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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
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...


60 years ago, Arlene Pieper Stine was the first woman to run to the top of Pikes Peak and first US woman to finish a marathon

In white shorts, sleeveless blouse and dime-store tennis shoes, Arlene Pieper Stine, 29, stood on the start line of the 1959 Pikes Peak Marathon looking more like Marilyn Monroe than a mountaineer.

But Pieper Stine, then a Colorado Springs health club owner, not only finished the 26-mile race, with its grueling 8,000 feet of vertical gain to the 14,115 summit, she became the first woman to complete a sanctioned marathon in the United States.

Eight years later, Kathrine Switzer would be the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon in a dramatic act of gender defiance.

This weekend, 60 years after Arlene Pieper Stine conquered Pikes Peak in 9 hours and 16 minutes, hundreds of women will line up at the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathonstart, following her path on one of the country’s toughest and highest altitude race courses.

In 2009, after a long search, a Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon historian trackeddown Pieper Stine, who had long ago moved away and was living near Fresno, California. 

She had no idea of her place in running history. 

“I still remember it like it was yesterday,” she said in a 2014 interview. “You can be a wonderful wife and mother, but doing the race showed me that if there’s something you really want to do, you should go for it.”

A black-and-white photo of that race start shows Pieper Stine along with her 9-year-old daughter, Kathy, and her husband, who ran with her to offer moral support.

Pieper Stine said she got the idea to do the race as a way to promote Arlene’s Health Studio. The Pikes Peak Marathon never prohibited women from participating.

“In those days, we had no aid stations like there are now, and my running shoes were actually just those sneakers you get from the five and dime,” she said. “And about a week after the race, all 10 of my toenails fell off!”

Pieper Stine, now 89, sometimes returns to Manitou Springs to mark the official start of the race. “What a thrill to look out and see all these people getting ready to run.”

She was inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 and has became a cult figure in the local racing community, inspiring a group of women runners to dress as Pieper Stine did in 1959 in the inaugural “She Moves Mountains” run up the peak last weekend, race organizer Alicia Pino said.

(08/23/2019) ⚡AMP
by Jill Rothenberg
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...


US Marine Pedro Rodríguez is set to run at Pikes Peak Ascent

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Pedro Rodriguez has logged a lot of miles on the Santa Fe Trail.

He runs about 10 miles a day, totaling 3,600 to 3,800 miles a year, and each step he takes has an important purpose.

“Being a Marine is phenomenal, but being a runner in the Marine team is even better,” he said.

Rodriguez has run several marathons for the All-Marine running team since joining in 2015.

The Marine Corps has an award for the top active-duty Marine in the Marine Corps marathon. Rodriguez has earned that award in 2015, 2017, and 2018, but personal accolades are a small reason as to why he runs.

“When we line up on the start line with our teammates, there aren’t words that can describe that feeling,” he said. “When you have like-minded people that can share the similar story of going through boot camp or officer candidate school, and you’re wearing the same uniform. It’s very difficult to describe, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Along with his team in the Marine Corps, Rodriguez has a team at home for whom he runs.

“I want to be an example to my daughters, Mila and Sophia,” Rodriguez said. “I want to show them that if you have a plan to execute, you can accomplish any goal, whether that’s sports-related, academic-related or even just a personal goal.”

This weekend, Rodriguez is stepping off the road and heading to the mountains to run in his third Pikes Peak Ascent. The half marathon has an almost 8,000-feet elevation gain.“I love the city of Colorado Springs,” Rodriguez said. “Anywhere I go in the city I can see the top of Pikes Peak and it reminds me, ‘Wow, one, I have to get ready to run this race and, two, I’ve run it before, I’m going to do it again.'”

(08/22/2019) ⚡AMP
by Julia Maguire
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...


Kilian Jornet crushed Sierre-Zinal, and has now set his sights on Pikes Peak

Ten years ago, a 21-year old Catalan trail runner showed up in the end-of-the-valley village of Zinal, in Switzerland’s Valais Canton, not far from the Italian border. He had a list with him.

“It was just a sheet of paper with names of races,” says Chamonix, France-based trail-running author Alain Bustin. “It wasn’t races he wanted to win, or course records he wanted to break. All he wanted to do was take part. Sierre-Zinal was on the list.”

Even then, Sierre-Zinal was iconic. The 31-kilometer race that started in the valley village of Sierre and finished in Zinal was already established as one of the most competitive trail races in the world. And that year, the young runner won.

A few weeks later, he won the 171-kilometer Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

That runner, of course, is Kilian Jornet. And last weekend in Zinal, he won “S-Z” for a seventh time, further surpassing Mexican runner Richardo Meija’s five wins between 1998 and 2005. And this time Jornet did something that no one had done in 16 years. He broke one of trail-running’s most-coveted course records with a time of 2:25:35—not by seconds, but by 3 minutes 37 seconds.

The 2:29:12 record had been held all those years by the New Zealander Jonathan Wyatt, now 46, indisputably one of his generation’s greatest mountain runners. Starting more than two decades ago, Wyatt began racking up records from the Alps to the United States, at races as diverse as Switzerland’s Jungfrau Marathon (2:49:01 in 2003) and New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Road Race (56:41 in 2004.) Both are still course records.United States runner Jim Walmsley had a notable success, finishing third in his first running of the famed course, in a time of 2:31:52—a result that in any other year would likely have had him breaking the finish-line tape.

