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Monday, August 18, 2003

Race gets ugly after women reach summit




You couldn’t step five feet or go five seconds in downtown Manitou Springs without hearing the words “Angela Mudge,” “Erica Larson” and “close race.”

The two speakers near the Pikes Peak Marathon finish line would blare updates on the race for the female title. Spectators were talking about it. Race director Ron Ilgen was talking about it. Heck, even overall winner Matt Carpenter, who set a 35-39 age-group record, had to mention it after he crossed the finish line.

“It’s a dog fight up there,” said Carpenter, 39, referring to the battle for the female title.

There were at least six lead changes between Mudge, a 2000 world mountain running champion, and Larson, who was trying for her fourth-straight Pikes Peak Marathon title in the 48 th running of the race Sunday.

Mudge led most of the way until about 10,500 feet when Larson took the lead just above tree line and reached the summit first.

But Larson said even though she was happy to break her Ascent time, she may have spent too much energy doing it. By the course’s A-Frame, which is three miles from the summit, Mudge ran past Larson. Mudge never saw her again.


FINISHING WITH A KICK: Paul Koch, 35, nears the finish line of the Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday in Manitou Springs. He took second place with a time of 4:08:07.
“It went back and forth,” said Larson, 32, of Los Alamos, Calif. “(Mudge) passed me going downhill, and I was giving it everything I can muster. I never really saw her again because of the turns.

“It was a great exciting race. I was just happy that I could keep up with someone like that.”

Mudge, 33, of Tavistock, England, finished fourth overall and set a 30-34 agegroup record time of 4:19:38. She broke the 15-year-old mark by 16 minutes and 56 seconds. But Mudge was disappointed.

“Looking at the times last year,” Mudge said. “I thought I had a stiff chance of winning.”

Larson came in seventh overall. Ilgen said it is rare for this race to have two women in the top 10.

“That’s amazing,” Larson said. “It’s got be one of the most competitive races in a long time.”

Larson finished at 4:22:29, 19 minutes and 24 seconds faster than her winning time last year.


READY, SET, RUN: Runners begin their ascent at the start of the Pikes Peak Marathon in Manitou Springs on Sunday. The winner in the men 's race was Matt Carpenter with a time of 3:43:46. The women 's winner was Angela Mudge, with a time of 4:19:38.
“I felt slow going downhill, but it was the fastest time I had,” Larson said. “So I can’t complain.”

Carpenter won his sixth Pikes Peak Marathon title, increasing his combined Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon titles to 11. He broke the 35-39 age-group record, which was set by Senovio Torres in 1993, by two minutes and 47 seconds with a time of 3:43:46. But when he reached the summit, he missed breaking Simon Gutierrez’s 35-39 age-group Ascent record, set Saturday, by a little over a minute.

Coming into Sunday’s Marathon, Carpenter had three goals — win, break the Marathon age-group record and break the Ascent age-group record. He said two out of three isn’t bad.

Carpenter fought for more competitive entries in past years and got his wish. The race committee selected 10 male and 10 female for the “competitve runner” spots for this year’s race. Gutierrez was one of the selections. But Carpenter isn’t regretting it.

“It’s great, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “I would rather have it like that, to lose to Simon. That’s how it should be. If fast people want to come, let ‘em in.”

Second and third: Paul Koch, 35, of Colorado Springs, came in second (4:08:07) and Bernie Boettcher, 40, of Silt, was third (4:11:10).

1. Matt Carpenter 39 3:43:46
2. Paul L. Koch 35 4:08:07
3. Bernie Boettcher 40 4:11:10
4. Peter A. Fain 31 4:19:40
5. Ryan Cooper 29 4:20:05

1. Angela Mudge 33 4:19:38
2. Erica J. Larson 32 4:22:29
3. Sarah G. Slaughter 31 5:03:56
4. Andrea E. Wiegand 22 5:05:23
5. Jenny P. McCargo 40 5:09:01

Copyright 2003, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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