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August 18, 2002

Motley crew takes the Peak

Favorite to win the women's title sleeps in as diverse group ascends

By Meri-Jo Borzilleri, Nick Walter and Kurt Eilmes The Gazette

Women’s elite runner Maddy Tormoen of Pueblo, expected to contend for the women’s Pikes Peak Ascent title, wound up oversleeping and starting 30 minutes after the first wave of runners.

She finished 350th overall in 3:51:54, more than an hour behind winner Anita Ortiz of Eagle.

“I set my alarm,” Tormoen said. “I don’t know if I shut it off” by mistake, she said.

Tormoen found herself behind the pack of mostly recreational runners, and discovered something else.

“It was fun,” she said. “That was the way I used to be. There was a time I ran for fun. Maybe that’s the message from my race today.”

NEXT, A LAVA LAMP? David Hatfield, a Colorado Springs psychologist, took a trip outside reality for a brief time in his third Ascent.

“There’s something about the hypoxic state,” he said. “You see things that almost take on a surreal quality because you’re oxygen-deprived. I watched a raven or hawk that was floating up the hill. I was working really hard and he was not working at all.

“It’s a groovy feeling.”

UPHILL SKIER: After nearly qualifying for the United States Olympic cross-country ski team in January, Nathan Schultz tried his hand at cross-country running in the Ascent on Saturday.

He placed second behind, who else, Matt Carpenter.

JUST OXYGEN, PLEASE: In the days leading up to the Ascent, Rima Lurie, 54, made it a point to avoid any airborne chemicals because she’s “chemically sensitive.”

Ironically, when Lurie was a quarter-mile away from the finish line Saturday, she inhaled what she thought were fumes from diesel fuel. She was told it was possibly due to the Cog Railway being warmed up.

“It really threw me for a loop,” said Lurie, who participated in the 1977 New York Marathon.

FORTH TIME’S A CHARM: In his forth time running the Ascent, Brendan Krelle broke 4 hours for the first time, running it in 3:57.

“I almost started crying when I got to the finish line,” said Krelle, who was well-prepared for a good cry. He downed eight bottles of water before the run.

WHEN YOU GOTTA GO: Sean Graham wasn’t exactly geared and ready to go when the starting gun went off for the Ascent.

He was in the bathroom.

“I had to go pretty bad,” said Graham, from Wyoming.

Graham made up for lost time, passing 800 people on his way to a 3:03:35 finish.

RUNS IN TH EFAMILY: For the Thrasher clan of Monument, the Pikes Peak Ascent really does run in the family.

According to 19-year-old Matt Thrasher, four of his six immediate family members have run the race. That includes the trio that competed Saturday — Matt, his 29-year-old brother Peter and 54-year-old father Martin.

MOUNTAIN MAN: Reaching the summit of a famous mountain is nothing for Aspen’s Neal Beidelman. In addition to being a multiple top-10 finisher of both the Ascent and Marathon, Beidelman has also climbed several of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest in the doomed expedition of 1996.

So how was his latest conquest?

“Well, it’s my slowest time ever,” he said of his 3:01:17, which put him 35th overall. “But considering my lack of training an my age (42), it’s all right.”

OUT OF STATE VISITORS: At least 32 different states were represented in Saturday’s Ascent.

John Paladino, of Austin, Texas, was among dozens of people wearing running shorts of the Texas state flag.

Paladino began training for his fourth Ascent by running long distances. However, there was one problem.

“The highest peak in Austin is 750 feet above sea level,” he said. “You really can’t imitate this altitude.”

Copyright 2002, The Gazette, a Freedom Communications, Inc. Company. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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