Mount Marathon News

2023 Logo Contest Winner Announced!

Danielle Sukhlall of Fairbanks is the winner of the 2023 Mount Marathon logo contest.

Her entry depicts five runners atop a whale with a steep mountain behind them. The Mount Marathon Race Committee chose it as their favorite among 23 entries.

The logo will be used on the 2023 racer and volunteer t-shirts, on this year’s patch and for other promotional purposes.

Sukhlall discovered the contest somewhat by chance.

“I was looking on the (Mount Marathon) website to find more information on how to sign up to volunteer,” Sukhlall said. “While I was looking at the website I came across the logo contest. I was so excited! I love graphic design so I saw this as a cool opportunity to challenge myself outside of work.”

Sukhlall has lived in Fairbanks for three years, where she works as a broadcast journalist for the U.S. Air Force. A visit to Seward helped inspire the logo design.

“One of my favorite memories was seeing the whales during a boat excursion around the Kenai Fjords National Park,” she said. “I grew up watching these videos of whales on the Discovery Channel but it was amazing and very different to experience in person. That experience is what made me want to incorporate a whale in my design. I wanted the design to be a mix of the land and sea since a huge part of Seward’s beauty is also the sea animals that come with it.”

Finalists in this year’s contest included Jason Leslie of Seward, Rebecca Nyssen and Taylor Thorn.

2023 Registration is Open March 1-31

Registration for the 95th Mount Marathon Race will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday, March 1 and runs through midnight on March 31.

There are two options for registration at the home page of this website: Priority Registration for those who qualify and Lottery Registration for first-timers and those without priority.

The cost to enter under priority registration remains $85 for adults and $35 for juniors.
The cost to enter the lottery remains $20 for adults and $15 for juniors (lottery winners will be invoiced the balance of the full registration fee in April).

The 2023 roster will apply the Top 50 Percent in Age Group Rule to the 2022 results. This rule aims to improve lottery odds and increase the number of lottery spots available.
Visit the race’s home page to access 2022 age group results that show who finished in the top 50 percent of their age group.

Visit https://mountmarathon.com/racer-selection/ for all entry options and rules.

The defending champions are Allie McLaughlin, who set a women’s record in 2022; Max King (men); Coby Marvin (boys) and Rose Conway (girls).

The race date is Tuesday, July 4.

 

New for 2022: Our Livestream and Finish Cam!

LIVESTREAM and FINISH CAM

For the first time, the Mount Marathon Race in 2022 will attempt a Livestream of the men’s and women’s races.

To view, visit the home page of our website at www.mountmarathon.com SHORTLY BEFORE THE RACE START and at the top click on the “Stream the Race Live” and “View the Finish Cam” buttons.

The race will also be linked on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

For 2022, this is a modest experiment that, if it goes well, will be expanded in the future.

Consistent coverage of the start and finish areas is expected. There will also be cameras staged at mid-mountain and the top of the mountain; the quality of this coverage is uncertain and dependent on technology working in a busy town with limited Internet bandwidth.
Anchorage radio reporter Lex Treinen will be announcing and interviewing racers from the men’s and women’s finish, Holly Brooks will join for the men’s race and Matias Saari will join for parts of the women’s finish.

We’ll also have a separate “Finish Cam” trained solely on the finish line for the duration of the time racers are crossing the line. The finish cam will also include statistics and standings from the race.

The Anchorage video production company Jensen Hall Creative is directing the Livestream.

Historically, the Anchorage TV stations Channel 2 (KTUU) and Channel 11 (KTVA) televised many Mount Marathon races. These productions involved satellite trucks, helicopters (some years) and considerable expense and resources. The last televised production was in 2019 and broadcasting the race in this manner is not expected to return. Many of those races can still be viewed on YouTube.

 

2022 Race Preview — JUNIORS

By MATIAS SAARI

Olive Jordan could hardly believe her ears when told her that she was needed at the 2021 junior girls podium ceremony.

Her legs, lungs and heart had done extraordinary work, powering the 11-year-old from Seward to a 12-minute improvement from her rookie effort in 2018.

