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August 20, 2001

Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette

Matt Carpenter rounds the last curve on the streets of Manitou Springs on Sunday on his way to becoming the first person to win the Pikes Peak Ascent and Pikes Peak Marathon in the same year.
Carpenter nails both peak races

Manitou runner claims first in marathon, ascent

By Meri-Jo Borzilleri/The Gazette

The first time Matt Carpenter raced up Pikes Peak, it crushed him. Carpenter, a talented newcomer on the high-altitude running scene, recalls it was the only race course that literally brought him to his hands and knees.

But he was hooked.

Now Carpenter, hometown hero, has made history on that same mountain. On Sunday, starting and ending in Manitou Springs, Carpenter pulled off an unprecedented -- and highly impractical -- feat. He not only raced the Pikes Peak Ascent and Pikes Peak Marathon on back-to-back days, he won them: the ascent in a time of 2:16:14 on Saturday, then the marathon in a time of 3:53:53 on Sunday.

That's never been done since organizers moved the races to consecutive days in 1981.

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Meri-Jo Borzilleri may be reached at 636-0259 or merijo @ gazette . com
"I could do one race and go for a fast time, but I already hold the course records," said Carpenter, who increased his record haul to nine career Pikes Peak titles.

"I wanted to do something that hasn't been done."

While Carpenter's feat was the story of the race, women's winner Erica Larson of Santa Fe, N.M., was quietly making news of her own.

She won the marathon for the third-straight year, posting a time of 4:49:10, to become only the second woman in history to do so after Danelle Ballengee of Evergreen who won four straight from 1994 to 1997.

Sunday's marathon, in which competitors race up and then down 14,110-foot Pikes Peak, was held in trying conditions. Times were slow. Temperature at the base of the mountain soared into the 90s, and the combination of heat, effort and altitude sent dozens of the 800 starters to the race's medical tent, including Carpenter.

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