The sixtieth annual running of the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent held on Aug 15 and Aug 16, 2015 is now in the history books. A picture perfect Colorado weekend greeted runners from all over the world as they descended on tiny historic Manitou Springs, Colorado to challenge themselves and others on the daunting Barr Trail ascending to the summit of 14,115 foot Pikes Peak. The weather was great for long distance racing with clear to partly cloudy skies and seasonable temperatures at lower elevations on the trail and on the summit as well. A few rain drops were not enough to discourage stragglers on the round trip course as rain clouds developed in the late afternoon on Sunday.
Race weekend featured two complete races including the Ascent half marathon race to the top on Saturday and the full marathon round trip course on Sunday. A new first for the event this year was the wildly successful Run Fest held on Thursday evening prior to race weekend. The running festival included food and beverages plus live music from local bands Grass it Up and Austin Young. Runners were also treated to the Race Expo on Friday in tents erected in Memorial Park where race goodies and official run packets were handed out in preparation for race day. Runners got a chance to meet one another and have a look around town, peeking into the many eclectic retail shops and trying out some excellent local cuisine.
Every runner has a story, a reason why they want to test themselves on the brutal trail up America’s Mountain. For Jill Howard, reaching the summit of Pikes Peak was not just another summit. Reaching this peak symbolizes the long journey out of the valley of a debilitating two year illness culminating in the diagnosis of a baseball sized brain tumor. At the finish line a very happy Jill commented, “I’m also struggling with a possible hamstring strain along with sciatica, but reaching the top gave me such a sense of accomplishment. I did it because I am able to again! It has been on my bucket list for years.”.
Taking first place overall and for the men’s division in Saturday’s Ascent was Touru Miyahara, age 32 from Gotemba-Shi Shizuok, Japan with a winning time of 2:14:42. Kim S. Dobson, age 31 of Eagle Colorado captured first place overall for the Ascent women’s division with a finishing time of 2:40:44. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, Dobson has recovered quickly from the birth of her first child, overcoming her aversion to downhill running while placing third in the full marathon for the women with a finishing time of 4:46:59.
First place overall in the full marathon went to Alex F. Nichols, age 30 of Colorado Springs with a time of 3:46:40. Hirut B Guangul, age 23 from New York City captured first place for the women on the round trip course with a time of 4:29:06.