March 18, 2013

Pikes Peak Marathon Medal     Photo: Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent

Pikes Peak Marathon Announces Drug Tests

First U.S. trail race with testing

Contestants in the 2013 Pikes Peak Marathon and Pikes Peak Ascent will be subject to drug testing after the event. The United States Anti-Doping Agency will randomly select six of the top ten finishers in the 26.2-mile marathon and four of the top ten finishers in the 13-mile ascent and administer tests. It is the first United States trail race to announce drug testing.

"We have some very famous records for our races, and when these records are broken, like they were last year, we want people to know they're done legitimately," Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent president Ron Ilgene told KRDO.

Athletes will receive their prize money after the test results have been returned, no later than six weeks after the race. The winners of the marathon receive $3,000 and the winners of the ascent win $2,000, though winners may receive higher amounts if they break course records.

“Unfortunately, when more money is involved, the suspicion does arise and people do things to make money,” three-time winner of the Pikes Peak Ascent Simon Gutierrez told Colorado Runner. “With the big prize money at Pikes Peak I think most of mountain runners will feel positive about it.”

For more, read "Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent Will Test for Performance-Enhancing Drugs in 2013 Events" in Colorado Runner.


    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Wildfire Season Off to an Early Start

Blazes in Colorado and Great Smoky Mountains

Wildfire season is off to a roaring start this year as two large blazes have already caused hundreds of evacuations and damages. In the Great Smoky Mountains, a 200-acre fire that began Sunday evening has destroyed at least 30 rental cabins at the Pigeon Forge resort area of Sevier County, and forced the evacuation of 200 people. No serious injuries were reported.

The second fire, west of Fort Collins, Colorado, began on a dry, windy Friday night and has so far destroyed between 750 and 1,000 acres of land. Officials said that the fire was “75 percent contained” as of Monday morning and have allowed the several hundred evacuees to begin returning to their homes. The fire is suspected to have been caused by human activity.

Colorodans are likely hoping that these early fires are not a sign of another rough season. Last year, a dry winter led to a historic wildfire season that destroyed over 200,000 acres and 600 homes. “We’ve even had larger fires in January and February,” Poudre Fire Authority Captain Patrick Love told the Los Angeles Times. “But the drought that we have been in, in this portion of the state, has somewhat played a role in the dryness of all the fuels.”

Read about how to protect yourself from wildfires.


    Photo: Henry Flower/Flickr

Men Charged in Cycling Tourist Rape in India

Woman and husband were camping

Authorities have arrested six men in connection to the rape of a Swiss woman who was on a cycling tour with her husband in Madhya Pradesh, India. The men are believed to all be between 20 and 25 years old and from a local Indian tribe. According to deputy inspector general of police D. K. Arya, all six have confessed to the crime.

From the Washington Post:

The 39-year old Swiss woman and her husband were traveling by bicycle Friday to the city of Agra, site of the renowned 17th-century marble mausoleum the Taj Mahal. The couple pitched a tent in a jungle off the highway after sunset to rest during the night. But a group of men circled them, raped the woman, beat the husband with wooden sticks and stole their laptop, cell phone, and cash.

Arya said police had recovered the stolen laptop and some cash from the men.

While the prevalence of rape in India has recently received significant media attention—see the story of a 23-year-old student who died after being gang raped on a bus in December—some government officials have attempted to shift the blame to the tourists, suggesting that “nobody goes into these jungles in the night” and that the Swiss couple should have informed police of their plans.

The woman and her husband have since left Madhya Pradesh for the Swiss embassy in Delhi.


A view of Chamonix Valley.     Photo: Fermion/Flickr

Father and Son Die Hiking in Chamonix

Snowy conditions made the trail treacherous

A British man and his son died while hiking in the French Alps near Chamonix this weekend. Peter Saunders, 48, and his 12-year-old son, Charlie, were hiking the Couloir des Bossons in the Mont-Blanc range on Saturday. The popular trail can be slippery and hard to follow this time of year. Authorities believe that the son slipped and fell and that his father fell while trying to search for him.

The rescue centre at Annecy received a brief call from the father at around 3 p.m. on Saturday, saying that his son had fallen and disappeared.

"He said he could no longer see him and couldn't get to him," said Captain Patrice Ribes, the deputy commander of the mountain rescue gendarmerie at Chamonix.

"We think the father tried to find his son after he called us and asked for rescue. We believe he fell as he tried to find his son."

While officers are still investigating the circumstances, Captain Patrice Ribes of the mountain rescue gendarmerie of Chamonix said that the pair might have mistaken the trail. "They could have got lost, because in winter you can't see the path because it disappears under the snow as it crosses the corridors and one can very easily fall," said Ribes. "It's a slide of snow and ice, with rocky ledges at regular intervals and if you don't have crampons or icepicks, it's impossible to stop."

He said the pair had been equipped for a day walk, with "trekking-type shoes with tread soles that are not suitable for a snow- and ice-covered winter mountain."

Via The Guardian


Lake Louise Ski Resort.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Lake Louise Skier Stuck in Crevasse

Weather hampers rescue

Bad weather over the weekend stymied rescuers' efforts to reach a skier stuck in a crevasse near Lake Louise, Alberta. The victim, a man from British Columbia, was skiing the popular Wapta Traverse with two other people when he fell. His companions immediately triggered their emergency beacon, but crews were unable to respond because of heavy snow and avalanche risk.

The two remaining skiers were evacuated on Friday, Parks Canada said, but as of Sunday crews had still not reached the fallen skier. While the man's beacon is transmitting, authorities don't know whether he's alive or if the beacon is still attached to him.