Spaniard, Swede dominate our Mount Marathon

July 4, 2015

They came. They saw. They conquered.

They barely broke a sweat.

Spaniard Kilian Jornet and Swede Emelie Forsberg today rewrote the record book in the 88th running of Mount Marathon in Seward.

Both racers shattered records and made it look pretty easy. Forsberg waved to the crowd as she reached the base of the mountain and Jornet high-fived fans down the homestretch and blew kisses as he crossed the finish line.

Mount Marathon has always been Alaska’s race, a staple of Fourth of July. Nobody can remember somebody from another state winning, let alone another country.

Now that’s history.

Both winners covered the 3.1 miles up and down the 3,022-foot peak like they had a date or something.

Jornet, 27, is a six-time world champion and considered the top mountain runner in the world. Before the race, as others jostled and jockeyed for position at the starting line, he stood there shirtless and looking unassuming, arms crossed, like, ‘You guys just wait.’

After reaching the top with Outsider Rickey Gates and Alaskan Jim Shine, Jornet took off and left those guys in his dust en route to a blistering time of 41 minutes, 48 seconds.

That broke by more than a minute the old men’s record of 42:55 held by Alaskan Eric Strabel in 2013.

Forsberg’s time of 47:48 cut nearly three minutes off the previous women’s record held by the great Nancy Pease, who ran 50:30 in 1990.

Pease is Alaska’s undisputed queen of the mountain. During her reign in the 1980s and 1990s, she sometimes beat the men outright, winning Bird Ridge race outright in 1990 and sharing the Crow Pass Crossing title in 1990. She won Mount Marathon six times and was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame this year.