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After a year off, Mount Marathon Race returns for 93rd running

Published: Jul. 4, 2021 at 8:48 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The 93rd running of Mount Marathon marks a milestone moment for mountain runners in Alaska as the iconic event returns to Seward on Wednesday after it was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

“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.”

This year the Mount Marathon Race will have a different look with smaller crowds, runners being split into waves of fifty leaving every two minutes and no pre-race auction since it was held earlier this summer to avoid indoor gatherings.

Mount Marathon said 250 runners will defer from running in 2021 after organizers offered a blanket deferral to participants earlier in the year if they had an issue with the date change or COVID-19 concerns. The 93rd running will have a field of 800 runners, according to Saari. Despite a smaller field, the caliber of competition will remain high.

In the men’s race, Mount Marathon course record holder David Norris returns two weeks after a record-setting performance at the Bird Ridge Hill Climb finishing in 35 minutes, 40 seconds.

“The quality of the field will be great,” Saari said. “David Norris, course record holder, and Olympic caliber skier is back, and Lars Arneson who’s won Grand Prix races is a real up and comer.”

In the women’s race, Palmer’s Christy Marvin has been the model of consistency, never finishing outside of the top three since 2012 with race victories in 2013 and 2016.

“For the women, a bunch of past champions,” Saari said. “Hannah Lafleur from Seward, Christy Marvin from Palmer, and Holly Brooks from Anchorage.”

The junior race will return for the first time since 2018 after it wasn’t officially held in 2019 because of fire danger and the entire event was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

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