Henry, Thompson, McKee Win Eaglecrest Races

    Runners start the Eaglecrest Road Race on Saturday at .5 mile Fish Creek Road. (Klas Stolpe/KINY)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau’s Hiram Henry, 47, and Erik Thompson, 13, and Chicago’s Kevin McKee, 8, topped Saturday’s Eaglecrest Road Race nine-, five- and one-mile runs, respectively.

      Henry ran one hour 37 minutes and three seconds to earn bragging rights for the strenuous longer route that started at .5 mile Eaglecrest road and continued on a slight incline five miles to the resort parking lot before beginning a greater incline up the summer service road to the mountain’s top and returning to the parking area.

      Henry said the toughest part was “coming down, because you are not done yet. You think you are done at the top but you are not… I think it is tempting to go hard all the way to the top, but then you have spent all your juice and your muscles don’t want to support you on the way down. It is kind of brutal on the way down…”

      Addison Field, 49, placed second in 1:43:24; Roel Mangaccat, 47, 1:49:53; Christy Gentemann, 33, 2:00:11; and Michael Sparks in 2:23:46.

      Henry said he has participated in the race “off and on for as long as it has been going on… 20 or 30 years now… my strategy is just run. Just keep going I think is the most important part. Not fast, just keep going… run into the hill. And if you slow down by the time you get to the top that’s fine, but run into it. If you start letting the hill win before you are even on the hill then it has already won…”

      Thompson, a Dzantik’i Henni eighth grader, said the paved hill was tough in his five-mile race win that started at .5 Eaglecrest Road and continued through slight elevation to the resort parking lot.

      “Very hard,” Thompson said. “My calves are burning, and I want to lie down.”

      Thompson said the race is a training run for the Klondike Road Relay in September.

      “I’m going to try and do Klondike, the kid’s one,” he said. “And I just wanted to see if this would measure up to this or if I could do it… I think I need to work on my calf strength more. It is pretty hard to keep going up those hills. They got pretty annoying because they are nice and long and they are just very big. I feel pretty good so far. I mean, I don’t know if I will that when I get home because I’ll be dying because of the soreness…”

      Thompson hit 38:26 and Matt McKee Jr., 14 - who runs for Marist High School in Chicago - placed second in 40:03. They were followed by Jim Ustasiewski, 58, in 41:25, Quinn Tracy, 42, 44:07; Geneva Peters, 28, 49:38; Susan Holt, 54, 52:08; Kristin McTague, 50, 53:38; Alyssa Hobbs, 44, 57:54; Adam Weed, 38, 57:56; Christina Hotka, 33, 58:30, John Eldridge, 71, 1:01:49; Vanessa Gabel, 44, 1:07:11; and Linda Kruger, 71, 1:21:10.

      Kevin McKee took the mile race in a respectable 10:46 in a course that started in the Eaglecrest parking lot and went up a half-mile on the summer service road and returned.

      McKee said the hardest part was “going up the really hilly part before the half mile… I fast hiked some of it…”

      He said his advice to other mountain runners is “when you are going down, just go as fast as you can.”

      The young man from Chicago nipped his sister, Moira McKee, 17, and father Matt McKee, 49, at the tape.

      “It was good, you know, it was a nice race,” Moira McKee said. “It was scenic…it is amazing up here. We’re from the Midwest so nothing but cornfields.”

    Moira hit 10:47 and Matt 10:48. Kevin’s mother, Sue McKee, 47, placed fourth with 20:16, William Tracy, 76, finished in 20:16 and Heather Parker, 37, in 20:18.

      McKee’s older brother Matt Jr. ran in the five-mile race.

      The Eaglecrest Road Race was first run three decades ago and the challenge featured an unpaved course throughout.

      In 1998, the road was paved to the lodge and the faster mountain goats clamored for something a bit longer than five miles. In 2012, the 10 mile was charted. That portion has sometimes slipped to nine miles depending on upper hill conditions.

      “This year it was too dangerous because of the snow conditions at the very top,” race director Tom Meyer said. “But what hasn’t changed is the vertical climbing on the road.”

      The long course male record is one hour seven minutes and 21 seconds set by Anchorage’s Allan Spangler in 2017. Joshua Musson was less than a minute behind.

      Shawn Miller dueled Spangler in 2018 but fell by three minutes, 1:11:21 to 1:14:51.

      Riley Moser has hit 1:09:12 and Bryan Hitchcock 1:13:10. Franklin Dekker, Scott Forbes, Matt Callahan, Nate Smith, Jesse Stringer, John Bursell, Aidan Vasquez, Cory Chapman, Brian Laurent and Justin Dorn have all run the long course under 1:25:00.

      Merry Ellefson has the long course women’s record in 1:22:16. Rachel Phelps has run 1:29:41. Jada Kahl, Cecile Elliott, Megan Costello, Leslie Mueca, Christy Gentemann, Kate Glover, Susan Cable, Alli Rosen, April Rezendes, Jenna Wiersma and Nina Schwinghammer have all gone under 1:50:00.

      The top male five-mile times belong to Shawn Miller 30:45 (2005), John Bursell 32:24 (2006), Bursell 32:27 (2005), Robert Sowers 32:24 (2006), Braden Perry 33:30 (2010) and Tristan Knutson-Lombardo 33:35 (2013).

      The top female five-mile times belong to Heidi Reifenstein 38:43 (2006), Hilary Young 39:24 (2013), Naomi Welling 39:44 (2014), Young 39:56 (2012), Janeann Twelker 40:06 (2006) and Joanne Quigg 40:45 (2006).


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