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Kilian Jornet falls short of Pikes Peak Marathon record as Maude Mathys obliterates women’s mark set last year

Catlan runner ran 3:27:39, nearly 11 minutes shy of Matt Carpenter’s record, which has stood for 26 years

One of the most revered records in American mountain running has withstood a challenge from this generation’s greatest ultrarunner.

Despite an early fast pace, Catalan mountain running superstar Kilian Jornet fell short of breaking Matt Carpenter’s ascent and overall course record in the 64th edition of the Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday, finishing in 3 hours, 27 minutes, 29 seconds — nearly 11 minutes slower than Carpenter’s 3:16:39, set in 1993.

But Swiss ultrarunner Maude Mathys still provided reason to celebrate. Mathys won the women’s division in 4:02:45, crushing the course record set by Megan Kimmel last year in 4:15:04.

Carpenter’s course record has stood for 26 years. Jornet came to the Pikes Peak Marathon as part of the Salomon Golden Trail World Series, a collection of some of the top mountain races in the world, racing in the hopes of breaking the record after also falling short in 2012.

But he said afterward that his legs felt heavy during his morning warmup. He set a course record at the Sierre-Zinal trail race in Switzerland just two weeks ago, but he said that the short turnaround wasn’t a factor in his race today.

At the halfway mark — the summit of Pikes Peak — the record quest appeared to be in jeopardy. Jornet summited in 2:09:15, more than eight minutes behind Carpenter’s 2:01:06 ascent record, which Carpenter set in the same race he recorded the overall record.

For Carpenter, now 55, Pikes Peak is and remains his domain. He has won the marathon 12 times and the ascent-only run — held the day before the marathon — six times. He has lived in Manitou Springs for years and trained frequently on the Pikes Peak course, learning how to handle the altitude while navigating the flats, switchbacks and steep sections.

In recent years, trail running has exploded in popularity throughout the U.S. and the world, ushering a sport from the fringes of distance running to the mainstream. That has brought a new era of young, accomplished runners who have broken and rebroken records and so-called fastest-known times — thought to be untouchable. Despite the onslaught, Carpenter’s records at both Pikes Peak and the Leadville 100 still stand years after they were set.

The Pikes Peak Marathon course starts in Manitou Springs at 6,300 feet, before climbing more than 7,700 feet to Pikes Peak’s summit at 14,115 feet. The race is the second-oldest marathon in the United States and was the first in the U.S. to record an official women’s finisher.

Just past the first mile, Jornet was already leading the pack by a few steps. Just before five miles, he had built up his lead to more than 90 seconds, on pace to hit the summit in under two hours. But his legs soon caught up with him, and he slowed, summiting in 2:09:15.

Jornet had run this race in 2012, winning in 3:40:26. But he also competed with a heaver race schedule then.

Pikes Peak is one of only three races Jornet will do all year. Already, Jornet holds the course record counterclockwise and clockwise for the Hardrock 100, one of Colorado’s other esteemed ultra runs that starts and finishes in Silverton and loops through Ouray, Telluride and Lake City in the San Juan Mountains, forcing runnings to ascend some 33,000 feet over 100.5 miles.

(08/25/2019) ⚡AMP
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Pike's Peak Marathon

Pike's Peak Marathon

A Journey to the Top and Perhaps Back The Pikes Peak Ascent® and Pikes Peak Marathon® will redefine what you call running. Sure, they start out like a lot of races on Any Street, USA. But your first left turn will have you turning in the direction of up! During the next 10 miles, as you gain almost 6,000...

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