What’s more, with the 2021 race featuring seven waves of 50 runners as a COVID-19 mitigation measure, Jordan had to pass many runners with a head start on her. She had no idea how well she’d actually performed.

“I knew I did my personal best, but I didn’t know it would be that good,” Jordan said May 26 while on vacation with family on Cape Cod.

Making the podium wasn’t even an afterthought.

“My goal was to beat two boys that beat me last time,” Olive said, adding that she successfully did so.

Olive’s mother, Christy, was also surprised.

“I thought she won her age group but at least 20 teenagers had crossed before her (due to the wave start),” she said.

Olive trained on Mount Marathon about once weekly last year. Christy knew she was in shape but just how fit was a mystery.

“We hadn’t practiced with timing her so had no idea about time. I knew she was faster than me,” said Christy, who ran the women’s race.

Olive spent less time on the mountain this year due to running track at school and being stranded on Lowell Point, where his family lives, after a massive landslide closed Lowell Point Road for several weeks. However, she planned to train on Mount Marathon for almost a month after returning from the East Coast.

With 2021 junior champ Lucy Young aging up to the women’s race, the top returner is 2021 runner-up Jayna Boonstra of Kenai, the 16-year-old daughter of four-time men’s champion Todd Boonstra. Rose Conway of Anchorage (third last year) also figures to be in the mix.

For the boys, the race is shaping up to be a duel between Ali Papillon, 17, of Boulder, Colo., and Coby Marvin, 15, of Palmer. Papillon, a former Alaskan, ran 28:16 last year to win by 23 seconds.

Papillon impressively raced to 18th place at the Broken Arrow 26K Skyrace last month, by far the best result for a teenager.

Marvin placed 6th at the Government Peak up-down race on June 4, more than 18 minutes ahead of the next teen.

Third-place Bayden Menton of Oregon and fourth-place Brady Burrough of Anchorage have aged in to the men’s race.

This year’s junior race will return to a mass start of about 275 runners at 9 a.m. on July 4.

All 57 girls and 54 of the 69 boys who entered the lottery gained spots in this year’s event.

 

Past Boys and Girls Champions: https://mountmarathon.com/winners/

Age Group Records: https://mountmarathon.com/age-records/

 

2022 Race Preview — WOMEN

By MATIAS SAARI

If hometown hero Hannah Lafleur is going to win a third Mount Marathon, she’ll likely have to repeat the feat of her 2021 and 2019 victories by chasing down exceptional climbers who have built a substantial lead.

Last year Rosie Frankowski, an Olympic Nordic skier who trains with Alaska Pacific University, put 2 ½ minutes on Lafleur with one of the fastest climbs in history only to see it evaporate after Lafleur ran the third-fastest women’s downhill ever of 11 minutes, 44 seconds. Lafleur also had to chase down and then hold off Ruby Lindquist of Moose Pass, who nearly won with a breakout performance.

This year’s field of ascenders look be even stronger with the addition of Olympian Novie McCabe from Washington and Coloradoan Allie McLaughlin, both of whom possess serious climbing chops.

“I am excited and honored to be a part of such an inspiring field of women,” Lafleur said.

She respects the climbing prowess of the competition but reminds fans that Mount Marathon goes up and down.

“I imagine there are some incredible uphill engines. But the race is never over until you get to the Yukon Bar!” said Lafleur, a Seward kayak company manager and guide. “The variety of skillsets it takes is what makes this race so special.”

Back to those uphill engines. There’s Frankowski, who will be a threat if she continues to improve her downhill. And McLaughlin holds the coveted fastest known time on the Incline in Manitou Springs, Colo., a steep and popular route up a former cog railway. She also has won the Pike’s Peak Ascent twice and claimed the competitive Broken Arrow Skyrace Vertical K event in California the last two years.

McLaughlin also placed second (to Olympian Sophia Laukli) at last month’s Broken Arrow 26K and showed she was more than capable on technical terrain, a crucial skill on Mount Marathon’s downhill.

