In a surprise announcement, Lance Armstrong has announced that he will add the Pikes Peak Marathon to his 2009 race schedule.

“Time for me to step up” he said, before a hastily gathered crowd of reporters. “The New York City Marathon is flat after all. Too easy. I need more of a challenge”. While the gathered correspondents were still temporarily stunned, His Supreme Fitness quickly added, “Plus, I’m just sick of this biking thing. One guy screws up, ten other guys go down, and I break my collarbone”, he said, voice becoming more stern, in an apparent reference to the bad crash that took him out of the Vuelta a Castilla y León last weekend. “That really sucked”. Reporters remained skeptical, noting that he has raced bicycles for 17 years. “Yeah, and look what I have to show for it!” The World’s Most Tested Human rolled up his shirtsleeve, and reporters gasped at the chicken tracks up and down his arm, worse than a Harlem addict. Is this what made him decide to switch to mountain running? “I was sitting in my living room at 10 pm the other night, about to score with another beautiful, young, would-be starlet, when two guys burst in wearing white lab coats carrying an armful of needles and vials”. “You figure it out. Sort of ruins the mood, ya know?”

Reaction from the mountain running community was generally positive.

Nancy Hobbs, Chairperson of the MUT Committee, said, “All I care is that he pay his USATF dues.” Richard Bolt, Mens Manager for the Teva US Mountain Running Team said, “This is great; someone like Lance could bring a lot more money into the sport. Well, like, any money at all”. Scott Elliot, contacted in between his 89th and 90th consecutive day of training by running up Bear Peak outside of Boulder, Colorado, was also positive. “That’s great news. I’d be happy to offer him my training schedule. Of course, it’s only one sentence long.”

Initial hopes that someone like Lance Armstrong, regarded as one of the greatest athletes in the world, would bring added prestige to the sport of trail and mountain running, were tempered by the more experienced voices in the community.

The Managing Editor of Runners World Magazine, said in a prepared Statement, “As you’ve seen, we don’t acknowledge trail running as a viable sport, because the participants don’t seem particularly concerned about losing 5 pounds, or recipes for healthy 3-Bean Salad. However, this news may change our editorial policies. Do you think he’s available for a cover photo, wearing no shirt, looking like an imbecile, and with a moronic grin on his face?” Adam Chase, Trail Editor for Running Times, was much more positive. “Lance rules!” he exclaimed. “He’s the toughest and the best competitor in any sport, ever.” “If I can get Lance as my partner, instead of the usual stunning babe I somehow manage to come up with, not only can I solicit free entry into still another multi-day vacation junket-cum-”race”, but I might be able to win one of them.” The Editorial Staff at Trail Runner Magazine was more circumspect. They had never heard of Lance Armstrong. “If it has something to do with actual competition, we don’t know anything about it.”

The comments that everyone were waiting for however, were those of Matt Carpenter. The King of the Mountain himself, Matt is a 15 time winner on Pikes Peak (6 Ascents, 9 Marathons) and the course record holder of both. “I always have really encouraged competition, and welcome this news. Lance is incredible. His VO2 Max is almost as high as mine. His will to win is terrific and he’s known as a ferocious competitor – almost, but not quite, as fierce as mine. If I enter – which I’m not saying I am and not saying I’m not – and won’t disclose until the last possible minute – it could be a good race.”

Rumors that Michael Jordan was considering making a comeback by entering Pikes Peak could not be confirmed at press time.