Sunday’s Pikes Peak Marathon will have no chance of repeat winners, as both Dakota Jones and Megan Kimmel are unable to race due to injury.
Kimmel set the women’s course record of 4:15:04 a year ago but could not recover from injury in time to defend her title. She ran a recreational 5K with other Salomon runners on Thursday and said she plans to be back next year. Kristina Mascarenas, who won the 2017 women’s marathon and placed third last year, is also out with surgery scheduled for Monday.
Jones, who took the 2018 men’s marathon in 3:32:20, is also on the mend, according to a race official.
Spain’s Kilian Jornet and Switzerland’s Maude Mathys enter as the favorites for Sunday’s marathon.
The marathon is one of seven events in the Salomon Golden Trail World Series, which feature some of the best mountain races in the world. Pikes Peak is the only United States race included in the series.
Mascarenas goes through grueling morning to see brother finish Ascent
Neither hell nor high water nor a hurting ankle was going to keep Mascarenas from the summit. With construction ongoing at the top of Pikes Peak, the 2017 marathon champion and last year’s third-place finisher had to get creative if she wanted to see her brother finish the Ascent on Saturday.
“We were talking last week when we found out no one was allowed up here, and he was really bummed. He was like ‘I want my little people up here,’ (referring to) his kids,” she said.
“I was like ‘I’ll be there hell or high water.’ I made sure I came up here.”
That meant leaving Manitou Springs on foot at 5:30 a.m. and hiking to the top on a talar head fracture and two torn ligaments in her foot. She has surgery scheduled Monday and hopes to be back running in the coming months.
Though her doctor wouldn’t put his clearance in writing, he offered one caveat.
“He was like, ‘Just don’t run down and do anything stupid,’” she said.
Jesse Mascarenas finished 14th in the men’s Ascent, reaching the top in 2:43:40.
Marathon legend Gachupin gets back to Pikes Peak
Steve Gachupin remains a mainstay on the mountain years after his racing career ended. Gachupin, who won the Pikes Peak Marathon in six consecutive years from 1966-71, has seen the race balloon from dozens of finishers to thousands and was at the start line for Saturday’s Ascent to continue quite a streak.
“I been coming (since) 1966,” Gachupin said just after the first wave of runners took off down Manitou Avenue at 7 a.m. “I missed just once. I was in Washington D.C. that year.”
He was in D.C. to compete in the Marine Corps Marathon, one of roughly 50 marathons to his name. He’s run Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in the 1968 Olympic Trials, but Pikes Peak remains a highlight.
“I love this place,” he said. “I almost moved here one time.”
Gachupin still lives in his home state of New Mexico, as evidenced by his colorful long-sleeve top. Throughout all the changes to the race and mountain, he remains a constant.
“I was the first man to run up and down that mountain. I was the first man to do it, yes sir,” he said.
“There’s a lot more people (now). A lot of people told me I was the one that made the Pikes Peak Marathon famous. I don’t know.”
Vinny Benedetto, The Gazette