Emelie Forsberg (pre-race and post-race interviews) and Kilian Jornet (pre-race and post-race interviews) both took home big wins and new course records at the 2015 Mount Marathon Race in Seward, Alaska. And, in doing so, they pushed the rest of the women’s and men’s fields into top performances.
As usual, we’ll be updating this article with additional results as well as links to Mount Marathon-related articles, photo galleries, and race reports. Check back!
2015 Mount Marathon Women’s Race
The biggest news from the big (well, 3,022-foot) mountain is that Emelie Forsberg (pre-race and post-race interviews) broke a longstanding women’s course record by running unchallenged to a 47:48 official finish time for the course, which is a little over five kilometers in length and has in excess of 3,000 feet of climb (and descent). The previous record of 50:30 was set in 1990 by Alaskan Nancy Pease, who dominated the Alaskan mountain-running scene for years.
Out of the gate, Emelie and local mountain, cross-country, and track phenom Allie Ostrander (post-race interview) pushed each other. At halfway up the mountain, they remained together, with Emelie setting the pace and eventually breaking away well before the mountain summit, topping out with an almost 50-second lead. Emelie arrived to the summit at 36:17, a new ascent record for during the race, too. Emelie used her technical-downhilling prowess to seal the deal on the women’s win–and the course record for that matter.
She reportedly descended the mountain with a focused half smile, and by the time she entered the last section of technical downhill, there was literally no woman to be seen behind her anymore. Likely knowing the record was a probability, she gassed the final road sprint through town to the finish, her smile growing wider.
Allie Ostrander debuted in the women’s race, after winning the Mount Marathon Junior Race six times, including an outright win of the both boys and girls last year. In her maiden racing voyage to the top of Mount Marathon and back (the junior race doesn’t go all the way to the top), Allie raced to the second-fastest time ever, her official time clocking two seconds faster than the previous course record. The future looks bright for this rising star of Alaskan running.
Alaska’s Christy Marvin, last year’s second-place finisher, ran a 52:59 on her way to third place in her third running of the Mount Marathon Race.
Alaska’s Najeeby Quinn took fourth in 55:34, which was an improvement by about 40 seconds from her debut at the race last year. Alaska’s Denali Foldager-Strabel made a huge leap up in her performance with a fifth place in 55:34; she’s run the Mount Marathon Race six times and this was a PR by just under three minutes.
Aubrey Smith, Rachel Dow, Heidi Doner, Lydia Blanchet, and Wendy Sailors rounded out the women’s top 10.
2015 Mount Marathon Women’s Race Results
- Emelie Forsberg (Sweden) — 47:48 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Allie Ostrander (Soldotna, AK) — 50:28 (post-race interview)
- Christy Marvin (Palmer, AK) — 52:59
- Najeeby Quinn (Anchorage, AK) — 55:34
- Denali Foldager-Strabel (Seward, AK) — 56:17
- Aubrey Smith (Seward, AK) — 57:08
- Rachel Dow (Seward, AK) — 59:44
- Heidi Doner (Palmer, AK) — 59:46
- Lydia Blanchet (Anchorage, AK) — 1:00:20
- Wendy Sailors (Anchorage, AK) — 1:00:26
KTVA 11 News Mount Marathon Women’s Race Video
2015 Mount Marathon Men’s Race
Despite Alaska’s best efforts to keep the Mount Marathon Race’s champion an Alaskan, it was Spaniard Kilian Jornet (pre-race and post-race interviews) and Rickey Gates (pre-race interview), from the Lower 48, who trotted off with today’s top-two positions.
After a mad dash through Seward’s streets and up the lower couple-hundred feet of the mountain, which has multiple routes and typically splits the leaders briefly, Rickey Gates, Kilian Jornet, and Alaskan Jim Shine assumed and shared the lead all the way to the top of Mount Marathon. Rickey Gates led for most of the way, though Kilian stepped up front briefly when he picked differing lines. The trio steadily broke away from the rest of the field, and had a full minute’s lead over anyone else when cresting the summit. Their official summit time of 31:29 becomes a new ascent record for the race–by almost a full minute! That’s what happens when you have a couple guys pushing each other hard.
Once they sailed over the top and headed back down, the trio stayed close for the scree descent at the top of the mountain. Soon, upon reaching the technical terrain on the mountain’s bottom half, Kilian broke away and put a full minute on everyone else by the finish line. This included taking his time through the streets, waving and high-fiving his way to the finish. He even did a full stop, turn around, and wave to the crowd before crossing the line in a new record of 41:48. The previous record of 42:55 was set in 2013 by Eric Strabel.
A minute later and just one second over the previous course record, Rickey Gates came pushing across the line, fully spent, gasping, and wobble-legged. Rickey’s performance today was a PR on the mountain by eight seconds. Jim Shine took third just 15 seconds behind Rickey, and improved his time by a full four minutes over last year. We’d say the future looks pretty strong on Mount Marathon for Jim.
Previous champ and course-record holder, Alaskan Eric Strabel (pre-race interview), topped out on Mount Marathon a minute behind the lead three, and finished 1 minute, 38 seconds back of the winner at the end. Known for his ability to make up time on the Mount Marathon downhill, he made up lost time on Rickey and Jim, but not enough to surmount that one-minute summit deficit. (And no one could make up time on Kilian’s descent today.) British Columbia’s Nick Elson ran a solid ascent and descent, sitting on Eric’s heels for most of the way, even experimenting with running in front of him a little. In the end, Nick crossed the finish in fifth, in his debut at Mount Marathon.
Matt Shryock, Adam Jensen, Erik Johnson, Matias Saari (pre-race interview), and Wylie Mangelsdorf rounded out the men’s top 10.
2015 Mount Marathon Men’s Results
- Kilian Jornet (Spain) — 41:48 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Rickey Gates (Madison, WI) — 42:56 (pre-race interview)
- Jim Shine (Anchorage, AK) — 43:11
- Eric Strabel (Anchorage, AK) — 43:26 (pre-race interview)
- Nick Elson (British Columbia) — 43:46
- Matt Shryock (Anchorage, AK) — 44:44
- Adam Jensen (Anchorage, AK) — 45:21
- Erik Johnson (Seward, AK) — 45:23
- Matias Saari (Anchorage, AK) — 45:40 (pre-race interview)
- Wylie Mangelsdorf (Lakewood, CO) — 45:46
KTVA 11 News Mount Marathon Men’s Race Video
Thank you to our live coverage team of Mauri Pagliacci, Brian, and Cody Priest!