“My goals are to go as fast as I can and still be able to run the next day,” said McLaughlin, adding that she shies away from the “real edgy” terrain in Colorado but has been targeting Mount Marathon with more specific training this spring.

McLaughlin has been waiting to race Mount Marathon for more than two years as she was registered for the canceled 2020 race and chose to defer last year.

“It feels like more than a running race to me — like an extreme sport,” said McLaughlin, who also enjoys a different extreme recreational activity: skydiving.

Meanwhile, the 20-year-old McCabe — a teammate of Alaskan Luke Jager at the University of Utah — is coming off a successful Winter Olympics in China, where she placed 18th in the 30K freestyle. Her best result last season was 7th in the final stage of the Tour de Ski in Italy, which finishes with a brutal climb up an Alpine ski hill and benefits athletes with high aerobic capacities.

McCabe watched the 2021 Mount Marathon in person and that inspired her to race this year.

“Unconventional running races like this are always super exciting so I’m stoked to get to participate,” said McCabe, whose Olympic teammate Sophia Laukli was also registered for Mount Marathon but withdrew due to a schedule conflict. Salomon’s Bailey Kowalczyk of Colorado also canceled her entry.

The depth of this year’s field is phenomenal. Only 60 women have run faster than one hour in the 94-year history of the race and 25 of them are entered this year (though some are past their prime). In 2021, fourteen women broke the one-hour barrier, a mark that could be bested this year with nine of the top 10 returning along with many other stellar entrants.

They include two-time champion Christy Marvin of Palmer, now 41. She’s never finished outside the top 3 in eight races and possesses a downhill nearly on par with Lafleur’s. She also beat Frankowski by three minutes and Lafleur by seven upon winning the Government Peak up-and-down race on June 4.

Lurking amid the chatter is Lindquist, who wrapped up her senior season of track and field at Black Hills State University in South Dakota before returning to Seward to prepare for Mount Marathon.

“After last year’s race, I learned that there is no reason I shouldn’t be trying to race with the top women in the field,” said Lindquist, who has been formulating a mountain-focused training plan with Erik Johnson, Seward’s perennial top 10 men’s performer. “I think adding new competition and bringing back great competitors will only motivate me to prepare well and be ready for an awesome race!”

Lindquist has some work to do in order to contend again at Mount Marathon. At the Bird Ridge mountain race on June 19 (not necessarily a good predictor for Mount Marathon), she placed a distant third while Lafleur was fourth.

The field also includes Klaire Rhodes, winner of the 2022 Bird Ridge; Meg Inokuma of Palmer, second at Bird Ridge; former US Ski Team member Kendall Kramer; Salomon’s Olivia Amber from San Francisco; past champion and two-time Olympian Holly Brooks; Najeeby Quinn (six Top-6 Mount Marathon performances) and Denali Strabel (six Top-5s at Mount Marathon).

Patti Foldager and Ellyn Brown are also entered; they have the most longevity among women with 38 finishes apiece.

 

Results from this season’s Alaska Mountain Runners’ Grand Prix races:

Knoya Ridge (uphill only) – HERE

Government Peak (up and down) – HERE

Bird Ridge (uphill only) – HERE

 

MMR List of Champions and other stats HERE

MMR Age Group Records: https://mountmarathon.com/age-records/

Historic results database (search for any racer): https://mountmarathon.com/results/search-race-results/

Updated Women’s Roster by Alpha: https://mountmarathon.com/?division=womens

 

 

 

2022 Race Preview – MEN

By MATIAS SAARI

David Norris’ late withdrawal from the 2022 Mount Marathon has turned the men’s race up for grabs.

Norris, the overall record-holder and three-time champion, badly bruised his heel in a mountain bike crash that has derailed his season and forced him to cancel a trip to Spain for a major trail race in May. Norris, a longtime elite Nordic skier based in Anchorage, had hoped to heal in time to defend his dominating 2021 Mount Marathon win. Instead, he withdrew on June 30.

Max King, 42, of Bend, Oregon, may now be the favorite, but has plenty of competition from Alaska and Canada.

King, sponsored by Salomon, is one of the country’s most versatile runners. His resume includes a World Mountain Running championship, U.S. Olympic Trials appearances in the marathon and steeplechase, and countless top trail and mountain-running results.

