Mount Marathon Crowns Norris, Lafleur as King, Queen of the Mountain

    Dakota Jones, shown in the Juneau Ridge Race, placed 7th in Wednesday's Mount Marathon race in Seward.

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Anchorage’s David Norris, 30, topped the field in the 93rd annual Mount Marathon race in Seward on Wednesday, winning the “hardest 5K in the world” in 43 minutes 27 seconds and Seward’s Hannah Lafleur, 32, defended her title in 51:24. Both were also the top in their respective 30-39 age divisions.

      2021 Juneau Ridge Race winner, and record holder, Dakota Jones, 30, placed seventh overall in 47:02. He said the race atmosphere was not unlike Juneau’s running community.

      “There’s like this group of people in a small town who are really tight, who love the same sport, and who like to party after going big,” Jones commented on the race usually held on the Fourth of July, where revelers pack the streets.

      And the racers went big.

      Mount Marathon includes a short sprint at the start and finish and a little up and down hike in between. It sounds simple, but that hike in the middle is a brutal slope that tops out at 2,974 feet. And when the quads have been hammered, racers have to turn around and run, jump and slide back to the base.

      “It’s really competitive,” Jones said. “It attracts a ton of top talent. Mostly from the state but some from outside Alaska as well.”

      The initial sprint on pavement usually sets the pecking order for the hill climb.

      “I was dropped there,” Jones said. “I was running as hard as I could and I couldn’t hang.”

      The race also keeps track of the racers mid-mountain, uphill and downhill times.

      Jones had the third fastest downhill time. The uphill was grueling however.

      “It is almost a 3,000 foot climb from the base,” Jones said. “I was in oxygen debt at that point.”

      Jones was in fifth place starting the climb and was seventh at the top.

      From the base, racers try to power up through trees and mud, coming out of a tree line next to a waterfall and continue over roots and shrubs through a brush line onto the halfway point, then continuing on over loose rock and shale to the top.

      “It was supper steep, wet mud and then you break out of the trees and have a 1000 more feet of fun,” Jones said. “Shale and alpine terrain and hiking really hard. And then you come over the top.”

      Racers have one route at the turnaround… down. Runners point their shoes downward and jump, glide and try to turn their gait over as fast as possible. Some tumble and have cuts and bruises. Some have been injured. Most stay outside the tree line in what is referred to as the “gulley” and continue into the “gut/chute” and through a stream and down cliffs.

      “You’re totally weak and your legs feel like jelly,” Jones said. “I’m going down as fast as I can and trying not to crash. I almost tripped and fell a few times. There is no trail at all. You are just running through a creek and there are big rocks and little rocks. Then you go down a cliff, I actually slipped there which turned out okay but I think I went down faster than I meant too. You have worked your ass off to get up the hill and before you know it you are down the hill.”

      After a 36 minute uphill time, Jones was down in just over 10 minutes.

      “And then you have to sprint back on the road,” he said. “You have to hammer for three or four minutes on pavement to get to the finish.”

      The top ten male finishers were (name, time, city, state, mid-mountain/uphill/downhill times, age):

      1. Norris 43:27 ANCH (18:25/31:54/11:33) 30; 2. Sam Hendry 46:00 Salt Lake City, UT (18:59/34:27/11:34) 21; 3. Darren Thomas 46:09 Reno, NV (19:21/33:48/12:21) 27; 4. Michael Connelly 46:27 Chugiak, AK (19:58/36:05/10:26) 19; 5. Lyon Kopsack 46:31 Palmer, AK (19:58/36:05/10:26) 25; 6. Lars Arneson 47:00 ANCH (19:53/35:37:11:24) 31; 7. Dakota Jones 47:02 Bozeman, MT (20:19/36:27/10:35) 30; 8. Benjamin Marvin 47:41 PAL (21:01/37:19/10:22) 40; 9. Erik Johnson 48:02 SEW (20:56/36:50/11:12) 44; 10. Pyper Dixon 48:28 SEW (20:40/37:10/11:19) 30.

