MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. – The story that led to the Pikes Peak Marathon’s new logo began with the mountain itself, the magical sky scraping peak that marks the end of the Great Plains and the beginning of the Rocky Mountains. It includes a history of mining, auto racing, climbing, and the personal experiences of thousands of runners who have tested themselves on the mountain’s rugged flanks.
Sixty years ago, 16 men lined up in front of the Cog Railway building in Manitou Springs and ran to the top of Pikes Peak and back, completing the first Pikes Peak Marathon. Since then, the race has become world renowned as the toughest marathon and one of the must-do bucket list running races in the world. Along with its growth in notoriety and popularity, the race organization has changed and adapted accordingly, and enters a new phase as a professional business entity known for staging five high-quality running events.
As it celebrates its 60th anniversary, the Pikes Peak Marathon is rolling out this new logo – its own unique mark – that will help carry Pikes Peak’s story around the world and into the future. “It is time to upgrade our image to more accurately reflect the races’ significance and impact to the running community, the local community, and the state of Colorado,” said Ron Ilgen, President of Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc. “We are using the 60th anniversary as a milestone in which to take the races and the organization to a higher professional level in terms of business, operations, customer/runner service and marketing.”
Design Rangers, owned by Chris and Jenny Schell, was tasked with creating the new logo. Jenny spent part of her childhood in Manitou Springs, where the marathon begins and ends. Her father, the late Joe Bealis, was a Pikes Peak Runner.
“It was exciting to get the call and learn that we had been chosen to create the new logo,” she said. “I get a little teary thinking about it. I know my dad would be super proud. That means a lot to me.”
Motivated by her own personal history, Jenny and the Design Rangers collaborated with Ilgen’s race staff to create the new logo. She said the project was challenging.
“I think we were looking to create a mark that not only Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs and Colorado could rally around and feel connected to, but something that racers around the world can feel proud to wear on their medals and shirts,” Jenny said. “It was definitely a lot of pressure.” Ilgen, who became president of the race organization in 2002, has made several progressive changes over the years.
The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon were the first mountain races in the U.S. to install drug testing, and he created the “Bounty” prize money structure that awards runners for running under set times in the Pikes Peak Ascent, or the ascent portion of the Pikes Peak Marathon. Kim Dobson claimed a $5,000 bounty prize in 2012 when she crushed the women’s race record by more than eight minutes. Ilgen is determined to maintain the Pikes Peak Marathon’s stature as one of the world’s great running events. Creating the new logo was part of the plan.
“We are excited to stand in the same company as other famous national and international races. Our organizational growth and changes are to ensure that we continue to do so,” he said.
If you would like high-resolution copies of the logo, please contact Mary Baldwin, Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc., office manager, at [email protected].