After snafu last year, organizers relieved as sign-ups for Marathon, Ascent go smoothly

By BRIAN GOMEZ Updated: March 12, 2008 at 12:00 am • Published: March 12, 2008

No server problems, minimal wait times and few complaints equaled one big sigh of relief Wednesday for Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon organizers.

Registration for the Aug.16-17 races went off without a hitch a year after a crashed server at active.com delayed sign-ups by 12 days and frustrated thousands of runners.

The 865 spots in Wave 2 of the Ascent, a 13.32-mile race from Manitou Springs to the summit of Pikes Peak, were filled in 67 minutes.

It took 26 minutes to fill the 350 spots in Field 1 of the Marathon, which stretches 26.21 miles up and down the mountain. The second Marathon field (375 spots) filled in 50 minutes.

"It went very smooth," said Ron Ilgen, president of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. "We didn't want a repeat of last year. We were nervous."

There were 284 of 950 spots open in Wave 1 of the Ascent as of 9:20 p.m. Wednesday, race registrar and reigning Ascent and Marathon champion Matt Carpenter said.

More than 75 spots remain for those in the Triple Crown of Running Series - the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, the Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run on June 8 in Manitou Springs and the Summer Roundup Trail Run 12K on July 6 in Colorado Springs.

The wait list for the Ascent and Marathon - available at pikespeakmarathon.org for $5, plus an Active fee of $1 - has 179 of 275 spots open. If accepted, the cost is $85 for the Ascent or $75 for the Marathon, plus Manitou Springs' 5 percent excise tax and an Active fee of about $6.

Award registration starts at noon Wednesday. 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 half-price spots for age-group winners from the 2007 races and the top finishers in the 2007 TCR Series.

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

Qualification standards were raised this year, lessening the demand and giving people more time to register.
Wave 1 of the Ascent is for runners who have finished the Ascent or the uphill portion of the Marathon in less than 4 hours, 15 minutes; 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 or the uphill portion of the Marathon in 4:15 to 6:30; a marathon in 3:45 to 5:30; or a half-marathon in 1:40 to 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 5½ hours.

Ilgen said his office fielded about 20 calls an hour from concerned runners starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Carpenter received about 60 e-mails, 515 fewer than last year when Active's server shut down due to a flood of entries for the races and other events nationwide.

Some runners attempting to register were initially blocked by a "too busy" page at active.com. Others had trouble after typing incorrect credit card information.

"If you didn't get in this year, you can't blame it all on luck," said Carpenter, who will post a list of confirmed runners today at pikespeakmarathon.org. "It's not like 10 minutes. Even 26 minutes, as fast as that sounds, if you were there on time, you should have gotten in."

CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0256 or brian.gomez@gazette.com.

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