Pikes Peak Marathon to include USA championship race

The Pikes Peak Marathon has been selected to host the 2013 USA Trail Marathon Championships.

It’s part of the USA Track and Field marathons and will operate like a race within a race, said Ron Ilgen, Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc. president. Members of the USA Track and Field can compete in the marathon along side the estimated 800 athletes that race up Pikes Peak each year.

The announcement was made Dec. 1 at USA Track and Field’s annual meeting in Daytona Beach, Fla., where the national championship events in several distances were determined.

“It’s a different style of course for us with unique challenges,” said Howard Nippert, vice chairperson of the USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council.  “It combines elevation and altitude with terrain variations from the fast start on the pavement to single-track terrain with rocks, scree and dirt trails.

“Add to the mix the world-class field and you have the perfect event to host our 2013 USA Marathon Trail Championships,” Nippert said. “We’re excited to see Pikes Peak join our lineup of events.”

The race will also be a part of the USATF Trail Series (sub-ultra), which will include the 10K Trail Championship in North Carolina, the U.S. Mountain Championship in New Hampshire, and the Half Marathon Championship in Moab, Utah. Series runners will be scored in each race entered, with up to three results counting toward their series total.

The Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent are internationally famous. This year, the races garnered more attention with additional prize money, including the $5,000 “Bounty” bonus. The marathon drew the endorsement of 2012 winner Kilian Jornet, one of the sport’s  biggest names in mountain running, who said it is one of the top three mountain races in the world.

“We are proud to include a USATF championship to our history of providing international mountain running competition such as our World Mountain Running Association and World Skyrunning Federation events,” Ilgen said. “This championship race adds to our tradition of having the Pikes Peak Marathon and Pikes Peak Ascent in the forefront of mountain running competition.”