Location: Manitou Springs, Colorado
Time of Year: August
The Pikes Peak Ascent has a great website: www.pikespeakmarathon.org/
Online registration was simple and packet pickup on race morning went quite smoothly. There are plenty of aid stations along the course and there are numerous paramedics (and even an emergency helicopter) as you approach the top. The finish line is well-organized and the shuttles that take you back to the start run frequently (although the ride back to the start takes nearly an hour). As far as organization goes, I have no criticisms.
This race will set you back $130. That’s pretty significant for a 13-mile race. However, the race provides significant support and shuttles you back down – overall, not a terrible deal!
The course is brutal – but then again, that’s why you’re there! You will gain 7,815 vertical feet over the course of 13.32 miles. That is tough!! Not only that, you will finish at over 14,000 feet – apparently, there’s more than one way to get high in Colorado!
Please note: Due to the difficulty of the race, there are qualifying times that must be met – please see the website for details.
Everyone who finishes (and beats the race cut-off times) receives a race medal and shirt.
In 1959, at Pikes Peak, Arlene Pieper became the first official female finisher of a marathon in the United States (the marathon is held the day after the Ascent).
This is an amazing race and an amazing experience. If you’re looking for a challenge, this race is a must!