon is a great “race.” Cut-offs must be enforced to preserve the integrity of the race, as well as ensure the safety of all those who have the courage (lack of sanity) to participate in such an event.  
Hey Matt! I’ve got another idea. How about having a vending machine at the top which dispenses finisher metals and t-shirts every day of the year!  
I finished the 1997 Ascent in 7h09m but the enforced cut-off was at the A-Frame for 4h30m. This is the cut-off that was enforced and should remain so. For those of us who make that cut-off give us credit for finishing! It’s unfair to ignore our finish when we made all the cut-offs. There were support personnel and the finish line was open with no sign of them starting the tear down process. What good does a cut-off do if you impose one at the end that is not mentioned/enforced?

Glad you want the cut-offs enforced however the cut-off at the top was in fact posted in the conformation booklet. It stated that the top closes at 2 pm or a 6:30 Ascent although technically a person in the first wave does get 7 hours but even still you missed that time.

These are final cutoffs and should be enforced. I am one half of the Deadly Duo who enforce the *intermediate* cutoffs at Leadville Trail 100. We go from aid station to aid station; and we do allow some leeway at various aid stations; but most runners know that there race is over if they don’t make the aid station cutoffs, especially those from Winfield (50 miles) on. Our cutoff duties end at May Queen on the return (87 miles).  
I had heard about Pikes Peak Marathon and was entertaining the thought of entering it for next year (2000). However, this event seems to suffer from the same horrible affliction that many other marathons (outside of Boston and the Olympic Trials) suffer - the slow, but steady cheapening of the achievement of running a marathon by the ever expanding cut-off times. I spend a lot of my time running and training for races I enter - be it a 5K or a marathon. I would never even consider running a race if I were not properly prepared. Those who do enter races unprepared show complete disrespect to the sport of running and their fellow runners.

I personally think more marathons should have qualifying times, much like Boston. There would be differing times for different ages and genders (and probably not nearly as severe as Boston’s). Walking up a mountain and back down again or walking a marathon course in 6+ hours and calling yourself an athlete or a marathoner is an insult to all those who have trained long and hard to actually run the race. After all, it is still a race.

I personally abhor the prevailing attitude in America that everyone has to win, that mediocrity is rewarded. Where is the incentive to improve if walking a marathon is rewarded the same as someone who ran it? The answer is - there is none. People run for different reasons and that is fine. But the purpose of a race is to race. Not walk. Not hike. If you want to hike or walk, find a trail or a path and knock yourself out. But do not call yourself an athlete and do not insult true marathoners by calling yourself a marathoner. Quit whining. Take a good look at yourself. Live within your own limits. Do not pretend to be something you're not.

Here is a final personal note to all who said to not enforce the cut-off times, who believe that walking a course (in the case of PP - hiking) is the same as racing. If you think that people are being arrogant, cocky or elitist, by all means, choose to no longer participate in such races - we will be better off without you. Stop your incessant whining about winning is in the going and all the rest of your liberal everyone wins bullshit. If this is the direction of racing, I would rather not race. I will instead, run for the love I have for the sport - something which you babies clearly lack. I will leave the races to the self-delusion, self-important whiners who think that walking to the corner store should be “recognized.” Get real. I will recognize only runners who I feel have accomplished something and until you whiners do, you will always be second class walkers (you don’t deserve the moniker of runner) in my eyes.

