Pikes Peak Marathon

Trail Running


 

Climbing my first US 14er.

 


 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Pikes Peak – if you look closely you can see the summit house on the top right.

 


 

Ever since I first came to Colorado Springs to visit my girlfriend (now wife), it’s been hard to ignore Pikes Peak. You see it everywhere in Colorado Springs. When you are shopping, driving through downtown, it’s always there. It’s on signs, company names, sticker, maps… and of course as a mountaineer, it’s extra hard to ignore. It stands right in front of you. And it’s so close. Of course you want to climb it. Some research revealed that it’s a fairly long hike up Barr Trail. At the same time I found out that it’s a very popular marathon. Total distance is 26.219 miles (42.195km) while ascending 7,815 feet (2,382m) and descending the same which makes it a total of 15,630 feet or 4,764 meters for the marathon. So yeah, that sounded great! After my first attempt on a 14er in Colorado– on Blanca Peak that I couldn’t complete due to a thunderstorm– I came better prepared, and thanks to my lovely wife who dropped me off at the trailhead, I was able to get on the trail at around 4:15 AM.

 


 

Pikes Peak Marathon
The goal was visible from the trailhead in pitch black darkness – the light-streak under the moon is the summit house.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Beautiful sunrise about 2h into the run.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Slowly getting higher – the view back was breathtaking.

 


 

In the beginning, I took it very slow as it features very steep and long switchbacks which completely drain you if you go too hard on them. Also, you are just starting and you have to find your rhythm, so I walked most of the switchbacks. I had a little print out map with me, to see when the switchbacks are done so I could speed up and make some miles until it got steep again.

 


 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Out of the switchbacks, the sun light gave the trees and trail a fiery red glow.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Temperature was pretty low in the night and it got colder the more I climbed. When the sun came up, its warmth was very welcome.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
The first view of the mountain. Most of the trail goes through thick forest so you barely ever see Pikes Peak until you reach the treeline.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Getting out of the tree line. Interesting to see how much you already climbed that you don’t quite realize while walking in the forest.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Into the boulder fields above the treeline.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
The last part is very steep and the elavation makes breathing more difficult.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
The last switchbacks before the summit called the “Golden Stairs.”

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Summit!

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
I reached the top at around 9:11 AM.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Ascent time.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
The view down to the north-east.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
On the way back, the trail showed its real beauty. I didn’t see much of it going up as I ran most of it in darkness, focused on the ball of light of my headlamp.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
The long flat after Barr Camp was very draining in the sun.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
More trail beauty.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Awesome scenery on the whole trail.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Down the last switchbacks, back into Manitou Springs. I walked this part due to some knee pain.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon
Total trip time back at the trailhead. Pure running time should be about one hour less.

 

Pikes Peak Marathon

Here is what I took:

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2 COMMENTS
  • Try, try, try and Dream Big - Martin Drexler

    […] am at with my endurance and general power. I also ran Pikes Peak before in about 7 hours. I wrote a blog post about that. So considering the extra climbing gear and with it the weight, the rocky snowy terrain […]

  • Salomon Speedcross - An awesome trail runner with a flaw

    […] I’ve run in them, but I do know they’ve been with me for countless half marathons, the Pike’s Peak Marathon, countless trails and technical runs– at least three times a week over a 6-month time period. […]

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