Updated: August 7, 2008 at 12:00 am
If there were any real money or national interest in running through insanely high mountain trails at even more insane speeds, the world would probably know the name Matt Carpenter.
Carpenter showed he was unequivocally the best at it through a series of sky marathons - a marathon where altitude doesn't dip below 14,000 feet. One might think there would've been a Himalayan yeti that could've kept up with or even surpassed Carpenter.
But Carpenter was the one with the fastest feet.
He's a genetic freak, which in athletics is a good thing, who always seems to be the one with the fastest feet.
Nobody has gotten up Pikes Peak faster than Carpenter - at least nobody on 2 feet. The same goes for getting up and down America's Mountain. Carpenter owns the record for both. In 1993 he ran up the mountain in 2 hours, 1 minute, 6 seconds. He made it down in 1:15:33. The round trip was 3:16:39. A huge part of the world's population couldn't scale the mountain in twice the time it takes Carpenter to get up and down.
The 2005 Leadville 100 might be Carpenter's most impressive race. The altitude running king was immensely humbled after walking across the Leadville finish line in 2004. There were whispers throughout the ultrarunning community that maybe Carpenter wasn't built for the long runs, that he'd met his match. There were sardonic smiles and smirks, too, because Carpenter's carefree attitude is saturated with an eccentric this-is-me-love-me-or-get-out-of-my-way style.
Carpenter either shut up the critics or left them stunned in 2005 when he finished in 15:42:59 - destroying the previous record by 1 hour, 33 minutes.
Carpenter also serves as the vice president of the Triple Crown of Running and the race director for the Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run, the first leg of the TCR Series.
To read about Pacific Coast League president Branch B. Rickey III, who ranked #18 on the list, go here:
To read about USCO chief communications officer Derryl Seibel, who ranked #19 on the list, go here: http://www.gazette.com/sports/seibel_38987___article.html/sports_usoc.html
To read about Air Force hockey coach Frank Serratore, who ranked #20 on the list, go here: http://www.gazette.com/sports/falcons_38959___article.html/tournament_serratore.html