Cut offs should be enforced. We should not make the officials stay around all night waiting for someone to finish the race, they have better things to do. Besides, the cut offs are so rediculas that if you can't make it up before the cutoff time, then you probably ought to save your trip up pikes peak for some day when there is no race and you can start your climb at 3:00 am. The weather can get real rough after 12:00 on top of the peak so everyone should be getting off before then. The year I finished with a 5:27, (a 12:43pm finish from the second wave) It started to snow as I found my warmups.  
Enforce the cut off time  
Recognizing those who do not make the cutoffs is like recognizing every athlete who DNF’s. I ran the marathon this year and DNF’d at 1/2 way because of major blisters (forgot my shoes in Wisconsin, sheesh!) and I don’t believe that i should be recognized until i can kick the shizza out of that race the whole thing in the allotted amount of time.  
Cut off times should definitely be enforced. I did the ascent for the the first time this year (1999). I trained very hard for this race. I have only done short distance races and only seriously started running in Jan 99 to do the Ascent. I knew it was going to be very difficult since I am a flatlander and had no idea how the altitude would affect me. I made all the cut offs in good time but did not make the last cut off. I got altitude sickness at the 16 steps(1/3 of a mile away) and had to have rescue workers assist me to the top. My time was 7.5 hours. That 1/3 of a mile took me over 1.5 hrs. This is a race, it definitely needs cutoffs otherwise it wouldn't be a RACE!! I didn't finish in the qualifier time so I shouldn't be recognized as an official finisher.  
Yes. However, it seems to the victors go the spoils. My wife, 57 surgeries in all, went for it this year. Training went well but she wound up with bilateral foot drop three miles into the race. Quit? Never! Pulled in at 7:05 after dragging her buns up with no dorsiflexion. Cleared Barr Camp and A-Frame. This wasn't a picnic, not a welfare run and she wasn't asking for the special Olympics. We both agree with the cutoffs, but give those that did make it a little slack. Maybe we should taunt all of those that finished no. 2 or slower. Maybe ridicule all of those pulling up with injuries during the race for not knowing better. Someday the shoe may (and will) be on the other foot. Be grateful for your ability to get the job done quickly. Everyone's race is different. Maybe some don't care to be a part of yours if you trash the –weaker.—  
Slow people need not apply.  
That should be plenty of time for either race, I know I’m not fast and never trained for either one and still ran under those times with plenty to spare.  
I plan to run the 2000 ascent and I want the standards strictly enforced. I am training hard for this race; If the cutoffs were not enforced I simply would not enter, but would continue to hike the mountain at my leisure. If you want to race then race, otherwise walk on your own time and don’t force me to pat you on the back!  
Not fair for the volunteers. The day is long enough for the volunteers, why should they stay longer for a couple of runners. Anyone who cannot make the cut-off should not be doing the event. Stick to 5k’s.  
Enforce the cut-offs. They were clearly stated and quite reasonable. I just completed the 2000 Marathon. I live at sea level and I walked almost the whole race (to enjoy the scenery and to avoid injury). I finished in under 10 hours and got my medal and pin (same as all other finishers). If I had missed the cut-offs, it would have been my own fault for not pacing myself correctly (I still would have been dissappointed). I do feel bad for the runners who finished after me, but missed the final cut-off. I saw some of them come in and they were having great difficulty, but still trying hard. Perhaps they will be inspired to do a little better next year. The cut-offs are part of the race.  
I had not been able to train nearly enough for this event and frankly had my doubts about whether I should try it and was a bit embarassed to go ahead and do the ascent with those who had trained. It definately wasn’t easy however my wife and I both made the cut-offs well ahead of the turn-around times. I feel the cut-offs are plenty generous and I assume they are that way to give us older runners a chance. If a runner can’t make the cut-off, they obviously didn’t train near enough or had an injury. If a person can’t make it, it’s a sign they need much more work, not that the standards need to be lowered. The experience made me determined to come back next year much better equipped physically to take on the challenge of the Ascent. If you remove the standards, it diminishes the meaning of doing the event.  
What’s next? Pave a road to the top of every 14’r in the state so everybody on the planet can enjoy that experience as well? Hey, I want to experience what it’s like to finish at the front of the pack but I’m not asking to have everyone else start an hour later so I can enjoy a hollow victory. Too many of us want something handed to us rather than earning it. We should want to earn that medal otherwise they may as well just mail them to us.  
For all the right reasons. Whiners should step off the trail.  
For safety and integrally ofthe race.  
Good day all, if you can't make it try again. This time try harder.  
This is an organized event and as such you accept all conditions set down for participation. The cut-off times are reasonable. Rules are rules.  
