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Nancy Osborne, 70, preparing to run her 30th Mount Marathon

Mount Marathon Race in Seward, Alaska.
Mount Marathon Race in Seward, Alaska.(Austin Sjong)
Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 5:07 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Nancy Osborne started running the Mount Marathon Race when she turned 40 years old. Now, at 70 years old, she is looking to complete her 30th race this year.

“I truly think if you don’t use it you lose it, and God in his mercy has given me good health and I have had some knee surgeries but it hasn’t slowed me down, so I feel good about that,” Osborne said.

She started going up the mountain with friends, then was convinced to give the race a try and now it has become a big part of her life. Every Wednesday and Saturday she makes the trek, and she isn’t just hiking — she is going as fast as she can.

Osborne’s best time in competition is an impressive 1 hour, 12 minutes, but as she has gotten older she just tries to continue breaking 2 hours.

“It is such a good thing for Seward,” she said of the race, which is returning this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is a symbol of what Seward stands for. People really give it their all and even if they don’t place when they come, they still respect them for having tried it.”

A person learns many important lessons when they have done a race 29 time, soon to be 30. One thing Osborne said was a surprise, is that when one comes around the final turn they need to be ready for the smells that come from the food trucks. Osborne said if a runner is not expecting it, the aroma of all of the food trucks can almost force a person to throw up after just getting off of Mount Marathon.

Osborne also said that the hardest part for her is the initial run up to the base of the mountain. Once she is on the slopes, she feels much more comfortable. She is truly in a league of her own this year — Osborne is the only 70-year-old woman participating. The next oldest woman is 68.

As far as her approach to attacking the mountain, she keeps it pretty simple.

“Well you gotta put one foot in front of the other as fast as you can. That’s what you do and you never slow down,” Osborne said. “I do a lot of prayer when I do that run and God and I get really close, and I am praying for all the other runners that no one gets hurt because that does happen sometimes.”

She said that even though 30 is a cool number, she has no thoughts of stopping now and will continue to run the race until she can’t.

Osborne will take off from the start line of her 30th race in the later waves of the women’s race that starts at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

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