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August 20, 2001

It's all uphill

By Mark Fitzhenry, Meri-Jo Borzilleri and John Branch/The Gazette

"I could tell by the way he was breathing it was like a training run for him."
- Runner-up Scott Elliott on winner Matt Carpenter

"It's fantastic scenery. Shame you can't stop and sit down and have a sandwich."
- Andrew Peace, the overall third-place finisher from England running his first race in the United States

By the numbers
1 of 3 Estimated number of runners who, between gasps for air, thanked volunteers passing out water, Gatorade and snacks at Barr Camp.

1 Known "bandit" runner who crossed the finish line without officially registering.

2 to 1 Estimated ratio of water drinkers to Gatorade drinkers.

8 Colorado 14ers climbed this year by longtime race volunteer and Barr Camp fixture Bill Hoehn, who spent his 70th birthday a few weeks ago atop Mount Elbert, the state's highest mountain.

18 Runners from Colorado among the overall top 20.

20 Minutes faster 10th-place finisher Cornelis Guijt ran this year compared to last year.

A couple of volunteers staying at Barr Camp over the weekend realized Friday that they parked in temporary tow-away zones in Manitou Springs. They gave keys to runner Scott Elliott, leaving Barr Camp Friday night on his mountain bike, and Elliott moved the cars out of harm's way. On Saturday, he finished second in the Ascent.

Can I buy you a drink?
Best runner responses to "water?" and "Gatorade?" offers by volunteers:
- "Do you have Bud Light?"
- "Tequila?"

Most disturbing image
A shirtless man running with round Band-Aids over his nipples

Well stocked
Atop the summit, Ascent finishers could choose from 2,000 bottles of water, 200 gallons of Gatorade, 62 cases of grapes, eight cases of oranges and six cases of bananas.

Next time, hold the ice
Many runners said they were greeted by icy patches during the last couple of miles. "It was slick," said Cornelis Guijt, who finished 10th. "The last two months was almost ice-free and this morning there was ice."

Kiss the bride
They met while they were training. He proposed to her on a mountain top. So it's only fitting Judith Chandler and Ron Yoder exchanged wedding rings after they finished the Pikes Peak Ascent.

After Chandler finished 502nd and Yoder placed 503rd, Yoder went to a knee and slipped a ring on Chandler's finger in front of 13 relatives. The wedding became official later Saturday during a ceremony at Miramont Castle.

They wore traditional wedding garb at the evening ceremony with one catch - their bibs from the race were fastened to the back.

Unofficial accomplishment
The Ascent's oldest competitor did not finish the 13.32-mile race - officially.

Orval Lohman, 81, said he crossed the finish line in 7 hours, 13 minutes. But the race officially ends after 7 hours, and those who finish afterward aren't credited with finishing the race.

Lohman made the final checkpoint at A Frame, but struggled over the final 3 miles.

"I just had a bad day," he said. "One of those days, I guess."

Say it again, Tony
Tony Garcia, 71, of Albuquerque has run the Ascent 14 times. He didn't stop when he had surgery on his foot. His wife, Laura, and best friend, Lionel Ortega, were at the finish to cheer him on.

"He wore the bones out," said Laura, pointing to her husband's left foot.

It was surgically repaired enough for Garcia to break 5 hours (4:37:19), a time that had him pumping his fists at the finish and grabbing Laura for a brief dance spin.

Ortega is an 8-time marathon competitor and once held the 65-69 age-group record of 5:37. He won't be running the marathon today after breaking his foot before getting here.

He claims this is his final Ascent. "I'm not ever going to come here again," he said soon after finishing.

"That's what he says every year," said Laura.

Copyright 1999-2001, The Gazette, a Freedom Communications, Inc. Company. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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