‘America’s Ultimate Challenge’: The Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent Descend on Manitou Springs

August 18, 2016
Credit PikesPeakMarathon.org

The Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent descend on Manitou this weekend. The race closes parking on Ruxton and Manitou Avenues during the weekend, as well as the Manitou Incline.

The annual races began in 1954. Race director Ron Ilgen has run the Marathon three times, and says it's a grueling experience.

"To make it up is one thing," he said. "But to turn around for 13 miles on a pretty rugged trail, and your legs are just screaming and you just hurt all over."

There are 1800 runners in the Ascent, which takes place on Saturday, and finishes at the summit. There are 800 runners in the Marathon, which summits the peak and then descends the thirteen mile trail.

Despite the difficulty of the races, Ilgen says registration was full within hours of its opening in March for the Marathon, and within days for the Ascent, adding there are limits on registration due to course crowding and safety concerns.

He says the Pikes Peak Marathon draws mountain runners from all over the world.

The free Manitou shuttle through Manitou to the Incline will not run until 8am on Saturday, and won't run at all on Sunday. The Incline is expected to stay closed through December for maintenance.