This story has been archived from the Monday, August 21, 2006

Manitou gives runners mountain of support

On Marathon day, route filled with cheers, smiles


Peter Gunn sat in a lawn chair several yards from the athletes and surged with applause.

“Oh, man, this is exciting,” he said. “It’s better than an NFL game.”

Fans lined Ruxton Avenue in Manitou Springs on Sunday afternoon to cheer on runners as they finished the Pikes Peak Marathon.

It’s a tradition for local residents and others with friends or relatives participating in the race up and down the mountain.


Competitors make the trek up Barr Trail on Sunday during the Pikes Peak Marathon.
Gunn, a railroad retiree from Colorado Springs, said he didn’t know a soul.

“These guys train all their life for stuff like this,” he said. “You’ve got to come out and give them a little encouragement.”

The Ruxton curbside teemed with activity. People brought kids, dogs, coolers, strollers.

“This is part of Manitou,” said artist Julia Wright, leaning on her backyard fence.

“I always get up in the morning and cheer the group going up. I figure if they can run up, I can get up,” she said.

She returns for the finish.

“I love watching people, especially when they come back with smiles on their faces. Poor guys.”

The 26.21-mile race drew about 800 runners.

“You know they worked really hard to get there,” said Karen Cullen, owner of Victoria’s Keep Bed and Breakfast Inn on Ruxton near Miramont Castle.

She planned to cheer on those who straggled in long after most Ruxton wellwishers were gone, after officials had “already picked up the cones” from the road.

“Those are the people who have been stretched to their means getting there,” she said.

Race day was a holiday of sorts when Kyrie Collins was a girl growing up on Ruxton.

“We’d sit out and grill burgers or hot dogs all day, and when they’d come by we’d cheer for them,” she said.

Sunday, she was continuing the tradition from her mom’s house with her own two children — but minus the grill and two family members. Her husband and her stepfather were racing.

“I think they’re crazy. The only thing I like about running is stopping,” she said.

Ohio resident Mary Ann Pool stood on Ruxton with her daughter and grandson, loudly “wa-hooing” every passing runner as they waited for “Papa” to finish the rock-strewn race.

“You don’t see as many bloody people this year,” she said.

Sara Risser of Missouri saved her voice and shook a cow bell to encourage racers.

“For a lot of years, I’ve been bringing my bell,” she said. “Some people, they hate it; some people, they love it.”

The former runner likes the clamor near the finish. Knee problems keep her on the sideline while her husband races.

“He doesn’t get special treatment. No extra rings,” she said.

Runner Joni Taylor, who finished in about 6 hours, likes the hoopla from the curb.

“It helps you push a little bit faster,” she said. “It makes everything hurt less.”

Copyright 2006, The Gazette, a division of Freedom Colorado Information. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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