February 25 2009, 9:43 AM
The old Ute tribe trails that go 20 miles up, down, and around Pikes Peak threaten visitors with sickness, lightning, hypothermia, rattlesnakes, and wild animals carrying bubonic plague. Matt Carpenter, though, runs the trail that rises 7,815 feet and crests 14,110 feet above sea level in about three hours, according to The New York Times. The 44-year-old runner is the "grand paladin of high-altitude distance running," having set records in 1993 for the Pikes Peak Ascent and the Pikes Peak Marathon. But in 2002, he seemed to be a star in decline. Then he got older, and returned to form, winning six races last year. The rail-thin Carpenter owes his prowess to physiology. His resting heart rate is just 33 beats a minute, which is lower than swimmer Michael Phelps and many astronauts. Be sure to watch the video that accompanies this story for additional details about Carpenter that are not contained in the article.