Bloodied, but not beaten
Four of the top finishers in Sunday's Pikes Peak Marathon were gathering for a photo when one asked fifth-place finisher Cameron Clayton to join the group.
"Oh, yeah," Clayton said, laughing. "Get the bloody one in there."
He was right in describing himself as bloody. Clayton's forehead, arms and legs were covered with blood after he took a fall with 8 miles to go.
"I kicked a tiny, little rock," Clayton said, explaining his tumble.
He remained on the ground, stunned, for about 5 seconds after the fall. He decided, quickly, that quitting was not an option and returned to the race.
Clayton, from Boulder, was in fifth place when he fell and remained comfortably in fifth place the rest of the race. The accident did not alter his finish, he said.
He struggled for a time with a blind spot in his right eye. He had hit his forehead just above the eye.
But by the time he crossed the finish line, his sight had improved. He was in remarkably good spirits after the race.
"It was fun," he said. "If you're not having fun out there, there are plenty of other things out there to do."
As he descended Pikes Peak, he met hundreds of runners heading up the mountain. Most offered encouragement.
"Good job!" they would shout.
"Hey," Clayton made sure to shout back, "you, too!"
Delaney leads at top, comes in third at bottom
Jason Delaney, 33, wanted a new personal challenge. With his wife due in October, he knew the Pikes Peak Marathon would probably be his last of these races for a while.
"Yeah, there's a pretty good chance that's the case," he laughed.
So Sunday, last year's Pikes Peak Ascent winner tried the marathon, and led through 14 miles before finishing third at 3 hours, 53 minutes and 45 seconds.
Both race-winner Touru Miyahara (3:43:25) and Alex Nichols (3:43:48) passed him around the first mile on the descent.
"I'm totally pleased with the run," Delaney said. "I gave it everything and I am happy with that finish."
Former Air Academy runner only teen placer in the 50
With an old and dirty white cap on his head, Darren Thomas' 18th-place finish was the shining star for teen-somethings in Sunday's Pikes Peak Marathon.
He finished in 4 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds.
The next closest teen placer was Steven Sloan, who placed 57th in 5:12:49.
Double the fun?
Some runners find enjoyment out of back-to-back days of conquering Pikes Peak
Believe it or not, some people ran the Pikes Peak Ascent on Saturday just to wake up early the next morning to get to the starting line of the Pikes Peak Marathon.
Dave Mackey, the highest finishing doubler on Sunday, crossed the line in sixth place at 4 hours, 2 minutes and 1 second.
The back-to-back racers know, to most, it sounds crazy to put your body through that.
"Oh I know," said doubler Connilee Walter, who was cheered to a time of 5:10:33 by her five kids. "I love running and I told myself a long time ago that when I turned 40 I'd do both of these races back-to-back ... Then I woke up this morning and was like, 'Crap!'"
Coach gets conditioning reminder
Sean O'Day hopes his cross country and track runners can learn from his experiences at the Pikes Peak Marathon. The longtime Cheyenne Mountain assistant coach and elementary school teacher didn't embarrass himself by finishing 33rd in 4:54:10.
But he did leave with a few parting words of advice.
"I can tell my lack of training was terrible," O'Day said. "That's good for the kids to know. I can explain to them, 'Hey, this is what happens when you don't do enough training.' "
O'Day has competed in either the Pikes Peak Ascent or Marathon in every year but two (2006 and 2012) since moving to Colorado Springs from his native Minnesota in 2002.
Ascent runner thankful for first responders
Michael Boice had run the Pikes Peak Ascent four times before, finishing each one.
At around the fourth mile on Saturday, something was different. So much so that Boice decided he'd had enough and would need medical attention.
Later, in the back of an ambulance, it was determined Boice had suffered a heart attack and was rushed to undergo a procedure to place a stent in his heart.
"Those guys are awesome," said Boice about El Paso Search and Rescue officials on Sunday night from his room at Penrose-St. Francis Hospital. "Natural tendencies tell you go regroup, that everything is OK. But things didn't get better as I rested and the pain didn't go away."
Following a 30-day rest period, Boice, who works at Peterson Air Force Base, hopes to return to his regular lifestyle.
"I'm great," Boice said. "I'm going home tomorrow (Monday). I don't know what it's supposed to feel like. I'm only 49 and thought that would be later down the road, but that's OK. At least I'm here to talk about it and I want to express my deepest gratitude to the professionals who helped me on Barr Trail."
Boxes - Flush Left