King, the 2019 champion, went head-to-head with Norris in 2018. Norris said afterwards that King made him suffer even more than when he set the record of 41:26 in 2016.

Norris held off King by 20 seconds in 2018, but King’s time of 42:33 still ranks as the fourth fastest time in the 94-year history of the race.

King, now 42, recognizes a repeat of that rookie run is unlikely, but he’s not conceding anything — even if he’s lost a step.

“My goal is hope David is there and go for the win, or a 40-45 age group record, whichever comes first. Or both? Or neither? Any way it shakes out it’s going to be a blast,” King said before learning that Norris had withdrawn.

Trond Flagstad set the 40-49 age group mark of 44:26 in 2012.

The race returns to the Fourth of July for the first time since 2019 as the 2020 event was canceled and the 2021 race was moved to July 7 as a pandemic mitigation measure.

Large crowds are expected with the event on a holiday Monday.

“July 4th race day atmosphere in Seward is hard to beat,” Norris said.

Sam Hendry, 22, of British Columbia, Canada, also returns. A teammate of Alaskan Luke Jager on the University of Utah Nordic ski team, he was a distant second to Norris last year.

Darren Thomas of Nevada (third in 2021) scratched on Saturday due to a foot injury.

Even with the unexpected withdrawals of Norris and Thomas, the men’s field returns seven of last year’s Top 10.

This year’s podium with be fiercely contested with the likes of Alaskans Michael Connelly (fourth in 2021), Lyon Kopsack (fifth), Lars Arneson (sixth), Ben Marvin (eighth), Erik Johnson of Seward (ninth) and Pyper Dixon (10th). This year also marks the return of 2022 Olympian Jager, a 2022 Olympian, along with past podium winners Matt Shryock and Adam Jensen.

Arneson, of Anchorage, won the Government Peak Race in June and was second at Bird Ridge.

APU skier Thomas O’Harra earned a bib by winning the iconic Bird Ridge Race on June 19. He scouted Mount Marathon for the first time a week later and figures to have a strong uphill and a to-be-determined downhill.

Meanwhile, Taylor Turney has careened downhill in 10:01 and 10:04 the last two years and is aiming to break the descent record of 10:00 by Eric Strabel.

A firmer-than-usual trail and a busy life — Turney has a new career as a firefighter along with two young kids — may make achieving that descent record an even tougher task this year. Racers benefit from a soft trail through deep scree that can be fearlessly negotiated, but this year’s lack of rain of other factors has left parts of the upper trail dangerously solid.

The old-timers are still making their mark, too.

Fred Moore, now 82, began his Mount Marathon career in 1970 and hasn’t missed a race since, an astounding streak of 51 straight races. Moore posted a solid time of 1:30:17 last year, beating some racers less than half his age.

Everett Billingslea and “Crazy” Billy Carroll look to collect their 40th finishes this year, joining Moore, Braun Kopsack and Flip Foldager in an exclusive group.

Chad Resari, now 86, aims to up the oldest finisher mark by another year. He first ran Mount Marathon in 1964 and 1965, then stopped for 33 years due to teaching, coaching and family obligations. He re-started his Mount Marathon career in 1998 and hasn’t looked back.

Ascending the cliff is particularly challenging for him. “I’m so short I can’t reach as high as the other guys,” he quipped.

Resari could take the “Golden Racer” option of running half the course and still getting a finish, but chooses instead to go all the way up and down. How long will Resari keep at it?

“As long as, God willing, that I’m able to do it,” he said.

 

Results from this season’s Alaska Mountain Runners’ Grand Prix races:

Knoya Ridge (uphill only) – HERE

Government Peak (up and down) – HERE

Bird Ridge (uphill only) – HERE

 

MMR List of Champions and other stats HERE

MMR Age Group Records: https://mountmarathon.com/age-records/

Historic results database (search for any racer): https://mountmarathon.com/results/search-race-results/

Updated Men’s Roster by Alpha: https://mountmarathon.com/?division=mens