This story has been archived from the Monday, August 8, 2005

Runners set record time for registration


When registration for the Pikes Peak Ascent filled up this year in three days instead of the usual two months, it tripped up a lot of veteran runners.

Jana Hlavaty, 64, of Summit County has run the 13.32-mile race up Pikes Peak 16 times. When she sent in her entry in April, she got a note back that the race was full.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “This is the one race I do a year.”

Perhaps because 2005 is the 50th anniversary of the Aug. 20-21 Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, registration filled up in record time.

The marathon, which usually takes five months to fill, closed in four days this year.

The rush left some longtime peak runners racing to get in any way they can.

Some call organizers regularly to see if they have a chance of getting off the waiting list.

Some plan to show up and run illegally without a registration.

Hlavaty took a different approach. She put an advertisement in The Gazette classified section in mid-July. It read “PIKES PEAK ASCENT — Interested in purchasing your entry. If you cannot make it, if you are injured or have a conflict, please, make my day.”

Within a few days, she got a call, but not the one she wanted. Race organizers explained that it was against the rules to buy a place in the ascent.

She asked what else she could do. She was sent a form that asked for personal information about her age, race times, and why she wanted to do the race.

The best they could do, they said, was put her on the 70-person waiting list.

“I didn’t think I had a chance, but I figured I had nothing to lose,” she said.

At the end of July, she got in. Enough people had canceled that a few persistent racers like her were sent packets. Runners like Hlavaty who have done the race a number of times and are competitive in their age group have been given priority.

“It made me so happy; it was very good news,” she said. “And I learned a lesson not to procrastinate.”

But she is an exception.

Of about 100 people who asked to be put on the waiting list — and the hundreds who never bothered to get on the list — only 32 have been let in.

Because the race crosses National Forest Service land, the number of runners is capped at 800 for the marathon and 1,800 for the ascent by a Forest Service permit.

“The Forest Service limits it to control the wear and tear on the peak,” said Carol Korth, one of the race organizers.

Dozens of left-out runners this year may decide to run the race anyway as “bandit runners” without official race numbers or times.

The Boston Marathon, the country’s oldest 26-mile race, has long had a problem with bandit runners, whose numbers are rumored to be in the thousands.

The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon usually only have a few bandits, said Ron Ilgen, race director.

“We’re expecting more this year. Bottom line, the course is open to anybody. We can’t restrict the use, we can’t stop them, but they won’t get their time recorded or anything.”

Hlavaty said she never considered running as a bandit.

“I would feel bad doing it. It’s basically stealing,” she said.

“But I know at least one person who didn’t get in and said ‘I don’t give a damn. I’m running anyway.’"


The Pikes Peak Ascent is Aug. 20. The Pikes Peak Marathon is Aug. 21. Information:

The Gazette will publish a special section on the races Sunday. The Life section will carry stories about the ascent and marathon Aug. 15 and Aug. 18, and the Sports section will feature coverage of the events.


Copyright 2005, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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