While the runners in the Pikes Peak Ascent are having their fun, race fans will have the opportunity to see the finish at the summit of Pikes Peak. Here are some tips to help the day go smoothly.
The starter's pistol reports with a sharp crack and runners spring from the starting line in the Pikes Peak Ascent. You cheer for your runner as he or she begins the long climb to the summit of Pikes Peak. It's an exciting time for the families and friends of these brave athletes. But now what do you do? How do you get to the finish line at the top of a 14,115-foot mountain? And what can you expect from this experience? Here are some tips to help you reach the top of America's Mountain for a race finish you'll never forget.
The drive: To reach the Pikes Peak Highway, a beautiful 19-mile stretch of blacktop, travel west on Hwy. 24 to the little town of Cascade about 4.5 miles up Ute Pass. Look for the Pikes Peak Highway signs and turn left You'll have to pay to drive on this toll road. The cost is $15 per person ($5 for kids 6-15 years old.) Or $50 per vehicle (up to five people.) Drive to the Devil's Playground parking lot above timberline. We'll have a very efficient shuttle system (no additional cost) there to take you the final three miles to the summit. After your runner finishes and you've taken photos to share with generations to come, catch the shuttle back to Devil's Playground and and enjoy your slow drive down the mountain. Your runner may join you for the return trip (and regale you with tales from the trail, no doubt.) Pikes Peak Highway officials will check for over-heated brakes along the way. Better to be safe.
Weather: Bring some warm clothes. The summit has received dustings of snow the last few days, and the wind can make things difficult. Then again, Colorado's fickle weather patterns may deliver a beautiful day. Call 719-385-7325 and press 1 twice for weather/ road conditions. Attendants at the toll gate will also have updated reports. Bottom line, be prepared.
The altitude: The thin air that makes Pikes Peak a challenge for runners can also affect visitors. Nearly everyone will feel fine, if a bit light-headed. But altitude sickness is possible, and it can strike anyone. There is supplemental oxygen and medical help in the Summit House, just in case. The best remedy is returning to lower elevations.
The course: Visitors are free to roam about the summit area, or venture down the race course on Barr Trail. But watch out for runners coming up, and please stay clear of the immediate finish area as our race officials, timers, and the media have work to do there.
In-progress report: You'll be able to follow along from afar through our in-progress results. A link will be posted on our home website later this week and information will be appear early as the runners cross multiple split locations. Once the race if over, the same link will display the final results.
Marathon: You may drive to the summit to watch runners make the turn in the Pikes Peak Marathon. A shuttle ride is not required, but you will have to pay the toll gate fees. (See prices above.) The marathon finishes at the corner of Manitou Ave. and Ruxton Ave. in Manitou Springs.
Good things to know
Race coverage: Keep an eye on our online magazine PikesPeakSports.us for race coverage, including stories, photos and video.
Your race photos: MarathonFoto will be there to capture your images. Smile for the camera and check out your personal photo gallery after the race. Visit: http://bit.ly/2rUjpFQ.
The Pikes Peak Run Fest & Expo: Don't forget the Pikes Peak Run Fest, the best runners' party this side of the Mississippi, 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, at Memorial Park in Manitou Springs. The Expo runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, and noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday. We hope to see you there!