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August 21, 2000

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

Marathon finishes with repeat performances

By Luke DeCock/The Gazette

Their times were slower. Their margins of victory bigger. Their names the same.

1999 winners Stephen Smalzel and Erica Larson repeated as winners of the Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday, Smalzel winning the men's division with a time of 3 hours, 54 minutes, 46 seconds and Larson the top woman with a time of 4:50:37.

Smalzel won by almost 10 minutes last year and more than 14 this year. Larson won by almost 10 this year, up from 51/2 last year - the biggest lead for a woman since 1996.

Despite the improved margins, it wasn't any easier for either of them.

Smalzel cut back on his running after a win in 1991 and did the same this summer after being hit by a motorcycle in Thailand in May. His Pikes Peak win last year came in the middle of a full season of racing. This year, it was his only race.

"My goal was to run hard, as hard as I felt good about and if I was in the lead, then push it," Smalzel said. "That's exactly what happened and I enjoyed this race because of that."

Larson battled an upset stomach that kept her up Saturday night and had to force herself to eat on the trail. She finished slower than 1999, but she'll take the win for sure.

"It's about 4 minutes slower, but I'm really happy with that," Larson said. "I'd be happy with it anyway, so I'm not going to complain."

That goes for both of them.

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

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