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Pikes Peak Marathon


Every marathon is a challenge, and often the most challenging part of a marathon course is a hilly section. To complete the Pikes Peak Marathon, runners need to run up the mountain and then turn around and run back down. The slogan for the race is "America's Ultimate Challenge".

One challenge is the lack of oxygen the thin air provides, the race starts at an elevation of 1,920m and at the halfway point of the marathon at the top of the hill the elevation is 4,302m. Another challenge is the weather as storms and snow can occur. Runners need to prepare for bright sunshine and cold weather as both can be present during the race. This can mean gloves and a warm hat as well as sunglasses.

The race starts on Manitou Avenue. After going along paved roads the marathon gets tougher as gravel and dirt form the course higher up. There are many aid stations that provide drinks and food. Water, energy drinks, fruit and even pretzels are available. To keep the area clean the race has introduced Cup-Free Racing, with runners carrying a pouch that can be refilled at the drink stations. Many runners will carry a bag with extra water as well as other provisions.

The course record for women is 4 hours, 15 minutes and 18 seconds. The fastest time for a man in the Pikes Peak Marathon is 3 hours, 16 minutes and 39 seconds. For many runners their time up to the top of the mountain, only halfway through the race, will be similar to their finishing times in other marathons on flat courses closer to sea level altitude.

What Pikes Peak is also famous for are the car races to the top. This hill climb uses a different road to the marathon, and is located on the other side. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has events for motorcycles, cars and pickup trucks.

As the Pikes Peak Marathon is not located in a major city there is some extra travel to get to the event. This can mean flying to the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport or Denver International Airport. Runners can take a bus to Manitou Springs, Colorado or rent a car. There are a variety of areas for runners to park close to the starting line.


 
 
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