This story has been archived from the July 25, 2001 Daily Camera
Elliott reaching 'peak' for another Pikes title

By Ryan Thorburn/Camera Sports Writer

He is Lance Armstrong climbing the Pyrenees. Minus the yellow jacket, the bike, the cheering crowds and the publicity.

Boulder resident Scott Elliott, an unbelievable uphill runner who has won the Pikes Peak Ascent seven times, will be temporarily moving from his home to a log cabin located at Barr Camp (10,200 feet) in Pikes Peak National Forest. There, he will begin the high-altitude portion of his training for this year's race, to be run on Aug. 18, when he will defend his title once again.

All Elliott had been doing to stay fit was running up Green Mountain — about a 3,000-foot vertical ascent — nearly every morning for 115 days. He took a break from the routine last weekend to compete in and win a 13-mile race up (to 13,000 feet) and down (back to 9,000 feet) Kendall Mountain near Silverton.

"In the past, I didn't do Green Mountain as religiously," said Elliott, who won his first Pikes Peak Ascent 14 years ago and his seventh last year. "I did more varied training when I was a young pup. I was able to get by on talent. Now, thanks to my ever-advancing age, I have to do more."

Elliott, 37, won the Pikes Peak Ascent in 1987 at the age of 23. He set a personal record in 1989 with a time of 2:06.47. It was his third consecutive victory, and along the way he caught and then blew away Matt Carpenter — his Jan Ullrich — during an amazing one-mile stretch.

Elliott was second to Carpenter in 1990, but rebounded with three more titles from 1991-93. He was second again in '94 and then took four years off.

"I didn't run a step," he said of the hiatus.

In 1999, at age 35, Elliott finished just behind Jeremy Wright, who had taken over the uphill running scene in his absence. The comeback was completed with last year's win with a finishing time of 2:16.00.

"I saw Jeremy's winning time (2:26.48) in 1998 and thought it was kind of pathetic," said Elliott, who does not lack confidence or competitiveness. "I thought I should be able to beat that without any trouble. So I started running again."

For the next three-plus weeks, Elliott will begin his day charging up and around Pikes Peak. The race is an ascent of 7,750 feet with the finish line resting at 14,050 feet, 60 feet from the pinnacle.

"The cabin is on the race course and the main hiking trail (Barr Trail). There are caretakers there year-round," said Elliott, who hopes to leave today after one final morning sprint up Green Mountain. "It's been there since the trail was built and there are hosts or hostesses, usually a couple guys and one or two women. They are usually semi-anti-establishment or wilderness buffs. In the winter, months pass by without anyone coming up there."

Elliott will not get cabin fever because he will spend most of his time training. There is little else to do in the electricity-free facility.

"In years past, sometimes other runners have come up (to train) for a three-day weekend. But I'm definitely in the minority," Elliott said.

Because his training regimen is so consistently excessive, Elliott has complete confidence that he can make the ascent at full speed.

"I'm going literally all-out as far as effort right from the gun," said Elliott, who almost always breaks away from the pack during the brief opening straightaway. "There is a relatively good crowd of spectators at the start to pick you up. ... I've never bonked, thank goodness."

The race begins in Manitou Springs, at 6,300 feet, with a pack of about 2,000 participants. For the average male it ends 4 hours, 23 minutes and 44 seconds later, or about twice as long as it will take Elliott.

"Doing this kind of vertical every day you kind of get an idea of what your body can handle," he said. "So I put my head down and go all-out. ... There is literally no damage to my leg muscles after the race. There is no pain or soreness as long as you've got the training in. Silverton was up and down, so I am sore right now because of the descent. After (Pikes Peak) I could run the next day."

Elliott, who gets lonely like any long-distance runner, said he could finish with an even more impressive time if the fan support were greater for this ultimate uphill run.

"I have a dream that the entire course is lined with people like a stage on the Tour de France," Elliott said. "I would break two hours."

(Here was the extent of the Camera's post race coverage)
In brief
Matt Carpenter of Manitou Springs won the Pikes Peak Marathon, becoming the first person to win it and the Pikes Peak Ascent on consecutive days. Carpenter finished the marathon from Manitou Springs up Barr Trail to the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak and back down, in 3 hours, 53 minutes, 54 seconds. On Saturday, Carpenter won the Pikes Peak Ascent - a half-marathon, rising over 7,000 vertical feet to the summit - in 2:15:13.

Copyright 2001 The Daily Camera. All rights reserved.

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