    The top ten female finishers were:

      1. Hannah Lafleur 51:24 SEW (21:44/39:40/11:44) 32; 2. Ruby Lindquist 51:38 Moose Pass, AK (21:17/38:57/12:42) 21; 3. Christy Marvin 52:21 PAL (21:45/39:38/12:43) 40; 4. Rose Frankowski 52:56 ANCH (20:19/37:06/15:51) 29; 5. Klaire Rhodes 54:36 ANCH (22:26/41:01/13:36) 23; 6. Najeeby Quinn 55:05 ANCH (22:58/41:11/13:54) 41; 7. Tsaina Mahlen 55:19 ANCH (22:03/40:28/14:51) 26; 8. Taryn Hunt-Smith 56:04 ANCH (23:01/42:10/13:55) 24; 9. Kendall Kramer 56:50 Fairbanks, AK (22:39/42:06/14:44) 19; 10. Olivia Amber 56:57 San Francisco, CA (22:36/41:15/15:43) 26.

      Norris kept his string of never losing a Mount Marathon intact with his third entry and win. Lafleur bettered her time from the last Mount Marathon, in 2019, of 53:24.

      In the Juniors race, age 11-17, which goes just halfway up the mountain, Ali Papillon, 16, of Talkeetna won for the boys in 28:16, followed by Coby Marvin, 14, (PAL 28:39), Bayden Menton, 17 (Joseph, OR 29:18), Brady Burrough, 17 (ANCH 30:27) and Ethan Eski, 16 (ANCH 30:54) rounding out the top five.

      Lucy Young, 17, of Anchorage won the Juniors girls race in 33:55, with Jayna Boonstra, 15 (Kenai 36:29), Rose Conway, 13 (ANCH 37:23), Katey Houser, 17 (PAL 37:54) and Olive Jordan, 11 (SEW 38:23) rounding out the top five.

      Mount Marathon was last run in 2019 under poor air quality conditions due to wildfires in the area. Max King won that men’s race in 43:39, The juniors race was cancelled. The 2020 race was also cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

      “It was a big void,” race director Matias Saari said. “I think people really didn’t know what to do with themselves not going to Seward to race.”

      Saari, from Anchorage, placed 20th overall with a time of 52:22, which also put him first in the 50-59 year-old age division.

      2019 Juneau Ridge Race winner Allan Spangler, from Anchorage, placed 37th overall and 10th in the 30-39 age division in 55:09.

      This years’ race had COVID mitigations in place including the moving of the race to July 7 to reduce crowd attendance. The start had waves of 50 runners at two-minute intervals. Masks were not required but social distancing was at the start and finish. The awards ceremony was canceled and held as brief podium acknowledgments.

      Four records fell this year. Christy Marvin, 40, of Palmer set the new 40-49 age division record with a 52:21; Fred Moore, 81, of Seward broke the 80-89 year olds record with a 1:30:17 and Nancy Osborne, 70, of Bellbrook, Ohio broke the 70-79 division record with a 1:49:51. Coby Marvin, 14, of Palmer hit 28:39 for a new 12-14 age group mark.

      Jones said he got what he wanted out of the race.

      “I worked really really hard,” he said. “I worked absolutely as hard as I possibly could and I got to the top and I got down. And I didn’t get hurt. And I had a good time. I definitely want to come back and try for a faster time.”

      He said he will train slightly differently for next year’s race.

      “When I do intervals, I would do really hard uphill intervals, but now I will still go really hard up but I will turn around and immediately go down fast on a steep downhill,” he said. “That part of the race was really challenging for me. That quick transition from steep up to steep down. I was not prepared for that.”

      Jones will direct a running camp in Colorado next and then tackle the CCC in France, a 100 kilometer mountain outing that attracts the world’s top ultra-distance athletes.

      HISTORIC MOUNT MARATHON RECORDS:

      Men’s Fastest Overall - 1. 41:26 David Norris 2016 1st; 2. 41:48 Kilian Jornet 2015 1st; 3. 42:13 David Norris 2018 1st; 4. 42:33 Max King 2018 2nd; 5. 42:55 Eric Strabel 2013 1st; 6. 42:56 Rickey Gates 2015 2nd; 7. 43:04 Rickey Gates 2013 2nd; 8. 43:06 Nick Elson 2016 2nd; 9. 43:11 Jim Shine 2015 3rd; 10. 43:21 Bill Spencer 1981 1st.

