Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Up next...the PPM!

On August 16th, I'll be heading down to Colorado Springs for what will no doubt be the most challenging running experience of my life. The Pikes Peak Marathon. The mountain is one of Colorado's most famous 14ers. It stands alone and can be seen from all along the Front Range. The race probably wouldn't be that bad if it started up high. No, the start line is in Manitou Spring at 6295' and rises another 7815' over 13 miles. The halfway point of the marathon has you standing at 14,110'...the summit. Then you turn around and head back down.

For obvious reasons, this marathon will be quite different than any other I've done. This is not a road race, nope...except for the first mile, it's all on trails. I've read that I should expect it to take the same amount of time it takes me to run a full marathon + 30 minutes...just to reach the summit. Needless to say, this is not a race that will have me running the entire time. Think power walking!

You're probably wondering why on earth I would ever want to put myself through the agony of ascending & descending 7815' over 26 miles. Well, I heard about this marathon a few years ago. I went to a trusty source for runner reviews, marathonguide.com, and found the following review titles.

"This is freaking crazy!"
"Humbling, Inspiring, Life Changing"
"Holy cow, what a great marathon!!"
"Even Tougher Than I Expected"
"tough, beautiful, exhilarating"
"Remember it Forever"
"A must-do for love of running"
"The consummate running high"

I was amazed that everyone who did it, seemed to be in awe of the experience. Many come back to do it year after year. The full reviews can be found by clicking on the link below.

MarathonGuide.com - PPM Reviews

In 2008, the marathon filled its 800 spots in 20 minutes. Back in March, I thought I'd try to sign up, but figured I probably wouldn't get in. Well, I did. The race sold out in 24 hours this year.

So, I'll be hitting the hills in the early mornings this summer as the shift to trail running is on. No more pounding pavement. Whatever happens on 8/16, I'm excited to bag another 14er and experience what they call "America's Ultimate Challenge"!

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