Sunday, August 17, 2008
Braden, Courtright finish Pikes Peak Ascent, MarathonThe Woodlands Running Club's Jim Braden has done the hard stuff before.
With eleven (11) Ironmans and two Western States Endurance Run finishes to his credit, Saturday's 7,815 foot climb to the summit of Pikes Peak might have been the most difficult of his eight career finishes.
Braden, who will turn 73 on August 31, made the 13-mile Ascent in four hours, eight minutes and 37 seconds (4:08:37).
He won his age group by a sheer two minutes and finished before the race was called off early due to weather at the Summit being in the 30s with "fog, sleet, grapple and wind."
It was Braden's first Ascent in six years after tuning up last month with a 14.5-mile Vail Half Marathon finish (in 2:54:31) that included approximately 4,000 feet of climbing with elevations ranging from 8,200 feet to a high point of 11,653 feet.
Braden's account will be available in The Woodlands Running Club's September edition of "Deer Tracks" at http://www.thewoodlandsrunningclub.org/.
Houston Masters Sports Association's Clark Courtright, 48, meanwhile hasn't met a race that he hasn't enjoyed.
A day after Braden's climb to the top of Pikes Peak, Courtright crested the Summit in 5:09:20 before making the descent in 4:11:16 to post a 9:20:36 marathon finish on Sunday.
He was one of 631 runners who finished what is considered to be the toughest marathons in the nation.