Runners will have an opportunity to race up the Pikes Peak Highway on Sunday, August 28, 2011, when they enter the inaugural Pikes Peak Road Ascent. This 11.6-mile route will start near the Pikes Peak Highway Toll Gate at an elevation of 7,750 feet and ascend up the mostly-paved road to Glen Cove at an elevation of 11,425 feet. The total gain is 3,675 feet with an average grade between 5 and 8 percent.
The race evolved after discussions between Ron Ilgen, president of Pikes Peak, Inc./Triple Crown of Running, and Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the American Trail Running Association, who both felt that a run up America’s mountain on the paved side – in comparison to running up the Barr Trail – would add a very unique event to the local running calendar and attract participants not only locally, but nationally, and even internationally.
Says Triple Crown of Running board member Tom Berg, “Generations of Peak runners have yearned to try their skills on a Peak Highway race. Runners, your time has arrived.”
The Pikes Peak Highway is closed only two times per year, once for the annual car race – the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb – the other for a more recent addition on the mountain – the Assault on The Peak – a bike ride from Manitou Springs to the summit of Pikes Peak which celebrates its second anniversary this year.
Ilgen and Hobbs knew about the bike ride and contacted organizers Pat McDonough and Mark Tyson to discuss a collaborative effort to stage both events this year on the toll road.
“We were certainly curious about Ron and Nancy’s idea and after visiting with them we realized this was a win-win and enthusiastically supported this partnership. By working together we can create synergies in terms of sponsorships, promotion and marketing.”
The Triple Crown will be the organizing body for the event with support from the American Trail Running Association.
“We’re delighted to be involved with this inaugural event on the Peak. The Triple Crown has proven itself with years of success at their events and so we couldn’t associate with a better partner,” said ATRA president Adam Chase. “The Pikes Peak Road Ascent aligns with our mission – to represent and promote trail and mountain running – and we look forward to a fantastic race in August.”
There are a few unique twists planned for the Pikes Peak Road Ascent this August. The event will be chip timed to the finish line with prizes for top finishers and medals for anyone who completes the course in four hours or less, but will also include a split time en route to the finish at the 10 mile mark thereby replicating the distance in the first let of the Triple Crown of Running – the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run on June 12 – creating a “20 Mile Road Challenge.” Runners who finish both events, will have their times combined for this event within an event with awards presented at the Triple Crown Awards Ceremony on September 30.
Additionally, an “Ascent Challenge” will combine times from the Pikes Peak Ascent or ascent portion of the Pikes Peak Marathon and the Pikes Peak Road Ascent with prizes presented at the Triple Crown Awards Ceremony. Finally, there will be a “Tripler Challenge” geared toward attracting the Pikes Peak Doublers (runners who completed the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon the weekend prior to the Pikes Peak Road Ascent), making these runners “Triplers.” In 2010, there were 111 doublers.
For the Pikes Peak Road Ascent, a prize purse of $1500 will be distributed among top finishers and awards will be presented to the top three finishers in age groups 16-19, 20-99 in five year increments.
Organizers expect a top field of contenders for the event to include Simon Gutierrez, three-time winner of the Pikes Peak Ascent, who plans to include the Pikes Peak Road Ascent in his racing plans for 2011. Said Gutierrez, “I was going to finish the season with the Ascent (Pikes Peak Ascent on August 20), but how wonderful to have two races there (on Pikes Peak). Count me in!”
On the women’s side, two-time Pikes Peak Ascent winner (’08, ’10) Brandy Erholtz, has confirmed her participation in the event, “It sounds like a cool race!” Erholtz will be in Europe racing prior to the event and will use the Pikes Peak Road Ascent to stay sharp for the rest of her race season.
The Road Ascent will start at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 28, 2011. There is limited parking near the start area. Carpooling recommended. Shuttles are being coordinated at press time. Because runners are sharing the road with cyclists, and for their safety, they will not be permitted to run back down the road after they finish. There will also be a shuttle from the start line to the finish line for spectators and family members as no vehicles will be allowed on the road during the events. There will be a fee of $5/spectator for the transportation. Details available soon.
A post-event pasta lunch will be held jointly with the Assault on The Peak from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Memorial Park in Manitou Springs which is included in the runner race entry. The prize ceremony for runners will be held at the same location at 2:00 p.m. Friends and supporters of the runners can join in the festivities and purchase lunch for $8.
The cost for registration is $80 by June 30, $95 from July 1-July 31, $110 from August 1-26, and $130 on August 27 if space available. No race day registration. The race is limited to 700 registrants and includes a membership to the American Trail Running Association, transportation down the mountain, an inaugural race memento, and post-race festivities.
The Pikes Peak Road Ascent is sponsored by Mathews Chiropractic, Acli-Mate Mountain Sport Drink, Emergicare, and Bristol Brewing. Additional sponsors will be announced later this month.
For additional details visit: www.trailrunner.com.
A sampling of other uphill running races in the USA in 2011:
- Black Canyon Ascent – 6 M – May 14 – Montrose, CO
- Prospect Mountain Race – 5.67M – May 14 – Lake George, NY
- Wachusett Mtn. Trail Run – 4.3M – May 28 – Princeton, MA
- Pack Monadnock Mountain Run – 10M – June 5 – Wilton, NH
- Whiteface Mountain Uphill Footrace – 8 Miles – June 5 – Wilimington, NY
- Mt Evans Ascent – 14.5 Miles – June 18 – Idaho Springs, CO
- Mount Washington Road Race – 7.6 Miles – June 18 – Gorham, NH
- Targhee Hill Climb – 2.7 Miles – June 25 – Alta, WY
- Eco Climb-It Challenge – 4.65 Miles – July 1 – Snowmass Village, CO
- Loon Mountain Uphill – 13.2 Miles – July 2 – Lincoln, NH
- La Sportiva Vail HillClimb – 7.5 Miles – July 3 – Vail, CO
- Mount Ripinsky Run – 1.5 Miles – July 4 – Haines, AK
- Mt. Ascutney Foot Race – 3.8 Miles – July 10 – Windsor, VT
- Snow King Hill Climb – 2.3 Miles – July 23 – Jackson Hole, WY
- Mt Ashland Hill Climb – 13.3 Miles – August 6 – Ashland, OR
- Squaw Valley Mountain Run – 3.6 MilesAugust 6 – Olympic Valley, CA
- Beartooth Run – 8.4 miles – August 6 – Red Lodge, MT
- La Luz Trail Run – 9 Miles – August 7 – Sandia Mtn., NM
- Mt. Roberts Tram Run – 4 Miles – August 13 – Juneau, AK
- LibertyBank Sunrise to Summit – 4+-Miles – August 20 – Bend, OR
- Exum Mountain Guides Rendezvous Hill Climb – 7.2 Miles – August 27 –
Jackson Hole, WY
- Race to the top of Vermont – 4.23 Miles – August 28 – Stowe, VT
- La Sportiva Berry Picker Hill Climb – 5 Miles – August 28 – Vail, CO
- Jerome Hill Climb – 5.25 miles – September 4 – Arizona (starts on paved, then dirt road)
- Mt Baldy Run to the Top – 8 Miles – September 5 – Mt Baldy, CA
- Tioga Pass Run – 12.4 Miles – September 11 – Lee Vining, CA
- Mt. Baldy Hill Climb – 1.8 Miles – September 24 – Ketchum, ID
- Ski Run Road Challenge – 12.5 Miles – October 29 – Ruidoso, NM