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2012 Pikes Peak Marathon Starting Line

So, I ran the Pikes Peak Marathon for the first time in 1993. I was 19. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Sure, I ran cross-country in high school, but I’d never run a marathon, let alone the fabled “Toughest Race In America.” I spent the spring before rock climbing and mountain biking, figuring I had all summer to train for the race. June rolled around. It was two months before the race. I started my training. I lived in Colorado Springs, so I’d bike to Barr Trail once or twice a week and run up the trail as far as my legs would take me.

About a month and half in, I was able to run to Barr Camp, about 7 miles up the trail and back. Not bad, I thought. A couple more weeks of training and I should be able to make it to the A-Frame at treeline for a roundtrip run of 20 miles. Then one day, the first week of August, I got hit by a car while biking home from the trail. Nothing broke, but my knees, hips and elbows were covered in road rash. On August 22nd, I went and ran the Pikes Peak Marathon anyway. It was toughest thing I’d ever done. My scabs from the car accident opened up and blood trickled down my legs. After reaching the summit at 14,110 feet (fun fact: it’s since been re-measured at 14,115 feet) I fell two or three time descending, further tearing open my wounds.

I kept pulling myself up and pushed through to the finish line in 5 hours and 56 minutes. Slow for a regular marathon. Not bad for Pikes Peak. It got me first place in my age category. I vowed never to run again.

22 years later I am of course running again. I could only quit for so long. I guess it’s in my blood or something, because here I am at the age of 41 looking to revisit the past and take on my old friend, Pikes Peak, no doubt keeping a more watchful eye out for cars. In the meantime, watch the video above for a little inspiration from wild man Kilian Jornet killing it on Pikes Peak in 2012. It reminds me of watching Matt Carpenter in 1993 blow past me to win the race that year. Let the fun begin!


See all my results for the Pikes Peak Marathon here.

Steve Lemig

Steve Lemig is the founder of Wilderdad. He's been a lot of things over the years. Skateboarder. Mountain biker. Climber. Snowboarder. Bike mechanic. Forest firefighter. Woodworker. Creative director. These days he's a runner, writer, husband, and father. He writes stories to empower dads and encourage them to share outdoor adventures with their kids as a tool to strengthen families and build respect for the environment. He has also been the Communications Director at Road Runner Sports for the last 13 years.