In an effort to add excitement and prestige to the Aug. 19 marathon and the Aug. 18 Ascent, organizers have increased cash prizes. One good run in the marathon could pay up to $14,000.
The board of directors has been working this year to secure the prize money from new race sponsors.
“We call the marathon America’s Ultimate Challenge,” said Ron Ilgen, Pikes Peak Marathon Inc. president. “We should offer prize money befitting an event that is famous on an international and national level. And we think our local running community deserves to host and enjoy these kinds of events. Our prize money structure will help us grow this event in terms of sponsorships and competition.”
The Ascent Bounty works like this: The first male to complete the Ascent, or Ascent portion of the Pikes Peak Marathon in under two hours will win $5,000. The first female to eclipse 2:32 wins the same.
In addition, there will be a Pikes Peak Ascent course record award of $2,000 for the first male and first female to break the records of 2:01:06 and 2:33:31, respectively. If the course record is broken by running under two hours, the runner will receive the $5,000 Bounty bonus only.
The top four Pikes Peak Ascent cash awards male and female will be doubled to: first place, $2,000; second place, $1,200; third place, $600; and fourth place, $200.
And the Ascent Challenge – $1,000 for the fastest Pikes Peak Ascent time in either the Ascent or Marathon – remains in place.
Any male or female runner in the Pikes Peak Ascent could win as much as $8,000.
In the Pikes Peak Marathon, the first male and female runners to break the course record 3:16:39 and 4:15:18 will win $4,000. This prize incentive includes runners who may have also won the Pikes Peak Ascent Bounty.
And marathon prize money has doubled to: first place, $3,000, second place, $1,200, third place, $600; and fourth place, $200.
In addition, the Skyrunner organization is donating $1,000 for the first-place male and first-place female in the marathon.
This year, a field that includes 2012 U.S. Mountain Running Champions Sage Canaday and Kim Dobson, 2011 World Mountain Running Champions Max King and Kasie Enman, and other top runners will make competition tough.
It will be difficult to capture the Bounty times, said Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the American Trail Running Association and veteran runner of the Pikes Peak races.
“It will be major-league difficult,” Hobbs said. “But there are athletes out there that could do it, whether or not they are coming to the Ascent and Marathon this year is another story. But there are athletes out there that could earn that bounty, without question.”