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Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc. is taking steps to ensure that all runners go the distance ... the same distance.

 From the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon

Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc. has announced that a three-member jury of appeals will be in place to handle any race-day issues affecting runners, including course cutting, unsportsmanlike conduct, and prize money awards at the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon races, Aug. 18-19 in Manitou Springs.

“Even though rules and regulations at the Pikes Peak events are very specific, there is always a chance that runners misinterpret them,” Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc. President Ron Ilgen said. “We want to provide a forum whereby any course infractions can be reviewed and considered thoughtfully and thoroughly before a runner is disqualified from the event.”

While the inclusion of a jury of appeals is not groundbreaking, for instance the World Mountain Running Championships includes in its regulationsa requirement that a jury of appeals be appointed, the majority of mountain and trail running events do not have an appointed jury.

USA Track & Field(USATF), the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States, has several published documents regarding meet personnel, referees, and jury of appeals for events they administer or sanction. Although mountain and trail running falls under the umbrella of long distance running, many of the events staged in the U.S. are not sanctioned by USATF and therefore operate with their own rules, regulations, or guidelines.

As more prize money is introduced into trail and mountain running events, there is more at stake than just a finisher medal. This year, the top runners at Pikes Peak could win as much as $54,000.

“With athletes vying for a share of an increased prize purse this year, we want to insure that rules are adhered to and everyone in the race is competing on a level playing field,” Ilgen said.

Just a few weeks ago, the Speedgoat 50Kmountain race had an issue with a top runner reported to have cut the course. Without a jury in place, race director Karl Meltzer had to make a tough decision affecting the outcome of the race and the awarding of prize money. It was a ‘live and learn’ experience and something Meltzer doesn’t want to repeat in the future. He agreed that a referee in place at the event would have made the decision a lot easier.

Infractions that could result in disqualification include course cutting, impeding another runner’s progress (uphill runners must yield to faster downhill runners), unsportsmanlike conduct, and taking oxygen prior to the completion of the race.

Event festivities kick off with a press conference and reception for media and athletes  at 1 p.m. Thursday, August 16, at Manitou Springs City Hall. The event is open to the public. The race expo and packet pickup begins at 9 a.m. Friday, August 17, at Memorial Parkin Manitou Springs.

The Pikes Peak Ascent start time for the first wave of runners is 7 a.m. on Saturday, August 18, with the second wave heading up the mountain at 7:30 a.m. The culminating event, the Pikes Peak Marathon, will start at 7 a.m. on Sunday, August 19. Follow the Pikes Peak races as they unfold on Twitter @runpikespeak.

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