Mountain runners in the famous Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon are quite familiar with the challenge of reaching the summit, with a rust-colored cap of granite boulders, a hard-blue sky overhead and precious little air to breathe.

Now, there's a new challenge to the best short-distances runners around: a one-mile race to the peak.

Who will be the fastest at 14,000 feet?

On Aug. 13, the inaugural Pikes Peak High-Altitude Mile will answer that question.

Event organizers will invite track and cross-country athletes, middle-distance roadies and mountain runners. Ideally, the men's and women's fields will include 15 to 20 each. Runners who are interested in competing should contact Nancy Hobbs at or 719-573-4133.

The final participants will be announced Aug. 1.

The racing will begin with the women's heat at 9 a.m., followed by the men at 9:30 .

There will be plenty of incentive to run fast. The Pikes Peak High-Altitude Mile champions will earn $1,000, with $500, $250 and $100 going to the next three finishers. The winners will also receive one-of-a-kind jackets commemorating their accomplishment.

The winners of last week's Bristol Mile in Colorado Springs, Dey Dey (3:54), and Katie Rainsberger (4:38), will receive automatic berths. Pikes Peak Marathon Inc. president Ron Ilgen also is planning on inviting the winners of next week's Pearl Street Mile in Boulder.

The mile kicks off Ascent and Marathon week, with the race expo Aug. 16 in Manitou Springs followed by the Ascent and Marathon the next two days.