Tyree competes in Pikes Peak Ascent
On Saturday, August 18th, longtime Butler County runner, Ronnie Tyree, traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado to compete in the Pikes Peak Ascent. The race, slightly longer than a half-marathon, challenges runners to ascend to the summit of Pikes Peak (14,115 feet) by running up dirt trails and over rock and other natural obstacles, with a total vertical gain of almost 8,000 feet. The average grade of the slope is 11%, with some sections being much steeper. The first three miles are very steep, the next 7 miles is rolling terrain, with the last 3+ miles being increasingly steep, with runners scrambling over rocks to reach the summit. Temperatures are also dropping 30-50 degrees from the start to the summit. Further compounding the uphill race is the limited oxygen levels. For the last few miles, runners are above tree line, with oxygen levels almost half of what we have here in Kentucky.
When asked, Tyree said the Pikes Peak Ascent was “one of the most grueling courses I’ve ever run.” And as with most races, he wasn’t thrilled with his time, but realizes the great disadvantage of not being able to train for months in the high altitude. Tyree, and his youngest son, Jordan, traveled to Colorado in late July to hike and train, and he has also been training with a special oxygen-limiting mask. However, as Tyree stated, “There’s just nothing like being able to spend months training on the mountain, getting your body used to the terrain and the high altitude oxygen levels.”
Tyree has been an avid runner since he competed on the Butler County High School track team in the 1980s, but his passion has increased over the last few years, as he has overcome injuries and setbacks. Just in the last two years, Tyree has competed in eight full-length marathons and dozens of half marathons, ten milers, and even a 50-kilometer trail run through Indiana. To qualify to enter the Pikes Peak Ascent, Tyree had to complete a full length marathon in less than 3:45. His full marathon time was 3:43. He also had to finish a half-marathon in less than 1:45. He completed his qualifying race in just 1:36. Because of these qualifying times, Tyree was eligible to begin the race as part of the first wave of runners at the Pikes Peak Ascent. Congratulations, Ronnie!