The Pikes Peak Elite Track Club took on America’s Mountain last Saturday for the 13.4 mile climb to the top of Pikes Peak known as “The Ascent.”
In his debut, Ben Payne finished 4th place overall behind repeat winner Joe Gray of Colorado Springs, 2015 winner Toura Miyahara of Japan, and Seth DeMoor of Englewood, Colorado. He admitted afterwards that it was the “hardest 13.3 marathon I’ve ever run,” alluding to the fact that it took longer than his marathon PR to cover only half the distance. His time of 2:23:06 put him 1st in his age group. “It introduced me to a new kind of pain, but I’m grateful for a 4th place finish overall.”
Matt Williams also took on the Ascent for the first time and came away with a 9th place finish overall and a time of 2:34:08. “It was a humbling and amazing experience to race Pikes Peak for the first time,” said Matt, “and I could not have done it without all of the support of so many.”
Our third top-ten finisher was no novice to the grueling conditions that come with racing up Pikes Peak. Shannon Payne, who had raced the Ascent in 2014, finished fourth this year in 2:52. Although it wasn’t the top-3 finish she was hoping for, Shannon shares her post-race thoughts and lessons learned in her latest blog on Pikes Peak Sports. –Definitely worth the read if you’re wondering what it’s really like running up 13.3 miles with over 8,000ft of vertical gain!