Aug 16, 2014 8:01 PM by Lena Howland

Runners race to the top of Pikes Peak

1,800 runners from across the globe took off for the Pikes Peak Ascent in Manitou Springs on Saturday morning.

It's a race leading competitors through Manitou Springs, up the Incline, along Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak.

It's more than just a tradition...

"The Olympics of mountain running, that's a good way to put it," Peter Maksimow, a Manitou Springs resident said.

A race, leading runners 8,000 feet up in elevation.

"So they start from 6,300 feet down in Manitou and work their way up to over 1,400 feet on the trail, on Barr Trail. Some of it, it's almost hands and knees in a few places," Ron Ilgen, Race Director said.

The runners finshed up the race by crossing the iconic finish line at the summit of Pikes Peak.

The first to cross the finish line was Sage Canaday of Boulder, Colorado. He finished in two hours and ten minutes.

One man from Manitou Springs crossed the finish line ninth. He says it's all thanks to his high altitude training.

"Coming up here and doing three miles down, two miles down, one mile down and back up each of those so that's a good 12 mile workout," Maksimow said.

In a place he's grateful to call home.

"I know our town's been through a lot with the fires and the floods so... that goes out to Manitou Springs," he said.

Allie McLaughlin, a native to Colorado Springs, was the first female to cross the finish line. She finished her climb in two hours and 33 minutes.

"The Incline is actually like my favorite thing ever so I don't make it up here a ton, but I do say this is my mountain," she said.

Up against some steep terrain, out-of-towners were the first to notice a change in altitude.

"Ten miles, I started feeling the elevation kinda hit me. You know, just a little bit dizzy, legs start to feel a little bit wobbly," Sam Welch, a Colorado Springs resident of two weeks said.

But by the time he reached the summit... it was all worth it.

"Nothing beats this kinda view and atmosphere and the people, it is amazing. It's one of the reasons why I moved out here in the first place," Welch said.

The Pikes Peak Marathon is tomorrow morning, also in Manitou Springs.

Runners will take the same route as the Ascent, but will head back down to Manitou for the finish line.


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