Forte, Kida are the ones to beat in Pier to Peak Half Marathon

Eric Forte and Sara Kida will be looking to repeat their peak performances as champions of the laborious Pier to Peak Half-Marathon footrace on Sunday

The annual Labor Day weekend run from the Friendship Dolphins Fountain at Stearns Wharf to Lookout Park on La Cumbre Peak — a climb of nearly 4,000 feet — is not for the faint at heart.

Runners who have completed the strength-zapping climb on Gibraltar Road to East Camino Cielo will tell you the event is not only taxing physically but it’s a mental test, as well.

Forte and Kida (formerly Sara Dillman) have shown they have the mettle and fitness to tackle and excel in a race that bills itself as the “World’s Toughest Half Marathon.”

Kida is going for her third straight title. Last year, she and seven other runners missed a turnaround point and ran off course. Luckily for her, she realize something wasn’t right about a mile off the beaten track and was able to turnaround and still be the first woman finisher.

Forte blazed up the course in 1 hour, 35 minutes. 06 seconds to win for the second time in three years. He didn’t race in 2008.

Forte, who regularly rides his bike up the steep grade of Gibraltar, calls Pier to Peak is his favorite race.

To beat the heat of the day, the race starts at 6:30 a.m.