Started in 1956 as a battle between smokers & non-smokers, Pike's Peak is the 3rd longest running marathon in the US. It's a classic, so any runner who wants this kind of pain is looking to enter. The race director requires exacting qualifying standards and if you meet them, the race fills up almost instantly. Refer to the race website
for all related details.
Though the race is staffed with generous aid stations, plan your energy needs accordingly & be smart about layering protection as you might encounter all manner of alpine conditions. Though the trail is seldom exposed, falls due to fatigue / tripping on the descent are common & can cause injury. Speaking from experience on the latter count!
The course couldn't be more straightforward. Start in front of City Hall on Manitou Ave in downtown Manitou Springs, turn on to the Barr Trail
after 1.6 miles & a punch it more than 7,000 to the top of a legendary 14er! Pace yourself through the pine forest to the A-frame at 10 miles. From here's it's down to the business of ascending the final 2,000' up Pikes Peak's East Face. Hopefully, you've saved enough juice, or these switchbacks are going to feel eternal with delirious tears a near certainty.
Turn around and let your legs carry you down the hill to the finish in Manitou Springs!
Want more details? Who better to ask than Matt Carpenter. He holds the stunning course record of 3:16:39 and took the title in 10 Pike's Peak Marathons. He knows every step of the course & offers a wealth of detail on his website