WATCH: Oregon runner wins 2019 Mt. Marathon
Max King of Bend, Oregon won the 2019 Mt. Marathon race.
His time was 43:39. It was two minutes slower than David Norris' record time set in 2016 of 41:26, but in the hot and smoky conditions, Max King said he was thrilled.
"It feels amazing," he said at the finish line. "You know, obviously to go from second to first has been my goal for a long time and finally I achieved it."
King is an all-around racer who has competed in distances from track miles to ultramarathons. His personal best marathon time is 2:14:36, and his half marathon is 1:03:08. He has also won the World Mountain Running Championships in 2011. Last year he finished in second place in his Mt. Marathon debut.
One of the many challenges was the dry conditions that kicked up dust throughout the course, but King said he had a strategy for that.
"You have to stay in the lead in order for it not to be dusty," he said.
There was also the smoke, which had cleared slightly by 2 p.m. when the men raced.
"The smoke's not ideal for everybody, but it doesn't feel that bad," he said, "It looks a lot worse up higher than it does on Mt. Marathon."
He said the victory, in his second year of competing the race, was something special.
"You train obviously for different races all the time and then you have those really special races come up in the calendar every once in the while," said the 39-year-old. "For me, this is one of those really special races to win."
When asked whether he would race again next year, he said he was undecided.
"It was a goal to come in and either win it or do it for ten years to where I could come back again and not have to worry about the lottery," he said. "So the fact that I won it -- I can take a year off."
Eric Strabel of Anchorage was 2nd (45:21), and Lars Arneson of Anchorage finished in third (45:32).
This story will be updated.