      Women’s Fastest Overall - 1. 47:48 Emelie Forsberg 2015 1st; 2. 49:19 Allie Ostrander 2017 1st; 3. 50:28 Allie Ostrander 2015 2nd; 4. 50:30 Nancy Pease 1990 1st; 5. 50:54 Carmen Young 1986 1st; 6. 51:02 Christy Marvin 2016 1st; 7. 51:09 Morgan Arritola 2017 2nd; 8. 51:13 Nancy Pease 1989 1st; 9. 51:30 Jessica Yeaton 2018 1st; 10. 51:41 Nancy Pease 1992 1st.

      Men’s Fastest Uphill - 1. 30:35 David Norris 2016 1st; 2. 31:26 Rickey Gates 2015 2nd; 3. 31:27 Kilian Jornet 2015 1st; 4. 31:29 Jim Shine 2015 3rd; 5. 31:33 David Norris 2018 1st.

      Women’s Fastest Uphill - 1. 36:17 Emelie Forsberg 2015 1st; 2. 36:58 Allie Ostrander 2017 1st; 3. 37:06 Rose Frankowski 2018 7th; 4. 37:08 Allie Ostrander 2015 2nd; 5. 37:18 Morgan Arritola 2017 2nd.

      Men’s Fastest Downhill - 1. 10:00 Eric Strabel 2013 1st; 2. 10:06 Jacob Kirk 2018 16th; 3. 10:08 Eric Strabel 2012 8th; 4. 10:12 Jacob Kirk 2017 13th; 5. 10:18 Trond Flagstad 2008 1st.

      Women’s Fastest Downhill - 1. 11:27 Denali Foldager-Strabel 2018 2nd; 2. 11:32 Emelie Forsberg 2015 1st; 3. 11:48 Cedar Bourgeois 2010 1st; 4. 11:51 Denali Fodager-Strabel 2016 3rd; 5. 12:04 Christy Marvin 2014 2nd.