While Sierre-Zinal is arguably one of the most competitive trail races in the world, and much of the attention focusses on the elite runners, it has a wide and diverse following. This year, more than 5,000 runners took part. Recreational runners started five-and-a-quarter hours earlier, a special aspect of the race-day schedule that allows recreational runners to watch elites arrive, several hours after most of them have crossed the finish line.

Nicknamed “The New York Marathon of the Alps,” the race’s rich history makes for a special day for runners from around the world. It’s a vibe that was felt by runners like Mike Ambrose, formerly the North American Marketing Manager for Salomon, and now based out of the company’s world headquarters in Annecy, France.

“Running across that ridgeline with the flowy singletrack, I felt the legends before me,” says Ambrose. “That’s the first time ever in a race that I was putting myself out there with the greatest and the pioneers of the sport. Maybe I wasn’t running at the same speed, but I was part of the history. I actually felt that energy. “

For Jornet, there are few records left to shatter. At age 31, he has Fastest Known Times from the Matterhorn to Mount Everest. He has won trail running’s most prestigious races, some of them multiple times, with course records around the world. It’s hard not to imagine that Jornet might begin to turn his attention to other projects. With Skyrunning Champion Emelie Forsberg, he now has a five-month-old baby—and an energetic labradoodle, Maui, to boot.

As he watched Jornet from a jumbo screen not far from the Sierre-Zinal finish line, Bustin, a longtime acquaintance of Jornet’s, was in a contemplative mood. “Kilian, he’s not just special because of his records at Sierre-Zinal or the UTMB,” he said. “He’s broken mountaineering records and ski alpinism (ski mountaineering) records, too.”

Bustin paused with thousands of other onlookers, as race officials announced to the crowd that Jornet was now 20 seconds ahead of Wyatt’s historic course record. On the screen, Jornet looked fluid and in control, calmly, steadily, smoothly “running the tangents” along a rocky section of the course.

“He’s a fantastic guy, with a great mentality about mountain sports. Maybe he’s about to say to the young runners, ‘Hey guys, I’ve done my time. Now it’s up to you,’” added Bustin. Taking in the weight of what he had just considered out loud—that the world’s greatest trail runner could soon be winding down his long stretch of highly competitive racing days—he looked back up to the screen, saying to no-one in particular, “He has nothing to prove to anyone.”

Well, maybe not quite. There is, arguably, at least one notoriously difficult-to-beat record remaining: Colorado’s Pikes Peak Marathon. In 1993, Matt Carpenter set a confoundingly fast course record there, with a time of 3:16:39. On August 25, Jornet will be there. It’s hard not to imagine he wouldn’t like to cross the tape with a time quicker than Carpenter’s. The trail-running world will be watching.

(08/19/2019) ⚡AMP
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...


Megan Kimmel crosses the finish line at the Pikes Peak Marathon to set a new women´s record

Megan Kimmel had not run the Pikes Peak Marathon in nearly 10 years, but the 38-year-old runner out of Ridgway spent much of Sunday’s descent contemplating whether or not to go for a record-breaking time. “I took note of what my time was up top, and I was like ‘I think it’s still doable,’” Kimmel recalled thinking. “At Barr Camp, I was kinda like ‘Ah, I don’t have it.’” While she didn’t think she’d be breaking Lynn Bjorklund’s record set in 1981, Kimmel kept a solid pace to keep distance between her and the competition. Her mindset changed once more, however. “It wasn’t until I hit the pavement on Ruxton (Avenue) that someone was like, ‘You can do it. There’s time,’ ” Kimmel said. “That’s when I kicked it.” Her only remaining issue was figuring out the exact time she needed. Kimmel said she knew the record was just a little over 4 hours, 15 minutes but didn’t know how many seconds she had to work with. “Once you get closer to the finish line here, people really keep you going for sure,” Kimmel said. “But I have to say, I didn’t notice it that much because I was so focused on the time and the finish that I kinda had tunnel vision going on.” The focus paid off as Kimmel stormed through the tape in 4:15:04, good for a new record and the 14th-best overall time. Kimmel chalked up her performance to living at altitude and near-ideal conditions a day after the Ascent was shortened due to expected weather. She was able to complete the marathon in a sleeveless racing top without slowing to add or remove layers. (08/20/2018) ⚡AMP

Defending Champion Tina Mascarenas, will face a Tough Field at Pikes Peak Marathon

Dunking both feet in a 5-gallon ice bucket and eating a pint of Snickerdoodle ice cream has become the nightly habit for Tina Mascarenas. She does the former because her ankles were hurt in a fall during a race on Mount Olympus in Greece in late June, and the latter because she craves ice cream about as much as she loves science and running. Mascarenes has a lot going on these days. She just started a new job with DNA Connections, putting to use the biochemistry degree she earned at UCCS. And she’s getting married Sept. 9. In between those life-changing events she’ll defend her championship at the Pikes Peak Marathon on Aug. 19. She didn’t expect to win last year, although she’d finished third in 2016. “I thought I was competing for top five,” she said. “I think I had the best day of my life.” It will take an even better day to win this year. The 29-year-old Doherty High graduate says a repeat victory isn’t realistic with the world-class Salomon runners who are part of the Golden Trail Series competing this year and insists that her goal is to finish in the top 10. (08/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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