Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Organizers expect smooth Pikes Peak Ascent/Marathon sign-up

By BRIAN GOMEZ Updated: March 11, 2008 at 12:00 am
This time, runners signing up for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon shouldn't have problems, according to organizers of the races.

Registration for the Aug. 16 and 17 races begins Wednesday at www.active.com, the Web site that endured a crashed server last year because of a flood of entries for the races and other events across the U.S.


There are 1,815 public spots available in the Ascent, a 13.32-mile race that starts in Manitou Springs and ends on the summit of Pikes Peak. The Marathon, a 26.21-mile race up and down the mountain, has 725 spots open to the public.

Each race requires that runners prove they have met certain criteria.

The Ascent field will have two waves, with faster runners in Wave 1 leaving the starting line first.

General registration starts at noon for Wave 2 of the Ascent; 12:30 p.m. for Wave 1 of the Ascent.

The Marathon registration starts at 1 p.m., and it will have two fields for registration purposes.

Competitors planning to run in the June and July races that are part of the Triple Crown of Running Series can register for the Ascent or Marathon at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

"We learned a great deal from last year," said Ron Ilgen, president of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. "We've tried to time (registration) so that we don't conflict with any other races. We've been good in our due diligence to make sure we avoid last year's situation."

Once registration fills, runners may put their names on an online wait list, which has a 275-person cap. The names on the wait list, as well as those with confirmed spots in the races, will be posted at www.pikespeakmarathon.org.

There are 64 free spots for the top finishers from the 2007 races, winners from previous years and 2007 TCR Series winners. There are 64 halfprice spots for age-group winners from the 2007 races and the top finishers in the 2007 TCR Series. People in those groups can register starting at noon on March 19.

Ilgen will grant free entries to 40 people based on their running credentials. Biographical applications must be submitted to Ilgen by July 18.

Entry fees are $85 for the Ascent and $75 for the Marathon. Manitou Springs charges a 5 percent excise tax. The Active fee is about $5.

In the Ascent, Wave 1 is for runners who have finished the Ascent in less than 4 hours, 15 minutes; the uphill portion of the Marathon in less than 4:15; a marathon in less than 3:45; or a half-marathon in less than 1:40.

Wave 2 is for runners who have completed the Ascent in 4:15 to 6:30; the uphill portion of the Marathon in 4:15 to 6:30; a marathon in less than 5:30; or a half-marathon in less than 2:30.

Marathon runners must have done the Ascent in less than six hours; the Marathon in less than 10 hours; or a marathon in less than 5:30 hours.

The criteria and other information can be found at www.pikespeakmarathon.org.

On Ascent race day, runners in Wave 1 start half an hour before runners in Wave 2. All Marathon runners start at the same time.

Last year was the final year of a contract between Active, a San Diego company that's the nation's leader in online registration for amateur sporting events, and the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon.

Ilgen said the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon is operating without a contract this year but has "fallbacks" in place with Active in case something again goes wrong.

After registration for last year's races was completed 12 days later than planned, Active granted refunds to runners with duplicate registrations and refunded some of its registration fees.

Active also made private donations to Friends of the Peak, Barr Camp, the High School Aid Station Challenge and Bear Creek Park. Ilgen and Active Vice President Scott Evans declined to disclose the amount of the donations.

"The demand will be as great, if not greater than before," Ilgen said. "The notoriety of the event continues to grow. So do the number of marathon runners who want to run a very challenging event."

Asked if there was a silver lining in last year's registration debacle, Ilgen said, "Our bad publicity turns into good. When people see there's a demand for something, it adds to their desire to be part of the event."

CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or brian.gomez@gazette.com. Check out our Olympics blog at http://gazetteolympics.blogspot.com/

PIKES PEAK ASCENT AND MARATHON
When: Aug. 16-17
Register: Wednesday at www.active.com. Begins at noon for Wave 2 of the Ascent, 12:30 p.m. for Wave 1 of the Ascent, and 1 p.m. for the Marathon.
More info: Call 473-2625 or visit www.pikespeakmarathon.org
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