Tens of thousands of spectators were on hand in Seward for the start of the 2014 Mount Marathon race Friday.
After coming in second last year, Olympic skier Holly Brooks has reclaimed her title as winner of the women’s Mountain Marathon race. She finished the 3,000-ft climb in 52 minutes and 49 seconds, with 2013 champion Christy Marvin right behind her.
“It was a tough field. This was the deepest women’s field in a long time,” she said. “So, I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Brooks has competed in Mount Marathon six times, and come in as the runner-up in half of those runs.
“You know I’ve been second three times in this race,” she said. “Twice, I’ve gotten passed on Main Street right here, and that was all I could think about. I didn’t want to have to think about that for another year.”
The 3-mile race is always grueling, but the dry weather this year meant runners had to contend with dust and heat. Brooks was the first to finish the uphill portion, but says the descent was a struggle.
“I’m coming downhill, I just felt like a marionette going down a mountain,” she said. “I just could barely hold myself up.”
Seventeen-year-old Allison Ostrander, of Soldotna, made history in the junior’s race as the first girl to ever win it. She came ahead of all the girls and boys with a time of 28 minutes and 54 seconds, with a 40-second lead to spare.
Eric Strabel has again won the men’s division. Coming in just before 4 p.m. with a time of 44 minutes, 46 seconds. Matias Saari came in second and Benjamin Marvin in third.
See the full results here.