Barb Calder-Durbin of Lincoln, Neb. has perhaps the biggest responsibility of any volunteer at this weekend’s Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. She makes sure every racer has a chance to pee before the start of the race.
With a line a block long, competitors begin to worry they may miss the start. Calder-Durbin, a volunteer at the races since 1995, makes sure, very sure, they do not. Part cheerleader, part drill sergeant and all energy, she yells out when each porta potty is vacated, gesturing to the next in line where to go and urging them to keep the line moving.
She was asked to find volunteers for the role four years ago and gladly assumed the responsibility. She stepped forward in 1995 when the race organizers were struggling to get enough fruit to the aid stations on the mountain and at the marathon finish line.
“They had a need and I had a solution,” she said. “After running out the years before, they had extra fruit leftover and they decided they wanted to keep me on as a volunteer.”
She has been one ever since, setting up her vacation so she can make the annual trip out West.
Ascent rookies savor the finish after grueling experience
Cincinnati’s Lee Southwood expected a stern challenge while running the 2012 Pikes Peak Ascent on Saturday the minute he arrived at the Denver International Airport on Friday.
“I started breathing hard when I stepped off the plane in Denver,” the 22-year-old Ascent rookie said. “By that last aid station I was ready to black out. I knew this was high up but I didn’t realize how much it really is. That is what got me.”
Although more acclimated to the elevation, Carlos Rusbal, 25, of Colorado Springs knew he was in for a tough morning, especially after training little of late because of a recurring Achilles tendon injury.
“My body forgot how to run hard,” he said after finishing the 13.32-mile course in 2 hours, 42 minutes. “I knew from the beginning it was going to be tough but my Achiles did not start to hurt until Barr Camp. I had fun and it was good to be out there.”
Aurora’s Peter Scoffin, 26, was happy it was over. He celebrated the finish with a cigarette and a beer, posing for pictures with friends and putting an unlit cigarette in his mouth as he crossed the finish line.
“I love beer and cigarettes so I wanted to finish with both,” he said. “I run to keep off the beer gut. I did it, so this is my first and last time.”
A Scottish fashion statement on America’s Mountain
Ascent rookie Greg “Cracked Pipe” Eason of Little Rock, Ark. stood out from the crowd while waiting for the first wave start Saturday morning thanks to his blue, black and green kilt. The member of the Hash House Harriers wore the tartan because the national group registered the pattern in Scotland, Colorado Springs resident Mike “Piggus” Shafer said.
Thankfully, Eason took measures to avoid chafing.
“No dangly bits today,” he said pulling up his kilt to reveal white tights. “After two miles, it would be pretty painful.”
Men’s bounty remains attainable goal
The racers atop the summit were abuzz Saturday after women’s champion Kim Dobson obliterated the course record (2:33:31 set in 1981) and the 2 hour, 32-minute bounty mark with a time of 2:24:58 to collect the race’s $5,000 bonus only a month after the prize was announced.
The men’s mark of 2 hours remains a lofty goal but one that will require considerable dedication and training atop Pikes Peak, the men’s top finishers all agreed, especially considering that champion Jason Delaney’s winning time was 2:13:18.
“This race is very challenging unless they are here (on the mountain) all summer,” said Colorado Springs resident Ryan Hafer, who placed third. “They can’t do it otherwise.”