      Past Men’s Winners - 2019 Max King 43:39; 2018 David Norris 42:13; 2017 Scott Patterson 44:30; 2016 Norris 41:26; 2015 Kilian Jornet 41:48; 2014 Eric Strabel 44:46; 2013 Strabel 42:55; 2012 Matt Novakovich 44:07; 2011 Strabel 44:40; 2010 Trond Flagstad 44:40; 2009 Matias Saari 48:00; 2008 Flagstad 44:03; 2007 Brad Precosky 46:14; 2006 Precosky 45:42; 2005 Tobias Schwoerer 43:39; 2003 Todd Boonstra 47:32; 2002 Precosky 46:17; 2001 Prescosky 45:07; 2000 Precosky 45:31; 1999 Precosky 46:10; 1998 Boonstra 46:17; 1997 Boonstra 45:17; 1996 Boonstra 47:30; 1995 Marten Martensen 46:49; 1994 Steve Buchanan 49:02; 1993 Buchanan 47:17; 1992 Martensen 46:54; 1991 Bill Spencer 46:15; 1990 Martensen 47:57; 1989 Michael Graham 49:16; 1988 Graham 46:24; 1987 Jim Rendeert 46:33; 1986 Sam Young & Bill Spencer 45:32; 1985 Young 44:49; 1984 Young 50:49; 1983 Spencer 46:01; 1982 Spencer 45:59; 1981 Spencer 43:21; 1980 Jeff Johnson 46:35; 1979 Johnson 46:17; 1978 Johnson 46:46; 1977 Tom Besh 44:59; 1976 Spencer 44:25; 1975 Spencer 44:37; 1974 Spencer 44:11; 1973 Besh 45:49; 1972 Gene Morgan 46:16; 1971 Terry Aldrich 48:10; 1970 Dale Shea 46:57; 1969 Besh 46:36; 1968 Jonathan Chaffee 44:25; 1967 Chaffee 44:28; 1966 Spencer 48:21; 1965 Ed Williams 49:05; 1964 Spencer 46:55; 1963 Karl Bohlin 48:37; 1962 Bohlin 52:33; 1961 Norman Roberts 51:02; 1962 Bohlin 52:33; 1961 Norman Roberts 51:02; 1960 Dick Kosack 55:16; 1959 Sven Johanson 50:48; 1958 Johanson 52:45; 1957 Johanson 51:40; 1956 Johanson 52:59; 1955 Johanson 57:09; 1954 Johanson 53:20; 1953 Ralph Hatch 54:56; 1952 Don Stickman 53:36; 1951 Stickman 56:38; 1950 Ralph Hatch 58:10; 1949 Hatch 1:06:52; 1948 Hatch 57:31; 1947 Hatch 58:13; 1946 Hatch 59:58; 1945 Mainhardt Bredt 1:01:11; 1944 Inekente Kalmakoff 59:59; 1943 Roger Peck 1:10:15; 1942 No race held due to the war; 1941 Oscar Wilson 1:09:23; 1940 Johnny Hughes 1:05:00; 1939 Hughes 58:55; 1932-38 No races held; 1931 William Kanyak 56:24; 1930 Ephriam Kalmakoff 54:00; 1929 Kalmakoff 55:13; 1928 Kalmakoff 52:35; 1927 Eric Eckman 1:01:17; 1926 Eckman 58:26; 1925 Ed Vogel 57:40; 1920-24 No races due to railroad construction; 1919 D. Mauntino 1:06:45; 1918 Joe Karaoff 58:30; 1917 Tom Hardoff 57:39; 1916 Alec Bolan 55:12; 1915 James Walters 1:02:02.

      Past Women’s Winners - 2019 Hannah Lafleur 53:24; 2018 Jessica Yeaton 51:30; 2017 Allie Ostrander 49:19; 2016 Christy Marvin 51:02; 2015 Emelie Forsberg 47:48; 2014 Holly Brooks 52:49; 2013 Marvin 53:20; 2012 Brooks 51:53; 2011 Kikkan Randall 52:03; 2010 Cedar Bourgeois 51:48; 2009 Bourgeois 54:19; 2008 Bourgeois 52:11; 2007 Bourgeois 52:21; 2006 Bourgeois 52:33; 2005 Bourgeois 51:44; 2004 Cedar Petrosius 55:09; 2003 Nina Kemppel 56:46; 2002 Kemppel 55:04; 2001 Kemppel 56:59; 2000 Kemppel 54:20; 1999 Kemppel 1:01:47; 1998 Kemppel 59:36; 1997 Kemppel 55:08; 1996 Kemppel 55:08; 1995 Nancy Pease 53:50; 1994 Kemppel 57:46; 1993 Patti Foldager 56:36; 1992 Pease 51:41; 1991 Pease 53:06; 1990 Pease 50:30; 1989 Pease 51:13; 1988 Carmen Young 53:53; 1987 Young 52:15; 1986 Young 50:54; 1985 Patti Foldager 58:17; 1984 Pease 54:09; 1983 Lynn Galanes 53:19; 1982 Young 57:07; 1981 Betsy Haines 1:00:01; 1980 Haines 1:01:14; 1979 Haines 57:38; 1978 Liz Carey 58:06; 1977 Judy Ziemlak 1:13:10; 1976 Allison Spencer 57:39; 1975 Debbie Haines 1:03:53; 1974 Kathy Anderson 58:23; 1973 Lynn Spencer 1:00:39; 1972 Kathy Spivey 1:17:03; 1971 Margie Mahoney 1:05:25; 1970 Mahoney 1:07:24; 1969 Ann Livingston 1:26:17; 1968 Grace Hoeman 1:25:33; 1967 Joyce Patten 1:16:10; 1966 Marlis Kilcher 1:30:13; 1965-64 No female racers entered; 1963 Jane Trigg 1:37:08.

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