At today’s running of the 11th Annual WMRA World Long Distance Challenge at the Pikes Peak Ascent in Manitou Springs, Colorado, Team USA led the way with a one-two-three sweep in the women’s division for a combined finish of 7:49:49 with Allie McLaughlin posting one of the fastest times on record at 2:33:42. Teammate Morgan Arritola (third place at the 2012 World Mountain Running Championships) finished second, and this year’s Mount Washington Road Race winner Shannon Payne finished third. Mateja Kosovelj (SLO) was the first non-USA women’s finisher in fourth position with a time of 2:42:41 and helped secure a bronze medal for her team with a combined time of 8:54:35. Italy won the silver medal with Catherine Bertone posting the best finish for Italy with a time of 2:49:54.

Sage Canaday Wins Pikes Peak

On the men’s side, Sage Canaday raced to victory in 2:10:03 to lead USA to the gold medal with a combined time of 6:33:58. His teammates Andy Wacker and Eric Blake (last year’s Pikes Peak Ascent Champion), both ran under 2:13. Italy secured the team silver led by Tomasso Vacina in 2:13:59. The combined score for Italy was 6:55:36, while Germany posted 7:13:11 to take the bronze.
Early in the race, Wacker led taking the pace out at brisk 5:40 in the first mile which was on a paved roadway. His second mile, after reaching the trail, was 7:40 and his third slowed to over nine minutes as the steeper sections of the trail were reached. Wacker led for much of the way and was not overtaken until the final mile when Eritrean Azera Teklay took the lead. Canaday, running in third from the three-mile to the finish mark, ran a smart race from start to finish and passed Wacker 3/4 mile from the finish and Teklay, 1/2 mile from the finish.

Allie McLaughlin wins Pikes Peak (Photo by Pikes Peak Run)

McLaughlin, the petite runner from Colorado Springs who recently won the USA Mountain Running Championships, was leading the race as each of the splits was called in to officials. Payne ran a solid second place for much of the race while Arritola took the race out conservatively and didn’t make it into the top three until Barr Camp, the halfway point. Between Barr Camp and A-Frame (3 miles to the finish), Arritola overtook Payne and went on to finish second.

Womens Podium

The day was perfect for racing up the 13-plus miles from Manitou Springs to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak. At the 7AM start, temperatures were in the upper 50s and at the summit it was sunny and clear with no wind. Temperatures reached 45 degrees by the time Canaday reached the finish line.

Men's Podium

There were 19 countries represented in the Challenge with nine scoring men’s teams and seven  scoring women’s teams.
There was a short ceremony at the top of the mountain with race director Ron Ilgen presenting medals to the top three men and women and Tomo Sarf, WMRA delegate presenting flowers to the men and Jim Estes, USA Track & Field presenting flowers to the women. This ceremony will be followed by an evening ceremony to honor all of the competitors at 5PM.
Complete results are available at: http://pprrun.org/results/2014_results/PPATeams.txt.