Saturday, August 24, 2019

Carpenter's Pikes Peak Record May Fall

Carpenter - in the switchbacks near the summit
It's Pikes Peak weekend - not that I'll be in Manitou Springs to run. Pikes is a crazy race and it is the trail running test piece in the central rockies. Steve Gachupin and Senovio Torres made names for themselves on that climb and held the age-group records for years until Matt Carpenter showed up and cleared the board. His top mark, un-threatened now for more than 25yrs, is 3hr 16.5min.

This weekend spaniard Kilian Jornet plans to be on the line for Sunday's marathon to challenge this storied mark and hoist his name to the top. Running friends in Colorado have been discussing this topic for weeks, a serious record attempt by a champion runner, this could go. Jornet is the toughest trail runner the world has seen though he generally specializes in grueling all-day distances and technical courses at high degrees of difficulty. Pikes Peak is relatively short and manicured in comparison (26mi w/ 7.6K of climbing and descent).

The biggest hurdle in a race this short will be familiarity with the trail and whether he can piece together the footing sequences on the ascent to match Carpenter's turn-around time. The top runners will wire these tight sections to memory then surge through during the race to break their chasers. It will be equally necessary for a serious run at the record. Seems very silly to cast doubt on Jornet but I just don't think he can match peak-Carpenter on the climb, I do think he can get it done somehow with a screaming descent, perhaps strong enough to nick 10-20sec from the standard. All very exciting for a niche event that has seen some of the best come and go and gotten nowhere close to Carpenter's mastery of this climb. Toughest trail record their is.

Related Posts:
 - The Tough Guy List
 - Pikes Ascent - Race Report

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