Mountain Runner Andy Wacker made a brave attempt at breaking Matt Carpenter's Incline record on Friday, but came up short on a hot morning. Flanked by members of Team Colorado, who helped clear a path through hundreds of Incline hikers. Wacker charged to the Incline's summit in 19 minutes, 59 seconds.
"Well, that felt horrible," he said. "I'm just trashed. You have to be fresh. I ran U.S. Mountain champs (last week) and ran up Longs Peak (14,259 feet) two days ago. That was probably a bad idea. I couldn't recover in time."
The scene at the summit was jovial as Brandon Stapanowich, Zach Miller, Alex Nichols, Allie McLaughlin, Brent Bailey and Pete Maksimow rolled in shortly after Wacker. An abandoned mile-long railway bed that ascends 2,000 feet above Manitou Springs, the Incline is a popular challenge for elite runners, Olympic athletes, soldiers and daydreamers of all stripes.
Carpenter, the 12-time Pikes Peak Marathon winner, clocked an 18:31. While many consider that the best time ever recorded on the Incline, former pro triathlete Mark Fretta has also claimed the record, insisting that he finished in 16:42 in 2006. About five years later, Fretta was suspended from competition for four years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for "variations in his blood profile."
So who really has the record? It depends on who you believe. Members of Team Colorado have indicated that they chose to recognize Carpenter's mark.
Wacker said he wasn't finished trying. "I'm going to keep going until I get it," he said.