Athletes of the Week: Junior Mount Marathon Champions Marvin and Conway

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:14 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The tough and tenacious field of Junior Mount Marathon runners often gain their passion for the historic race through the family, and that especially rings true for our Athletes of the Week.

Palmer’s 15-year-old Coby Marvin has seen his mother Christy win the women’s race twice (2013, 2016) and now, there are two Mount Marathon champions in the family.

“Just keeping the family tradition running,” Marvin said after winning his first Junior Mount Marathon. “And it is just about having fun.”

After a runner-up finish last year, Marvin was the first competitor to reach the halfway point of Mount Marathon by 37 seconds, which serves as the turnaround point for the junior race. By the time he reached the downtown Seward finish line, Marvin clocked the second fastest course time in the junior race’s history at 25:27 behind Bill Spencer’s 1973 time of 24:30.

“I didn’t really have any idea until I came to the top in sub-18 (minutes),” Marvin said of his historic time. “I did a time trial to the juniors in 19 and a half (minutes), so not even close.”

Fueling Marvin’s pace was 2021 Junior Champion Ali Papillon, who finished in 25:43 — the third-fastest recorded time in junior history.

”It was when Ali stopped running up the hill and I felt like I could still run, and so I waited until a little past Squirrel’s Inn and then I passed him,” the Colony High School student said of when he took control of the race. ”It was pretty fun, I would not have gone as fast without him there, for sure.”

Mount Marathon Race fans can expect to see a Marvin family member in the running for years to come.

”Yeah, my parents do it so I want to keep doing it,” Marvin said.

As for the Mount Marathon Junior Race Girls Champion Rose Conway, the Anchorage 14-year-old’s parents met in Seward and have been competing in Mount Marathon since before she was born.

“As soon as I got into the lottery I started doing it too,” Conway said. “My grandpa, I think he used to say one of these days, a Conway is going to be on the podium.”

The day Conway’s grandfather predicted came on July 4, 2022 when Conway clocked in at 33:18 to claim her first Junior Mount Marathon victory after placing third last year.

“I am really happy, I really wanted to win,” Conway said. “I have got to say racing at the top I didn’t think I was going to, but it all worked out.”

Conway was the third girl up the hill, but her blistering time of 8:59 on the downhill was more than a minute faster than the next competitor, leaving it all out there on the course, which included her breakfast.

”Right when you get onto the road coming down. Yeah, I might have puked there,” Conway said. “Then I did not think I was going to win. Last year I puked three times, so I think I am getting better.”

With more years to rack up more junior championships, race fans can also expect Conway to be a Mount Marathon staple for years to come.

”It is super fun, there is like a ton of competition and I love the competition and you never know who is going to be here every year, so it is fun coming into it not really knowing.”

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