This story has been archived from the Monday, August 23, 2004

Roc crosses line first, but Burrell wins race


Agusti Roc of Barcelona, Spain, crossed the finish line first in the Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday.

But he isn’t the race champion. That honor goes to Boulder’s Galen Burrell, while Erica Larson, of Los Alamos, N.M., won the women’s race for the fifth time in six years.

Seems there were two sets of rules — unbeknownst to race officials — being used by competitors as they descended from the summit.

Roc is a competitor in the international Buff Skyrunner World Series, a series of seven high-altitude mountain races. The Pikes Peak Marathon joined the series this year.

In Skyrunner races, competitors can descend on any line, so long as they pass certain points on the course. So Roc and several other Skyrunners literally cut corners on their way down twisting, rocky Barr Trail.

Race officials made a quick decision to remove the Skyrunners from the official race results, essentially creating their own race category. The Skyrunners were allowed to earn points toward the series standings.

While the Skyrunner Series and Pikes Peak Marathon intend to continue their partnership, nobody thought there might be a difference in the rules.

“There is going to be a learning curve for both of us,” race director Ron Ilgen said. “There was no way that I could tell him (Burrell) that he finished second.”

Roc, wearing a wide smile and waving to a crowd of about 300 people, hit the finish line at the corner of Manitou Avenue and Ruxton Boulevard in 3 hours, 54 minutes, 11.2 seconds. Burrell finished in 4:00:04.3.

Burrell trailed Roc by 15 seconds at the 14,110-feet summit.

He said he didn’t see the Spaniard running off course, but he did wonder about Roc’s time gains as they descended.

“I was only in visual contact with him above tree line,” Burrell said. “I didn’t notice (Roc leaving the trail).

“But he did seem to gain time suddenly.”

Roc, who spoke only Spanish, indicated that the altitude wore him down. But he enjoyed the relatively gentle grades on Barr Trail and was able to run the entire 26.31-mile distance.

Joan Colomer, also of Barcelona, was the third runner to finish, in 4:02:57.7

Bernie Boettcher, 47, of Silt, is officially the second-place finisher in 4:08:35.7. He thought the Skyrunners might be disqualified.

“I read the rules and saw that you’re not supposed to cut the corners,” Boettcher said. “I don’t know how to take it.”

In the women’s race, Larson, 33, won in 4:28:27.4. She has been nearly unbeatable since she entered for the first time and won in 1999. She has won each year since, except in 2003 when she finished second.

“I don’t know what it is,” Larson said. “Just a lot of training and experience I guess.”

She trains with her husband, Chris Chavez, who she regularly beats.

“He’s OK with it,” she said. “People sometimes tell him his wife is beating him, and he says, ‘She’s beating you, too.’ “

Durango’s Sharon Kuhn, 45, placed second among the women runners in 4:48:16.

1. Galen Burrell, 4:00:04
2. Joan Colomer, 4:02:57
3. Bernie Boettcher, 4:08:35
4. Gaizka Izia, 4:09:32
5. Asier Urdanpill, 4:15:27

1. Erica Larson, 4:28:27
2. Sharon Kuhn, 4:48:16
3. Jane Tunnadine, 5:03:24
4. Teresa Forn, 5:08:18
5. Beth Darnall, 5:17:29


Copyright 2004, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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