In 1982, I was age 40, an active runner from Florida competing in the high country for the first time. I finished. I was 416/481. It was a proud day in my life. In 1985, I had just moved to CO. 10 days before the race to attend UCCS as a grad student. I was not as prepared but my perseverance prevailed and I finished. I was 942/972. The Ascent experience was ingrained into my soul. I would never forget. In 2001, 19 years later, I entered the race again, while living in Virginia. At 59, I trained harder than at any previous time. I was determined to run and finish. But, I knew from experience what the last 3000' could do to your body. Anything less than a perfect day would prevent me, I'm sure, from reaching the summit. Again, I am happy to say I finished. I was 1151/1164. I finished in the top 86%, 97%, and 99% for my three Ascent races. Please! Never abandon the cut-off times. I am a very proud 3-time finisher who takes joy in knowing that my preparation allowed me to beat that great mountain three times.  
Like so many other things, some runners think they can reap the glory of finishing a race, like Pike's Peak, without paying the dues. As someone who spends many, many, many hours training, I resent those who show up looking for a "trophy," just because they paid their registration fee. Pike's and other difficult races SHOULD NOT be undertaken by those who are not COMMITED to being their best.  
Yes they should be. They are there for a reason and it is a good one. I did the Marathon last year with my wife. She got altitude sickness and had to stop for an hour or more after struggling for about 2 hours before that. I went on to the top after she was resting okay and then met her on the way down. We went back to the 12 mile aid station, but decided we would not make the cut off time and she wanted to get the "down" experience. We completed the course, but she didn't finish because of the time. It wasn't because she wasn't trained or wasn't unfair. She knew it could happen to any of us "flatlanders" and that is just a consequence of the challenge. Next time she'll probably be fine but I could be layed low.  
Standards are Standards with a capital S. The main reason that people run the Boston Marathon is that you have to qualify for it. The same applies to cut off times in my rarely humble opinion. The Pikes Peak races would hardly be special if everone who got a wild hare up their bum felt like doing it and taking their own sweet time. Why not just make it an over-nighter? Cut off times are the race director's peragative. End of discussion. Race directors should not feel the least bit inclined to try to justify them. If a runner doesn't make the cut off time, he or she is disqualified and if they are listed at all, they should be listed with the other DNFs.  
There is only ONE winner and the prize should be worthy of the effort. I ran up most of Barr Trailwhen I was between the ages of 10 and 13 with my Dad. The rule was I had to turn around when he was headed back down, and by god if you want to play then keep the hell up. Cut off should be enforced, and I would like it to be a percentage of the winners acent time.  
The ultimate arbiter of success is our own judgement/expectations. A t-shirt, finisher's medal or even award are meaningless unless a challenge has been undertaken with the best effort possible. Let's not discount the effort of those who have finished but not within the cutoff time, however, that cutoff time IS the end of the race. Conquering the course is still valid having finished, but the RACE has not been conquered until the cutoff times are met. Even well-trained athletes can have a bad day (injuries, illnesses, fatigue, etc) that causes them to miss the cut-off. The goal should be to do the best with what you have that day. I have been very proud of some dismal races because, for the conditions handed me that day, I ran phenomenally -- even if I didn't finish the race, I didn't give up. Honestly, there are some races I've been so nervous to run, I've considered my first goal to make it to the starting line, my second not to throw up before the race begins, etc. This way, even if the cutoffs get me (or even if I win and rationalize that no one was "competitive" that day), I have a series of accomplishments I've accumulated. By the time I get the finisher's medal (or not), it doesn't hold a candle to the series of accomplishments that got me there. With this in mind, I think cutoffs should be enforced. It is a race. Everyone who enters the race has their goals. Some are rejoiced to win awards, some to finish the race, some to finish the course. If your goal is to merely finish the course, it is advisable to do it under less crowded conditions than race day (less expensive too). If your goal is to finish the race, do the training and be at the starting line. If you fail, at least you tried. If you succeed, great. But success means very little without the potential for failure -- cutoffs provide safety, a defined time interval of service for volunteers, and, frankly, that potential for failure without which there is no success.  
Get in a car and race like REAL people... most of us don't have the time to waste!!

Oh wow.... you can pass out when you get to the top, feel special.

Besides Pikes, I have climbed many other 14ers. The MAJOR safety concern any time you get above timberline is weather. Cut off times should be set & enforced to keep unfit hikers (& volunteers) off the mountain when weather can threaten. You rarely know in advance what the weather will be like up high and a preset cut off time lets every one know what is reasonably safe on a mountain. I am also in agreement that if you can't get up Pikes in under 6:30 you don't have any business running the ascent.  
If you dont enforce them, why have them at all?  
Make sure there is a reason for these exact times and if so, enforce them. If not change them (up or down) and enforce that.  

Take the survey here

Or Just Send Me Your Comments...

    Your Name: 
  Your E-mail: 
Retype E-mail: 


Liability Waiver:
I understand that typing and using a mouse have been found to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. By clicking on the submit button I agree now and forever to hold Matt Carpenter harmless and indemnify him for all claims, damages, judgments and costs and that I am in good physical condition and physically and mentally capable of using a mouse and a keyboard.

Back to the Rambling page