Favre, Carpenter win SkyMarathons
Under a crystal clear Colorado sky Sunday morning, 110 runners from all over the world took to the trails, dirt roads and peaks near Ashcroft for the fifth annual U.S. Fila SkyMarathon and Half-SkyMarathon.
Matt Carpenter of Manitou Springs successfully defended his title in the SkyMarathon, covering the 24.5-mile course in 3:17:19, an improvement of nearly six minutes over his course-record time of last year.
Carpenter finished almost three minutes ahead of runner-up Ricardo Mejia of Mexico, who crossed the line in 3:20:15, and over seven minutes ahead of third-place finisher Jean Pellisier of Italy, who ran the course in 3:24:35.
The women’s winner of the SkyMarathon was Corinne Favre of France. Her time of 4:15:47 was a full six minutes faster than that of runner-up and defending champion Danelle Ballengee of Dillon.
The SkyMarathon course started where the pavement ends on Castle Creek Road and climbed five miles to the parking lot below Montezuma Basin.
There, the racers turned around and followed the road back down to the start, from where they climbed seven miles to the 13,434-foot summit of Taylor Peak.
Three miles of high-alpine tundra running brought the competitors to Taylor Pass, and from there 4.5 miles of downhill along Express Creek Road brought them to the finish line near the ghost town of Ashcroft.
The Half-SkyMarathon course was the same as the marathon course, minus the out-and-back to Montezuma Basin, which shortened the course to 14.4 miles.
The Half-SkyMarathon was won by Jeremy Wright of Laramie, Wyo., who completed the course in 1:56:48 to narrowly defeat Dan Vega of Colorado Springs, who crossed the finish line just two seconds later in second place. Third place went to Larry Helfant of Telluride with a time of 1:58:10.
The female winner of the Half-SkyMarathon was Wendy Harris-Shomion of Golden, who finished in 2:16:20, eight minutes ahead of runner-up Cindy O’Neill of Manitou Springs and her time of 2:24:22.
The third-place finisher among women was Kirsten Ames of Steamboat Springs with a time of 2:30:05.
Both races were part of the U.S. Skyrunning Circuit, which includes 21 events in eight states. In addition, the SkyMarathon served as the U.S. Skyrunning national championship. The events were sanctioned by the Federation of Sport at Altitude, which serves as the governing body for the sport.
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