Last Sunday morning in downtown Manitou Springs, Colorado, the starting gun fired off the almost 800 Pikes Peak Marathon entrants. Runners headed up Manitou and Ruxton Avenues before jumping on the historic Barr Trail. 13.32 miles and 7,815 feet of climbing later, runners gained the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak summit. From there, it was all downhill along the same course to the downtown finish line. By the race’s finish, both the competition, a mix of almost entirely local and Euro talent, as well as air temperatures, peaking in the low 80s Fahrenheit, were hot.
The men’s field was immediately led out by Catalonian Kilian Jornet (post-race interview) and Oregonian Max King. But the rest of the field played chase, including Colorado Springs local Alex Nichols. Soon Nichols took the lead and set the pace for he and Jornet’s climb to the near-midway aid station at Barr Camp, while King settled into third. After Barr Camp, Jornet forged ahead, opening a more than four-minute lead over Nichols at the summit turnaround. From there, the eventual first and second places were set, though Jornet’s out-of-this-world downhilling abilities allowed him to increase his gap over Nichols to almost seven minutes at the finish.
King hoofed it hard to the summit, so hard that he was grunting and gasping to get enough oxygen out of the thin air of over 14,000 feet. J. Marshall Thomson, of Colorado, overtook King within sight of the summit. That overtaking was short-lived, however, as King used his beastly downhill running skill set to almost immediately regain and keep his third-place position to the finish line.
Fourth-place finisher Thomson actually sat in sixth position for about three-quarters of the ascent, with the top three men plus Greg Vollet, of France, and Andorran Oscar Casal ahead of him. On the upper reaches of the mountain, Thomson passed and put minutes on both Vollet and Casal. Vollet and Casal held onto respective fifth and sixth-place finishes. Dave Mackey, Samuel Malmberg, Corey Dobson (husband to Kim Dobson, the winner and new course record-holder of the previous day’s Pikes Peak Ascent), and Chris Grauch rounded out the top 10.
Spaniard Mireia Miro took the pace out aggressively from the starting line, and Vermont’s Kasie Enman remained on her tail until the two settled into their uphill own paces. Norway-dwelling (but Sweden-born) Emelie Forsberg hung tough on the uphill and held a strong third position at the summit. At the summit turnaround, Miro still led the ladies’ field. Three minutes back to Miro was Enman, followed by Forsberg about 7.5 minutes back.
What happened on the downhill was a complete switcheroo of first and third places. Miro maintained her lead until about six miles from the finish, where she was forced to slow due to stomach problems. At that point but just briefly, Enman earned the lead. Downhill animo Forsberg, however, soon took over and plowed her way to the finish. Enman made her work for the win, however, as she finished just 18 seconds behind Forsberg. Miro finished four minutes later, in third, with a big smile on her face.
In the race for fourth, Great Britain’s Lauren Jeska proved her climbing ability, running up and reaching the summit in fourth position. But Colorado’s Michele Suszek, who arrived to the summit turnaround about 2.5 minutes after Jeska, turned on her downhill afterburners, passed Jeska to take over fourth place, and finished almost five minutes ahead of her. Jeska took fifth while Salynda Fleury, Conilee Walter, Yvonne Carpenter (wife to Matt, the men’s course record holder for both the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon), Melissa Bay, and Sandi Nypaver filled out the women’s top 10.
2012 Pikes Peak Marathon Men’s Official Results
- Kilian Jornet (Salomon) – 3:40:26
- Alex Nichols (Inov-8) – 3:47:22
- Max King (Montrail) – 3:50:10
- J. Marshall Thomson – 3:57:41
- Greg Vollet (Salomon) – 4:08:10
- Oscar Casal (Salomon) – 4:10:13
- Dave Mackey (Hoka One One) – 4:17:51
- Samuel Malmberg – 4:18:41
- Corey Dobson – 4:22:49
- Chris Grauch– 4:22:58
2012 Pikes Peak Marathon Women’s Official Results
- Emelie Forsberg (Salomon) – 4:28:07
- Kasie Enman (Salomon) – 4:28:25
- Mireia Miro (Salomon) – 4:32:13
- Michele Suszek – 4:42:38
- Lauren Jeska (Arc’teryx) – 4:47:25
- Salynda Fleury – 5:01:08
- Conilee Walter – 5:01:30
- Yvonne Carpenter – 5:08:50
- Melissa Bay– 5:16:32
- Sandi Nypaver – 5:26:44
PS. On Saturday, Colorado’s Kim Dobson annihilated the 31-year-old Pikes Peak Ascent women’s record. Her 2:24:58 blew Pikes Peak superstar Lynn Bjorklund’s 2:33:31 record out of the water. Or, should we say off the mountain? Check out this video interview with her right after her victory and record.