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Monday, August 18, 2003
Race gets ugly after women reach summit
You couldnt step five feet or go five seconds in downtown Manitou Springs without hearing the words Angela Mudge, Erica Larson and close race.
The two speakers near the Pikes Peak Marathon finish line would blare updates on the race for the female title. Spectators were talking about it. Race director Ron Ilgen was talking about it. Heck, even overall winner Matt Carpenter, who set a 35-39 age-group record, had to mention it after he crossed the finish line.
Its a dog fight up there, said Carpenter, 39, referring to the battle for the female title.
There were at least six lead changes between Mudge, a 2000 world mountain running champion, and Larson, who was trying for her fourth-straight Pikes Peak Marathon title in the 48 th running of the race Sunday.
Mudge led most of the way until about 10,500 feet when Larson took the lead just above tree line and reached the summit first.
But Larson said even though she was happy to break her Ascent time, she may have spent too much energy doing it. By the courses A-Frame, which is three miles from the summit, Mudge ran past Larson. Mudge never saw her again.
It was a great exciting race. I was just happy that I could keep up with someone like that.
Mudge, 33, of Tavistock, England, finished fourth overall and set a 30-34 agegroup record time of 4:19:38. She broke the 15-year-old mark by 16 minutes and 56 seconds. But Mudge was disappointed.
Looking at the times last year, Mudge said. I thought I had a stiff chance of winning.
Larson came in seventh overall. Ilgen said it is rare for this race to have two women in the top 10.
Thats amazing, Larson said. Its got be one of the most competitive races in a long time.
Larson finished at 4:22:29, 19 minutes and 24 seconds faster than her winning time last year.
Carpenter won his sixth Pikes Peak Marathon title, increasing his combined Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon titles to 11. He broke the 35-39 age-group record, which was set by Senovio Torres in 1993, by two minutes and 47 seconds with a time of 3:43:46. But when he reached the summit, he missed breaking Simon Gutierrezs 35-39 age-group Ascent record, set Saturday, by a little over a minute.
Coming into Sundays Marathon, Carpenter had three goals win, break the Marathon age-group record and break the Ascent age-group record. He said two out of three isnt bad.
Carpenter fought for more competitive entries in past years and got his wish. The race committee selected 10 male and 10 female for the competitve runner spots for this years race. Gutierrez was one of the selections. But Carpenter isnt regretting it.
Its great, I wouldnt have it any other way, he said. I would rather have it like that, to lose to Simon. Thats how it should be. If fast people want to come, let em in.
Second and third: Paul Koch, 35, of Colorado Springs, came in second (4:08:07) and Bernie Boettcher, 40, of Silt, was third (4:11:10).
TOP 5 FINISHERS
Copyright 2003, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.