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Two from Lee's Summit conquer Pikes Peak
Two from Lee's Summit conquer Pikes Peak
August 23, 2014
By Wendy Hayworth
It was the day after New Year’s, 2006, and the gyms were filled with resolution hopefuls. Among them was 42-year-old Greg Emery, Lee’s Summit resident and co-owner of the Carpe Diem Trading Company and a guy just wanting to get back in shape.
“[I] decided that the only people that really looked like they were in shape, in the gym that I was at, were people who were running on the treadmills and decided, literally at that moment, that I needed to be doing that also,” Emery said.
Emery began simple. For two months he got on the treadmill and walked. Soon he began to run. He started at a mile, each week running a little further until he was running three to four miles at a time.
“I started to feel a lot better and after about three or four months I decided to do my first run, which was a 10K, and it kind of started from there,” Emery said.
The 10K was not enough. Emery wanted to challenge himself further, so he ran a half marathon, and then a full marathon.
“I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Emery said. “I ended up going to Huston and ran my first marathon with my very good high school friend who ran with me the whole time. He really helped me get through that first marathon.”
A marathon is commonly described as a “20 mile run followed by the 10K from hell.” Most training programs go up to 20 miles. The last six miles of a marathon are survived by willpower and adrenaline.
Emery finished his first marathon with a time of 4:28:29.
Always looking for a bigger challenge, Emery then set his eyes on Pikes Peak a 13.32-mile long marathon with a 7,815 vertical gain. When it comes to Pikes Peak, the rule of thumb is to take one’s average marathon time and double it.
“I was getting ready to turn 50 this year and I really wanted to pick a marathon that was really difficult and Pikes is supposed to be one of the most difficult to do. I wanted to pick one that would force me to really have to train hard, harder than I’ve ever had to train,” Emery said.
To prepare, Emery boosted his normal routine with legwork and hill training.
Pikes Peak hosts unique challenges to the runners. Running up the mountain becomes a fast hike. Those who have already reached the top and are on their way back down, have the right-of-way. This means that runners on their way up would often have to stop to let the others pass.
“On that mountain, there’s not a lot of places to go. Sometimes you’re either jamming yourself into boulders or you’re standing on the edge of a rock,” Emery said.
Emery’s strategy was to stay hydrated in between the H-Stations. At each station he would fill the water bottle he carried with him, drink a lot of Gatorade, and hydrate himself until he reached the next station.
“It’s beautiful, the scenery is fantastic and you really just want to look at where you’re at. That’s when you make a mistake and you can get hurt pretty quickly,” Emery said.
Emery completed his first Pikes Peak Marathon in 8 hrs & 38 mins.
“I really finished strong,” Emery said. “I turned the final corner and there was the finish line, there was my wife and my parents cheering for me and it was really a pretty neat moment for me. I really did feel a sense of accomplishment.”
After conquering the mountain, Emery is far from done. He plans to continue running marathons this fall and hopes to return to Pikes Peak next year.
“I had a good day and I guess I just want to go out and have a better day,” Emery said.
Pikes Peak Marathon ~ the trail to the Summit and back.
The marathon is 26.21 miles long.
The start line, 6,300 feet above sea level. The summit of Pikes Peak is at approximately 14,115 feet above sea level. Pikes Peak has the greatest elevation rise from base to summit in Colorado.
Sean Ahern of Lee's Summit finished his Pikes Peak Ascent at 411th out of 1689 runners with a time of 3:48:47. He finished his 5th Pikes Peak Marathon at 5:21:20, #239th out of 742 runners, this is Ahern's 4th Doubler.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/LSTribune for additional photos of Greg Emery and Sean Ahern during the 2014 Pikes Peak Marathon.
Character Patrol - Christopher Gerding