This story has been archived from the Thursday, August 21, 2008 Pikes Peak Bulletin
Marathon no match for Carpenter
By Jack Elder
Matt Carpenter, 44, of Manitou Springs won the Pikes Peak Marathon Sunday. He won the race last year, too, and in 2006, 2003, 2001, 1998, 1993, 1989 and 1988 when he was a mere 24-years old.
Carpenter ran the Marathon in 3:36:54 Sunday, more than 15 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Dave Mackey of Boulder. Other Manitou male finishers included Daryn Parker in fifth place, Todd Walton in fourteenth and Rick Shoulberg in twenty-eighth. Four hundred eighty five men ran Sundays Marathon.
The Marathons top female finisher Sunday was 27-year old Keri Nelson of Grand Junction with a time of 4:39. Carol Benight was the only female finisher from Manitou Springs listed among the 140 women competing, finishing 109.
Saturdays Ascent race was won by Simon Gutierrez, 42, of Alamosa in a time of 2:18:09. The top female finisher in the Ascent was 30-year old Brandy Erholtz of Bailey, Colo, in a time of 2:41:26.
This weekends races were among the most challenging ever, with rain at the start of Saturdays Ascent and freezing cold and snow by the time runners reached Barr Camp. Sunday was dry at the start, with overcast and temperatures in the low 50s. The mercury plummeted as the altitude increased both days although Sunday saw little precipitation in the early going. The last two-thirds of Sundays finishers got the worst of the Marathons weather.
The weather didnt bother Carpenter, although he told The Bulletin after the race that when he awoke Sunday, with Saturdays truly awful running weather fresh in his mind and seeing very dark clouds and rain, he felt sure that the Marathon would be called off, or would run only to Barr Camp or the A-Frame.
I really cant complain, Carpenter said. I had a little bit of snow near the A-Frame, but the weather wasnt an issue until the last mile or so. Carpenter added that the snow on the ground actually improved traction through the mud and ice and he had seven screws in each shoe to help with grip. He was surprised by the lack of snowfall during the race.
One wrong slip on a rock and its all over, Carpenter said.
Carpenter was ahead by 14 minutes at the summit.
I try to put it away on the uphill, the winner said, noting though, that he holds the record for the downhill portion of the Marathon as well as the Ascent record.
Carpenters winning time Sunday was 12 minutes faster than his winning time in 2007, run on dry ground.
Carpenter also said that the weather was worse in 1987 and that running the Marathon on hot weather days was far worse than Sundays experience.
Carpenters 1993 Marathon time of three hours, 16 minutes, 39 seconds still stands as the overall course record and the 25 to 29-years old record age group record. Carpenters winning time of 3:33:07 in 2006 stands as the 40 to 44 year old record, too.
Manitous running wonder is also the only runner to have won both the Ascent and the Marathon in the same year, a feat hes accomplished twice, in 2007 and 2001. He has five Ascent victories.
Saturdays Ascent was, as noted on the race Web site, beset with very adverse weather 50s in Manitou at the start, in the 30s at the summit with fog, sleet, grapple, wind, cold. It was pretty miserable on top.
So miserable in fact, that more than half of the runners were sent back down the mountain when they reached the A-Frame. Only 630 runners finished Saturdays Ascent.
One measure of the attrition caused by Saturdays weather is the fact that there were only 60 doublers runners in both the Ascent and the Marathon this year. Last year there were 140 doublers.
Among the hardy Manitouans reaching the summit Saturday were Cindy ONeill, Yvonne Carpenter, Brooke Cote, Carrie Renaud, Shawn ODay, Tibor Kiss, Julius Kovats, Scott Beattie, Thomas Murphy, John Keller, David Berge, John Shelhamer, Philip Wortman, Witt Keller, Mark Seelye, Rick Johnson, Jack Ramsey, Ken Jaray, Scott Cote, Chris Kilroy and Bradford Gibson.