I have been wanting to run Pikes Peak Marathon since I heard about it which must have been for at least the last five years! The problem is that, unlike those road/city marathons where they will sign up 25,000 people or more, there are only limited slots at Pikes Peak (for the same reasons WS100, Miwok and all the cool trail races have a limited amount of spots: the park and forest service doesn’t let hordes of runners ruin the wilderness and it’s great that way). Most limited edition races have lotteries but Pikes Peak doesn’t which mean that one has to be clicking on the online registration when it opens and before the servers get congested. I have tried to register for Pikes Peak for 5 years and I never had any luck.
So on March 15 at 12pm PST I was at my desk – clicking, clicking, clicking. The first two attempts led me to an active.com overload page but I tried a third time and BINGO! I got in. I paid my fee and all I had to do was show them that I was a sub 3:30 marathoner and I was in! I was ecstatic! A dream come true! Pikes Peak here I come!
The Course + The Conditions
The course is considered *challenging* although I didn’t find it so. Elevation gain (start to summit) is 7,815′ (2,382 meters); the start is at 6,300′ (1,920m) and the summit is 14,115′ (4,302m). The marathon turnaround is at approximately 14,050′. The average percent grade is 11%. So that is a steep 13.1mi (going down the same way) but nothing to agonize over. I was steaming with excitement over the downhill (I love running downhill and I’m also pretty fast… and reckless. It’s a lot like skiing).