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August 20, 2000

Contact information Luke DeCock may be reached at 636-0178 or at luked @ gazette . com

Current and former champions ascend

By Luke DeCock/The Gazette

A pair of repeat champions went for three in a row in Saturday's Pikes Peak Ascent.

One succeeded. The other was dethroned by a different kind of repeat champion. Some 1,800 runners competed.

Manitou Springs' Cindy O'Neill, running on a strained leg muscle, expanded her margin on the rest of the field to win her third straight women's title with a time of 2 hours, 50 minutes, 52 seconds.

She won by 8:06 last year and ran that out to 8:37 this year. Maybe her leg wasn't so bad after all.

"For me to run and win today, I guess it's telling me it's OK," O'Neill said.

On the men's side, Scott Elliott took an early lead over two-time defending champ Jeremy Wright. The Boulder resident ran that lead out to almost 3 minutes, finishing in 2:16.

In breaking Wright's streak, Elliott picked up where he left off in 1993. A six-time Ascent winner before skipping the race for four years, he finished second to Wright last year.

"This year, I was extremely good in training," Elliott said. "I was focused, I was consistent. Overall, this was my most successful training ever."

It paid off with a win, although he fell just short of matching the record for his age group of 2:15:44.

"2:16 is OK," Elliott said. "I am getting older."

He just keeps on winning is all.

Copyright 1999-2000, The Gazette, a Freedom Communications, Inc. Company. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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