Up (and Down) Pikes Peak
Dobson smashes record in the Pikes Peak Ascent; Jornet breezes to win in the Pikes Peak Marathon the next day
Photo by Anya Inman/courtesy of PikesPeakSports.us
Spain’s Kilian Jornet helped solidify his status as perhaps the best mountain runner in the world Sunday, completing the Pikes Peak Marathon in Manitou Springs, Colorado, in 3:40:26. In the process he set a new record for the men’s 20-to-24-year-old age group for the course's descent, running the second half in 1:21:41 (the previous record of 1:21:58 was set in 1983). This was Jornet's first attempt at the race.
The Pikes Peak Marathon course climbs 7815 vertical feet over 13.32 miles before descending the same way.
“I felt great physically. Alex [Nichols] and I broke away at the start and halfway up I was leading the race,” says Jornet. “I reached the summit with a [solid] advantage, which meant I didn’t need to take any risks going downhill.”
Nichols of Colorado Springs, would hold onto second, finishing in 3:47:22. Max King of Bend, Oregon, who says his race was “mediocre," began to close on Jornet and Nichols on the descent but settled for third in 3:50:10.
Sweden’s Emelie Forsberg won the women’s marathon, completing the course in 4:28:07. Like Jornet, Forsberg set a female 25-to-29-year-old age-group record on the descent, completing the second half of the course in 1:34:09 (the previous record, 1:34:35, was set in 1981). Huntington, Vermont’s Kasie Enman, the reigning World Mountain Running Champion, finished a close second in 4:28:25. Mireira Varela of Spain was third in 4:32:13.
“I was very concerned about how I would respond to the lack of oxygen so my race plan was to stay conservative early and keep myself on the safe side of the red line throughout,” says Enman. “Things got a little ugly in the final mile of the ascent, but everything was under control at the turnaround and I was psyched to get things rolling on the downhill.”
Enman says the descent was torturous for all of the leaders, starting when she developed stomach problems shortly after the turnaround.
“I was surprised to see Mireia with maybe two to three miles to go. When I pulled up along side her, she stopped and said, ‘I vomit.' I said, ‘Me too,’ and continued onward,” Enman says. “Less than 30 seconds later Emelie ran past us both saying, ‘I have a cramp.’ Too funny.”
Complete results of the marathon can be found here.