Interviews with the 1999 winners

1999 Men’s Ascent Top Five
1 Jeremy R Wright 2:18:32
2 Scott Elliott 2:23:26
3 Paul Koch 2:24:03
4 Mark Cucuzzella 2:25:33
5 Dale P Peterson 2:30:31 (1st master)

Interview with Jeremy Wright

Matt Carpenter: Great race Jeremy. When did you take the lead?
Jeremy Wright: At about the COG building. Things were feeling real comfortable there.

MC: I saw you at the top of the Ws just over 27 minutes which is about 2:16 pace. Scott and a few others where right behind you. What happened from there on?
JW: A group of us stayed within 30 seconds of each other through about Barr Camp. I was feeling good through here and if anything was being perhaps too conservative. I had a rough section getting to the A-Frame but after that I felt really good. Above the A-frame where you can start to see a long way I could not see anyone behind me. I honestly think I could have gone a few minutes faster with someone pushing me.

MC: Well only two people in every race get to say that! (men’s and women’s winners) Correct me if I am wrong but this is a PR for you right?
JW: Yes, last year I had a bad top section and ran a 2:26:48. 1997 was my PR in 2:23:04 so I took almost 5 minutes off that.

MC: What do you feel are some of the things you did right in this race?
JW: Besides pacing myself better, proper hydration and fuel are two things. I had a Gu about an hour and a half before the race and then another just before the start. During the race I had one at French Creek (No Name Creek), Barr Camp and the A-Frame. Also I walked a little while drinking water to make sure I got plenty.

MC: That’s some really key stuff there. Most runners seem to want to blow through the aid station so they don’t lose time. Its good that they can see that even the winners rate hydration so high on the list. Congratulations again on a fine performance.
JW: Thanks.

1999 Women’s Ascent Top Five
1 Cindy O’Neill 2:45:17
2 Gretchen Ellis 2:53:23
3 Wendy M Shomion 2:57:23
4 Debbie Bollig 3:00:28
5 Donna L Anderson 3:01:32

Interview with Cindy O’Neill

MC: Two in a row way to go! Are you happy with the race?
Cindy O’Neill: The win was good but I really wanted to go a bit faster — just 40 seconds faster than last year so I could get the age-group record. I ended up only 5 seconds off last year’s time but I felt it was hotter this year so all and all things went well.

MC: I know you have been spending a lot of time on the top miles of the course, how did they go?
CO: Great! I was almost 4 minutes behind my goal at the A-frame and I made up 3 of those minutes on the top. Above tree line it finally started to cool off a bit and I finally started feeling comfortable.

MC: When I saw you at the top of the Ws you already had more than a minute on the second place women. Did that factor into it?
CO: Yes, a little. Last year I was behind Kirsten Ames for a long time and it was a race. This year I never saw any other women so it is a different kind of running. It was like a time trial.

MC: At the top of the Ws you were in 41st place among the men. You ended up 19th so you must have really paced yourself well.
CO: Yes, I lost a little bit here and there but overall my pacing was pretty close. I felt strong on the flatter sections and I really had fun passing people on the top section.

MC: Well its always more fun to pass than to be passed! Great job!
CO: Thank you

1999 Men’s Marathon Top Five
1 Stephen Smalzel 3:49:09
2 Senovio L Torres 3:59:08 (1st master)
3 Hal B Koerner III 4:08:04
4 David W Eckley 4:18:37
5 Dan P Meyers 4:21:45

Interview with Stephen Smalzel

MC: Well Steve you are looking very happy, how did it go?
Stephen Smalzel: It is always so great to come into that finish area — you just have to sprint. Everyone is cheering, I know it is kind of weird but I almost felt like crying.

MC: Take us through the race — how did it unfold?
SS: I found myself in the lead after only about 400 yards. Normally I don’t like to lead but it felt comfortable and it became rather apparent that no one was going to go with me.

MC: When I saw you at the Ws I was thinking the race was over — did you feel that?
SS: Yes I felt that it was mine to lose but as you know anything can happen out there.

MC: It looked like you were carrying something what was that?
SS: My Gu. I am a big fan of Gu — I had several on the course.

MC: How did the trip down go?.
SS: They said I had about 8 minutes on #2 but Leo in third had me worried. He is a fast downhill runner so I tried to press it. I only had one little trip but I caught myself. The uphills on Mount Manitou were tougher than I remembered and I was thinking “Oh my God, what is going on here!”

MC: Did you ever look back or catch yourself thinking strange thoughts like you were going to blow it?
SS: Yea its weird, your thinking like “he would have to run over a minute per mile faster at this point which just is not going to happen” yet you turn and look anyway. At one point I would go through an aid station and then listen how long it would be before I heard clapping. Even when I did not hear anything however I kept trying to press it. If you don’t finish a race shellacked you didn’t run hard enough.

MC: You look great now however, congrats on your second win on the mountain.
SS: Cool.

1999 Women’s Marathon Top Five
1 Erica J Larson 4:46:01
2 Petra Pirc 4:51:36
3 Ruth Zollinger 5:10:40
4 Michele J Honken 5:11:52
5 Victoria Tanner 5:12:37

Interview with Erica Larson

MC: Ok I asked this of the others so lets talk about water and fuel — what did you do?
Erica Larson: I took two of my own bottles of water but used them in between the water stations. I used their water the rest of the time. I also took some dried bananas and some fruit leather.

MC: Some what?
EL: Fruit leather. It is like a strip a dried fruit and it easy to chew and it goes down easy. I had some about a half hour into the race. It is important not to wait too long or it just won’t do you any good.

MC: Sounds like neat stuff and I agree with you about hitting the food early. So I saw at the Ws that you took the lead fairly early how did things go?
EL: I felt good the whole way. I thought my pace was right so I did not worry too much about being in the lead. My goal was to hit the top in about the same time I did last year when I did the Ascent [last year Erica ran 3:05:06 for 6th in the Ascent] and I was right there. It felt good to turn around and start running fast. I thought it would be harder or rather it seemed more rocky on the way up but it went pretty well. I only had one little fall.

MC: How did the uphills feel after Barr Camp on the way down?
EL: I was pressing pretty hard and felt strong. Again it was something that I had built up in my mind so that when I got to them they were not as bad as I feared.

MC: All and all it sounds like a great race!
EL: Yes I am pretty happy, thank you.

One new age-group record was set

Official results

[PPA/M results moved to in 2015]

Back to 1999 Pikes Peak News Archives