World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge 2014, Pikes Peak, Colorado
by Chris Stirling
“There’s a reason trees don’t bother growing above 12000ft on Pikes Peak. They can’t!”
On the 16th Aug at 7.30am a team of four men will be representing NIMRA and Northern Ireland at this prestigious event. The team is Justin Maxwell (Team Captain), Ian Bailey, Peter Bell and Chris Stirling.
What awaits them is a 13.2 miles of uphill running with 2382m (7815ft) of ascent. The sting in the tail is that the race finishes at 4302m (14115ft) above sea level. At this sort of height the team will have to cope with around 40% less oxygen than at sea level. To give an idea how tough this event is, Joss Naylor raced the marathon here in 1975 and finished 6th, but was over 40mins behind the eventual winner Rick Trujillo on the ascent. As Ian pointed out, it was probably far too short for him but it gives you the idea. Unfortunately NIMRA could not stretch to hypoxic chambers or high altitude training camps but the team have been training hard and getting plenty of climbing in the legs (triple Donard anyone??) ready to take on this brutal race.