During my ascent above A frame, I was following 2-3 other men when I saw a runner cutting a significant switchback. Not just any runner but one of the leading female runners. She was wearing a bright orange top. As she was cutting the switchback I wasnít able to read the number on her bib, however, when she came back around below us I was able to clearly see the bib # attached to her leg. I yelled her number out loud to my fellow runners.
I did not report the incident when I reached the summit or when I finished. Quite frankly I had trouble remembering my own name let alone something which occurred on the course. The next morning when I saw the winnerís picture in the paper and read that she only won by 19 seconds (and was behind the leader by a significant amount at the summit) I felt obligated to report her course violation and immediately emailed the race officials. They respectfully questioned why I didnít come forward after the race and before the awards ceremony and that furthermore I didnít have anyone to corroborate my story.
Later that day I decided to post a generic description of what happened on the message board (without leading descriptors) in the hope that one of the other men I was running with would read it and come forward to verify the incident. Ciro Ortega read my post and came forward with a second description of the same event indicating that this was an intentional detour. (Note: Ciro Ortegaís A-frame and summit time are within one minute of my own.) Since my description of events was now corroborated by another runner I waited to be contacted by the race officials.
Thank you Mr. Ortega for coming forward, I appreciate your support and I agree with your views as posted. I believe that there should have been further investigation of this incident after you verified the incident. Iím pleased that the race officials will be adding more course marshals to the course next year.
This incident did not spoil my experience participating in the Pikes Peak Marathon. It was an excellent event Ė well organized and full of wonderful support! I only pursued posting a description of this situation as it was most unfair to the other top finishers.