On that fateful August day in 1993, Carpenter reached the summit in 2:01:06, a record split that still stands as the fastest ascent time at the historic event, and then blistered the descent in 1:15:33. Only Dakota Jones’s 1:13:53 descent set at last year’s race, is faster than Carpenter’s. Additionally, only Carpenter’s arch nemesis from the 1990s, Ricardo Mejia, has come within striking distance of Carpenter with a 3:21:32 in 1995. In the 23 years since then, only Mejia with a 3:29 in 1996 has even broken 3:30 for the race. Jones’s 3:32:20 to win the 2018 event is the closest anyone’s gotten to a 3:30 finish time since.
When Kilian raced the Pikes Peak Marathon in 2012, he won in 3:40:26, way off record pace. So, why is there speculation that perhaps the record could finally go down to Kilian Jornet?
Here are my three reasons why:
Kilian is fresh.
In a typical year by the end of August, Kilian has raced some long events or taken on some immense mountain challenges. Not that Kilian is ever really worn out by normal standards, but a quick look at his exploits over the past decade suggests that August has not been his prime time. This year, it looks like it is with just a handful of shorter races, no major 100 milers or big mountain projects, and a clear indication that he is fit based on his course record at Sierre-Zinal two weeks ago.
Kilian is focused.
While it would be hard to argue that Kilian is ever anything but focused, some have observed that there are times he goes into events and challenges with more of an attitude of fun and camaraderie than others. I believe he is going into this one to break the record. Going all the way back to my conversation with him earlier this year in preparation for my article on his 2010 season, I sensed in Kilian a drive that is as strong and powerful as his legs. It is this focused drive that leads me to believe he can summit Pikes in two hours flat and descend in 1:15.
Kilian is a student of the sport.
While his exploits are indeed legendary, Kilian also has a keen sense of history as was evidenced in his Bob Graham Round record last year. I believe this sense of history combined with, perhaps, a sense of urgency as Father Time marches on, have provided Kilian with this unique opportunity to surpass one of the most iconic records in American trail running.
And so it is with his fitness, freshness, focus, and sense of history that I think Kilian will get the record on Sunday. In fact, my sources tell me that he was already on the mountain as of Wednesday doing some recon. That fact, along with the body of work Kilian is bringing to the mountain this weekend, says to me that the time has come for the King of Pikes Peak to be re-crowned.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- Alright, let’s do this debate. Will he or won’t he? Will Kilian Jornet reset the men’s course record held by Matt Carpenter at Sunday’s Pikes Peak Marathon?
- And, will he reset Marr Carpenter’s ascent record in the process?